Christian Horner has confirmed that McLaren CEO Zak Brown visited Red Bull Powertrains over a potential Power Unit deal in the coming years.
McLaren is currently supplied by Mercedes, a deal that was reignited in 2021 following McLaren’s difficult years with Honda and Renault.
For the 2026 season, new Power Unit regulations will come into play with more sustainable fuels being used alongside the injection of more electrical power.
Reports over the last week stated that Brown had been to Red Bull’s engine facility to make first noise over a contract for the new cycle of regulations.
Red Bull, which will tie-up with Ford from 2026 onwards, is one of six manufacturers that has committed to the new engine construction.
Other reports stated that McLaren has alsp been in touch with Honda over a reunion after the Japanese manufacturer confirmed its intention to return to F1 in 2026.
Speaking in Bahrain, Horner was asked to confirm Brown’s visit: ”With Zak, thought he was coming for lunch!
“As a powertrain manufacturer for 2026, it’s inevitable that discussions are going to be had regarding potential powertrain supply.
“That’s only natural that we would speak with potential customers.”
Recent friction has existed between Red Bull and McLaren following the former’s breach of the financial regulations in 2022.
McLaren was one of the most vocal teams that was upset over Red Bull exceeding the budget cap, with Brown writing to the FIA accusing the energy drink-backed squad of cheating.
Andrea Stella, who was promoted to McLaren team boss for 2023, says that there should be no surprise that the Woking-based squad is weighing up its options.
“We have a solid partnership with HPP (Mercedes High Performance Powertrains),” Stella said. “At the same time, obviously looking forward you will understand what’s available.
“So I think that’s natural [that McLaren visited Red Bull], it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.”
As well as Red Bull-Ford and Honda, the other parties that have signed up for the new era of the sport in three years’ time are Mercedes, Audi, Ferrari and Alpine.