The entire Formula 1 paddock is pending the approval of the technical regulations for power units for the 2026 season , and although there are still many years ahead in which anything can happen, one of the most important issues is the entry of the Volkswagen Group in the Great Circus.
The arrival of the German giant would be a pillar and a financial muscle for the highest category of motorsport, but it remains to be seen how the two firms that have committed themselves to Formula 1, Porsche and Audi , will disembark.
The Stuttgart brand has a very clear path, and although it has not been made official, it is an open secret that it will join the Red Bull project to manufacture its engines with the entry of the new engine regulations, in which the single-seaters are they will dismiss the MGU-H in order to simplify them and cut costs.
For this reason, Motorsport.com asked the Milton Keynes team’s adviser, Helmut Marko , about this matter in an exclusive interview, in which he resolved some of the doubts about why they have not yet confirmed their union with Porsche: “It is quite Simple, the decision of the Volkswagen board of directors is that if the technical regulations meet the criteria, then they should enter Formula 1.
“That refers, above all, to costs, sustainability, zero-emission petrol, equal opportunities as a newcomer, more capacity of using the power bank and things like that,” explained the Austrian. “But in purely formal terms, that new regulation does not exist yet, and the FIA president is supposed to put it to an email vote shortly. Only then will it be officially launched.”
The power unit regulations should have been approved several months ago, but the international federation has not come to a solid decision, something that does not surprise Marko: “That is the usual game in Formula 1.”
“The main manufacturers, in this case Mercedes and Ferrari, because Renault is more of a complementary there, they try to make the best of it for themselves,” he said. “Then they come to a compromise everyone can live with, after hours of discussion, but that’s part of the sport’s politics.”
When asked about what was preventing an agreement, he replied: “First of all, there is the issue of the hours of the power bank, which the new ones are supposed to have more, but it is like everything, the less time have the new ones to prepare, better for those who are already there, because the investments are limited by their cost”.
“We created Red Bull Powertrains last year,” recalled Marko. “The Mercedes engine factory is about 20 or 30 years old, Ferrari too, and that’s where you have to find an agreement for the cost cap.”
“For example, if we are granted X quantity, we currently cannot use it because we cannot get the materials we need. There is a shortage on the world market, AVL cannot deliver because steel is scarce, construction companies are hard to find, and that must be taken into account because it is especially difficult for a newcomer, “defended the Red Bull adviser.
The Austrian’s statements suggest that its structure may have suffered the effects of the global crisis , but he was quick to deny it: “We were lucky enough to complete most of the construction work before the war began, we had also placed orders with AVL before it”.
“That means the steel shortage didn’t affect us as much, and then we’re lucky to be in England with the weather,” Marko said. “In Austria, we would not have been able to make these adaptations in the short time we had.”
The creation of Red Bull Powertrains means the dismissal of Honda engines irreversibly from 2026, as the advisor himself acknowledged, but said that the Japanese were in favor of continuing with the union, and if it were not for their new agreement, they would have to have assembled the propellers manufactured in Milton Keynes from the same 2023.
“There has been a policy change with the Japanese, thank God. Originally, yes, we would have had to bring our engines from 2023, but spare parts are needed for that, and 90% of the suppliers are in Japan.” , revealed. “Luckily that has been modified, because it would have been a technical, logistical and also a language problem, now Honda will manufacture the engines until the end of 2025.”
“We get them sealed, we can’t look inside. That’s also important for our newcomer status in 2026,” Marko said. “They deliver it in a box, and if there’s a problem, only Honda mechanics can work on the engine.”
It is for this reason that many in the paddock are wondering why they continue to operate with the headquarters of Red Bull Powertrains if they will have Honda power units until they make the move to Porsche in 2026 , and the advisor resolved the doubts.
“Currently there are 300 employees, they are only working for the 2026 regulation. If a new manufacturer comes, we can cooperate,” he said. “You could use the facilities we have, which is another plus point, and if a new brand comes in, you immediately have an engine factory with six working test benches, everything there is the best of the best.”
Helmut Marko also confirmed that AphaTauri will have the same engines as the Milton Keynes team, but the question arises whether it is possible to ditch Red Bull in the future if he and the firm’s owner, Dietrich Mateschitz , sell the remaining half of the shares. Actions.
The Austrian adviser was in charge of calming the rumors of a dismissal from the Great Circus in a few years: “Formula 1 is the strongest marketing tool that Red Bull has, and the most successful. The team has an assured future.”
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