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McLaren and Red Bull Discussing F1 Engine Deal for 2026

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McLaren Red Bull Engine

As per the initial report by F1Lead, McLaren and Red Bull have acknowledged engaging in discussions regarding a potential Formula 1 engine supply agreement for the 2026 season.

Red Bull has made significant investments in its new Powertrains division and associated infrastructure after Honda announced its withdrawal from Formula 1, and has subsequently registered as an engine supplier for the sport’s new regulations set to take effect in 2026.

Despite currently using Honda-branded engines in their cars, Red Bull’s future power unit will be developed in collaboration with Ford, marking a new partnership between the two entities.

While McLaren has been a Mercedes customer team since 2018, recent reports suggest that the team has been exploring potential engine supply options for the 2026 season, including discussions with both Red Bull Powertrains and its former partner, Honda. This information was first disclosed by The Race.

During the press conference held on Friday at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the team principals of Red Bull and McLaren openly acknowledged their talks regarding a potential engine supply deal for the 2026 season, confirming the earlier reports.

When questioned about Zak Brown’s recent visit to Red Bull’s headquarters, Christian Horner, the team boss, initially made light of the situation, saying that he thought Brown had come for lunch. However, he went on to acknowledge that it is customary for other Formula 1 teams to approach engine suppliers like Red Bull when searching for potential partnerships, and thus it was not unexpected that McLaren had expressed interest in discussing engine supply options.

Christian Horner remarked that it is only natural for discussions to be held with potential customers when a team becomes a power unit manufacturer for a particular season, as in the case of Red Bull for the 2026 Formula 1 season. Therefore, it is not surprising that they have been approached by other teams, such as McLaren, for potential powertrain supply arrangements.

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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella, who was present alongside Christian Horner during the press conference, confirmed that the team is exploring potential options for engine supply beyond their current partnership with Mercedes, in light of the new regulations coming into effect in 2026.

Stella acknowledged that McLaren currently has a strong partnership with Mercedes High Performance Powertrains (HPP), who currently supply the team’s engines. However, he also affirmed that the team is considering other options for the 2026 season.

Stella acknowledged that it is natural for teams to explore all available options and to plan for the future, but also expressed that McLaren values their current partnership with Mercedes HPP.

On the other hand, Horner played down the significance of customer deals for Red Bull Powertrains, stating that, based on their current analysis, supplying engines to customer teams is not a lucrative business. He suggested that the team’s primary focus is to develop their own engine technology and to be competitive as a works team in the future.

If a deal is finalized and the Ford branding is used for the RBPT customer engines, it would mark the first time a McLaren-Ford partnership has appeared on the Formula 1 grid since their brief collaboration during the 1993 season. This came in between McLaren’s initial partnership with Honda and a short-lived alliance with Peugeot.

McLaren had previously relied on Ford-badged Cosworth engines, like many other Formula 1 teams, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, with the team securing its first 30 grand prix victories using Ford power. It was only at the end of 1983 that McLaren switched to TAG Porsche turbo engines.

McLaren and Red Bull Discussing F1 Engine Deal for 2026 McLaren and Red Bull Discussing F1 Engine Deal for 2026 McLaren and Red Bull Discussing F1 Engine Deal for 2026 McLaren and Red Bull Discussing F1 Engine Deal for 2026

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