Red Bull says they face ‘big challenge’ to get power unit ready for 2026 rule changes

Red Bull is working hard to prepare its power unit for the next changes to the engine regulation in Formula 1 – which will come into effect in 2026 – with team boss, Pierre Wach, to define the important task ahead.

Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT) was formed last year to take over powering Honda’s power units before it became a manufacturer in its own right from the 2026 season – the Milton Keynes-based F1 operation has joined with Ferrari in housing both the chassis and engine sections on one campus.

Amid milestones such as the start of the first RBPT dyno test, Wache explained that Red Bull faces a “very deep” learning curve to get into the arena with a power unit capable of challenging current manufacturers such as Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault – but he has faith they will eventually get the job done.

READ MORE: Honda and Red Bull extend power unit support deal to 2025

“From what I see – it’s out of my area, to be honest with you, my focus at the moment is more on the current championship – obviously quite a challenge, even when you’re starting from scratch as they do,” Wash said.

“You put everything in place, and you see what building they assembled, how many people they have now. In this area, the learning curve is very deep, but the lead time for the parts is very long. Then they have to try to catch those with more experience – as it is With the existing engine resource – and try to beat them.

“It’s an enormous challenge. I think they will succeed in doing it; from what I see, [with] The desire, the motivation, the quality of the people we have on our team… I think it looks good.”

Together with Red Bull Powertrains, changes to the 2026 rule – which will see F1 power units maintain the existing V6 internal combustion engine architecture but feature increased electric power and 100% sustainable fuel – have prompted German manufacturer Audi to commit to the sport as a supplier.

Providing the current manufacturer’s perspective, Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director, expressed his firm belief that any newcomers will understand the task ahead and work through any challenges.

Read more: More efficient, less fuel, net zero carbon – 7 things you need to know about the 2026 F1 engine regulations

“With Audi or Red Bull Powertrains, they know what that challenge is going to involve, so we always expect that they’ll come with a good understanding of that and be given the right resources, knowing how difficult it is,” he commented.

“In our view, this year you have a Ferrari with the most powerful power unit, probably not the most reliable. But the benchmark is going to be very high, whether the newcomer comes in and sets that benchmark, or it’s one of the existing teams. We’ll work as hard as we need, to try and make sure we’re there. “.

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