Red Bull Powertrains: The problem child of Red Bull and Verstappen


Analysis Red Bull Powertrains is Red Bull's and Verstappen's problem child
16 April at 11:00
  • Ludo van Denderen

Little else could be expected from Christian Horner. As team principal and person ultimately responsible for the in-house engine project, the Briton cannot loudly proclaim in the media that the development of the Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT) is a real concern. Nevertheless, from Horner's words, quoted by, it can be inferred that the project is not running smoothly; something GPblog have heard before.

Horner stated that so far 'all goals' have been met in the development of RBPT and he talks about a 'steep learning curve'. The team principal also finds it "difficult to know" whether Red Bull Powertrains is keeping pace with the competition at least in terms of power. "The effort that's going in behind the scenes is huge, because it is literally a race against the clock to the start of 2026," Horner said.

Yet anyone reading between the lines perceives mostly doubt. No other team - including Audi, the team that will make their entrance into Formula 1 in '26 - have said that having a power unit ready in time is proving to be quite a challenge. And so Horner has also left the readers in the middle whether the power unit will be fast enough to stay at the top of the F1 field.

Internal major concerns over Red Bull Powertrains

Reliable sources previously reported to GPblog that internally there are indeed major concerns about the development of Red Bull Powertrains. History has shown that every new engine manufacturer in Formula 1 needs a start-up period to be successful in the sport. But if the Austrian team say goodbye to Honda after '25 and enter a partnership with Ford, Red Bull do not want to sink back into the midfield either and become the new Alpine, for example.

Max Verstappen realises that in Red Bull, he currently has the best possible team at his disposal, with a top-notch car designed by Adrian Newey and a power unit from Honda that is extremely powerful. The reigning world champion is also exactly on top of RBPT's development, which is why there are concerns. If there is one thing Verstappen doesn't want, it is to experience the Lewis Hamilton scenario himself. The former champion is currently playing a supporting role in Formula 1, even picking up points is a hefty challenge, simply because his car is no longer competitive enough.

For now, it seems that Verstappen will continue to race for Red Bull Racing in '25, although the internal storm has certainly not fully subsided. For subsequent seasons, it will be very important - if not decisive - for the Dutchman that the RBPT adventure succeeds. By no means can the possibility be ruled out that even with the slightest doubt about that, Verstappen may still seek refuge elsewhere after 2025.