Jan.16 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko admits Red Bull’s relationship with engine supplier Honda will change yet again in 2024.
It was already known that the partnership is ending altogether at the end of 2025, when the Japanese engine manufacturer will switch allegiances to Aston Martin.
Red Bull is busily setting up its own engine operations at Milton-Keynes, with the involvement of Ford.
“Even though we are still a long way from being able to compete competitively, everything is going according to plan and the performance curve is right,” Marko, the top F1 consultant at Red Bull, told Osterreich newspaper.
In the meantime, although Red Bull-Honda no longer has true ‘works’ status, the collaboration still managed to utterly dominate the 2023 championship.
Marko ruled out simply scrapping ‘Red Bull Powertrains’ and sticking with Honda for 2026 in the event that the in-house engine project fails.
“No, it has to work,” he said. “From 2026 we will drive with our own engine.
“Until then, we want the best possible performance potential from Honda, which has worked well so far. Honda was my deal, so I will continue to look after it.”
Marko, 80, has signed up with Red Bull for at least three more seasons – including the start of the new engine project in 2026. And he admits that his relationship with Honda will now start to change, having previously spent a lot of time travelling to Japan between grands prix.
“No, everything is arranged so that I don’t have to go there anymore,” he revealed. “24 races is enough for me, and one of them is in Japan anyway.”
On the driver front, Max Verstappen is signed up through 2028, but Sergio Perez’s contract is rapidly coming to an end.
“As of now he (Perez) will fulfil his contract until the end of 2024, then we’ll see,” said Marko.
A top candidate to succeed Perez is Daniel Ricciardo, but Marko has also vowed to give the promising Liam Lawson a full-time race seat by 2025.
“Yes, and before that he should at least drive a few more races so that we can see where his potential really lies,” he said.