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Horner looks back on Honda farewell: 'An expensive decision'
The team has won two world titles with the Japanese manufacturer

Horner looks back on Honda farewell: 'An expensive decision'

26 May - 19:45 Last update: 20:49

Red Bull Racing were and still are a very strong combination. Yet in 2.5 years, the partnership, which has already produced two world titles in drivers (with Max Verstappen) and one in constructors, will come to a definite end. Christian Horner, Red Bull's team boss, thinks that saying goodbye to Honda is especially good for his organisation.

Last week, Honda announced it was partnering with Aston Martin from '26. From that same season, Red Bull will have access to the self-produced Red Bull Powertrains, which are made together with Ford. "It was an expensive decision," Horner said about it at a press conference in Monaco. But he added that his team has outgrown customer team status these days.

Paying for an engine and service

Although Red Bull Racing was the main team for Honda, had a relationship as if it were a factory team, that is still how Horner sees the partnership. "The customer is when you pay for something, nothing in life is free. We pay for an engine and we receive a service. The relationship with Honda has been phenomenal. And we've been treated as a partner as well as a customer. Having experienced different relationships with different engine manufacturers to have the ability to specify certain parameters within the engine and fully integrated with your chassis team, that's something that's completely new for us. I think we experienced to a degree with Honda, but now taking to a new level for the 2026 season." 

Horner says Red Bull's move is one he is looking forward to: "It’s exciting taking on a new challenge a start-up company taking on some iconic brands in Formula One as a power unit manufacturer. Is an enormous challenge, but one that, you know, we're relishing."

'Pros outweigh the cons'

There are a number of uncertain factors. The main one: does Red Bull have the right knowledge and resources to build a competitive engine, to compete for wins and world championships even in the post-Honda era? "I think for us for the long term, the advantages are significant," Horner continued. "And we wouldn't have made that jump had it not been for Honda's withdrawal. So in many respects, Honda we should be grateful for giving us that push to create our own engine facility and the jobs that it's created and provided."

In addition, Honda's departure meant Red Bull could welcome a famous name back into Formula 1. Ford will partner with Verstappen's team. "Of course, the partnership that we have with Ford that's particularly exciting for the future and the commitment, obviously, from Red Bull and the shareholders to the project. So would we have made the same decision knowing what Honda's decision is today? Absolutely not. But we made it, and we're committed to it. And as the more we've got involved, the more benefit that we see to the [Red Bull-]group."

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