Red Bull eyes 'positive' deal to take over Honda engine project in 2022

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Red Bull has confirmed a wish to take over Honda's engine project in 2022 if a "positive" arrangement can be found.

Almost two weeks have now passed since the Japanese manufacturer's surprise announcement that they will be pulling out of Formula 1 at the end of next season.

Reacting to the news last weekend at the Nurburgring, Mercedes completely ruled out any idea of supplying their main rivals, while Ferrari said they would have to consider the possibility.

But Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has now confirmed what has been suspected pretty much ever since Honda's departure was revealed...

“We would prefer, under the condition the talks are positive, that we take over Honda’s IP and then prepare the engines in Milton Keynes,” he told Germany's Sport1.

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“But this is only possible if there is an engine freeze starting from the first race in 2022. We need a decision about this from the FIA as soon as possible," he explained.

“If the decision is positive, then the next step is to find an agreement with Honda.

“We have several buildings in Milton Keynes, Honda too, and we are checking at the moment where we could implement it."

The reason for wanting a freeze on engine development is the excessive costs which would not be included in the new budget cap rules.

However, the benefits are continuing with the current unit under their own name is clear.

“All current engine manufacturers have their own team and build the engine with their chassis, we would get something where we have to build our chassis around," Marko said. "We would be faced with a technical solution that we have to accept.

“That is why we prefer the Honda solution, but we go through all the possibilities. If something like that comes into play, it has to fit the overall situation, it has to make us competitive, a forced marriage is not a factor for us.”

The last resort scenario though is the "forced marriage" which the Austrian spoke of and that would be with Red Bull's previous supplier Renault.

But while the two sides split on a very sour note at the end of 2018, the situation this time could actually be different because of the relationship between the respective CEOs.

“If you're asking about the level of the discussion, I think Helmut has always been my point of contact for these discussions,” said team boss Cyril Abiteboul via

“So I would expect that he remains so. Having said that you are right, Dietrich Mateschitz knows Luca de Meo. So maybe there will be some discussion going on there."

However: “There is no such discussion at this point in time," Abiteboul reiterated.

"I think first Red Bull is still in the aftershock of Honda's announcement, which may or may not have been news to some persons in Red Bull, it's not clear to me.

"But I can’t imagine that they don’t have a plan A or a plan B and I think we are pretty far in the pecking order of the alphabet before they call us again."

That being said, his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner admits all options are on the table.

“Obviously, there are three current suppliers remaining past the end of 2021,” he said.

“So it's only natural that we will engage in discussion with those parties. We've got a bit of time on our side to evaluate all the options.

“So inevitably though there is always going to be a discussion about engines when you're without one for the 2022 season.”