Red Bull-Ford will not get full new F1 engine supplier status for 2026

Red Bull-Ford is said to have received only partial status as the new Formula 1 engine supplier for 2026 from the FIA, and thus only received 90% of the financial benefits.

The special arrangements for new suppliers were agreed as part of the package to encourage new manufacturers like Audi to enter the sport in 2026.

In essence, they are being given additional purchasing power and test bench time compared to the incumbent manufacturers ahead of the introduction of the new regulations.

New suppliers can spend an additional $10M in 2023, $10M in 2024, and $5M in 2025 in the areas covered by the cost cap. You can also make an additional $15 million in capital expenditures during this period.

While Audi’s status as a newcomer is clear, Red Bull Powertrains’ has been questioned by rivals, particularly Ferrari, given the new company’s ties to Honda.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has always insisted that RBP is a new and separate entity with minimal ties to Honda and access to the Japanese company’s intellectual property.

Red Bull had to make sure that was the case when it pursued a deal for Porsche to label the engine, an agreement later adopted by Ford.

The 2026 regulations include a provision that suppliers are to be considered partially new. It states: “If the FIA, after examining the requested documentation, determines that a PU manufacturer does not fully comply with the required conditions, the FIA ​​reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to issue a partial new PU to the PU manufacturer – Manufacturer grant status.

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“The status of a partial new PU manufacturer results in a reduction of the additional rights granted to new PU manufacturers by the technical, sporting and financial regulations.”

Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

When determining the new status under the financial regulations, the FIA ​​divides the manufacturer into three categories: 40% for infrastructure, 50% for ICE status and 10% for ERS status.

Regarding the third point, the regulations note that the FIA ​​will “take into account the PU manufacturer’s previous experience in Formula 1 ERS systems and potential recent ownership of significant intellectual property”.

It is understood that the new partnership will not be guaranteed a completely new status as Red Bull Powertrains is currently assembling battery packs for the existing Honda engine and is therefore believed to have some prior knowledge of the technology.

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Eliminating the 10% ERS contribution brings the total score down to 90%. That leaves the company with just 90% of the additional benefits in cost caps and investment caps that the all-new Audi gets.

As a result, Red Bull will forego an additional lump sum expense of $1 million in both 2023 and 2024 and $500,000 in 2025. In addition, it loses $1.5 million in investment benefits in these seasons.

The same three categories are considered separately for the sporting and technical regulations relating to items such as dyno time.

The weight for this is 20% infrastructure, 50% ICE and 30% ERS. However, a manufacturer only needs 50% overall to get full new supplier rights and despite the ERS issue, Red Bull scores at 70%, thus meeting the criteria.

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