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

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

In essence, they are allowed extra spending power and extra dyno time relative to the established manufacturers in the build-up to the introduction of the new regulations.

New suppliers can spend an extra $10m in 2023, $10m in 2024, and $5m in 2025 within the areas covered by the cost cap. They can also deploy an additional $15m in capital expenditure over that period.

While Audi’s status as a newcomer is clear, that of Red Bull Powertrains has been called into question by rivals, notably Ferrari, given the new company’s links with Honda.

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

Red Bull had to ensure that was the case when it was pursuing a deal for Porsche to badge the engine, an arrangement that has subsequently been taken up by Ford.

The 2026 regulations contain a provision for suppliers to be considered partially new. They state: «If, following a review of the requested documentation, the FIA determines that a PU manufacturer does not fully satisfy the necessary conditions, the FIA reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, to grant the PU manufacturer a partial new PU manufacturer status.

«Partial new PU manufacturer status will give rise to a reduction of the additional rights accorded to new PU manufacturers by the technical, sporting and financial regulations.»

Red Bull Racing RB19

Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

In determining the new status under the financial rules, the FIA splits the manufacturer into three categories: 40% for infrastructure, 50% for ICE status, and 10% for ERS status.

With regard to the third item, the regulations note the FIA will consider «the prior experience of the PU manufacturer in Formula 1 ERS systems, and potential possession of significant recent intellectual property.»

It’s understood that the new partnership won’t be guaranteed full new status because Red Bull Powertrains currently assembles battery packs for the existing Honda engine, and is thus deemed to have some prior knowledge of the technology.

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By losing the 10% ERS contribution, its total score drops to 90%. The company will thus be able to take advantage of only 90% of the extra benefits on cost cap and capital expenditure limits that full newcomer Audi will receive.

Red Bull will thus miss out on an extra $1m spending allowance in both 2023 and 2024, and $500,000 in 2025. In addition, it loses $1.5m in capital expenditure benefits over those seasons.

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

The weighting for that is 20% infrastructure, 50% ICE, and 30% ERS. However, a manufacturer only needs a total of 50% to get full new supplier rights, and despite the ERS issue Red Bull is at 70%, and therefore meets the criteria.

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