Feb.8 – An “indecisive” Honda is the reason Red Bull is teaming up with Ford for the new Formula 1 regulations in 2026.
That is the view of Christijan Albers, who agrees that the energy drink-owned team ruled out a collaboration with Porsche because the VW-owned brand wanted equity.
Honda, though, is another story – especially as the current ‘Red Bull Powertrains’ unit is essentially a Honda unit.
Despite the Red Bull-Ford alliance, Honda still intends to be a full engine supplier in 2026 – despite earlier pulling out of F1 after the 2021 season.
“Red Bull stole people from Mercedes to make that Honda engine better,” former F1 driver Albers told De Telegraaf.
“Red Bull may be building an engine for the first time, but Honda are still involved. It’s putting a sticker on it,” said the Dutchman.
Some observers are now confused as to why, given the Japanese manufacturer’s decision to stay in 2026 and beyond, Red Bull didn’t just stick with Honda.
“I think they just got tired of those negotiations. Honda was so indecisive,” Albers said.
“Honda decided to pull the plug and yet now they’re back again. I think Red Bull was just sick of that.”
More generally, Albers expects Red Bull to be able to cope with reduced wind tunnel time this year – part of the penalty for the budget cap overspend.
“Red Bull is a rich team,” said the 43-year-old. “They have enough budget.
“Yes there is a budget cap, but there are still quite a few exceptions. There is still quite a lot that can be done.
“Like Mercedes, they can reshuffle things a bit with the engine department now. They can mess around quite a bit,” Albers added.
However, he doubts that one Red Bull trick might be getting sister team AlphaTauri to unofficially conduct research in the wind tunnel.
“Haas goes in the wind tunnel and I’m sure Ferrari is watching what they’re doing,” said Albers. “But my sources tell me Red Bull and AlphaTauri don’t do that.
“There is much less contact there for fear that they might be caught.”
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