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Red Bull to Switch to Honda Engines in 2019

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Red Bull RB13

Renault has told Red Bull Racing it would no longer supply them with engines after the 2018 Formula One season, which will force the team to use Honda engines from 2019 instead.

The news comes on the heel of an announcement that Red Bull’s sister team, Toro Rosso, would be switching to Honda power next year as part of a deal with McLaren and Renault. However, negotiations reportedly broke down between Red Bull and Renault, who despite having claimed four world titles together from 2010 to 2013, have shared a tense relationship ever since the new 2014 engine regulations, as the Renault unit has lagged behind its Mercedes and Ferrari rivals.

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After repeatedly and publicly criticizing Renault throughout 2014 and 2015, Red Bull almost found itself out of an engine for 2016. Instead it continued with Renault units rebranded as TAG-Heuer, and though tension between the two organizations was slightly contained, the two continued to spar both publicly and privately.

By putting Honda engines in its sister team, Red Bull had an opportunity to see how Honda would progress while still having Renault to lean on if the Japanese engines continued to prove uncompetitive. Renault, having had enough, didn’t give them the choice: by 2019 it will no longer power Red Bull so that the latter will have to switch to Honda power if it wants to remain in Formula One.

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That puts into doubt the long-term future of Red Bull, which was already somewhat in question. Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz is not fond of the current engine regulations and has said the company’s future in F1 would be decided when the 2021 rules are locked in.

Ultimately, however, Red Bull simply wants a competitive engine. If Honda manages to make its engines look good next year in the Toro Rosso, and Red Bull believes it still has a shot at winning races and championship come 2021, you can count on the energy drink company to continue racing and to continue drawing in top talent into the sport.