‘We Had an Agreement’ – Red Bull Boss Reveals They Almost Made Mercedes Their Engine Supplier

Published 05/24/2021, 5:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 30, 2021 Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Red Bull and Mercedes have developed quite the rivalry in the last couple of years. With Ferrari out of title contention, the Austrian team have become the biggest threat to the Silver Arrows’ crown. However, things might have been quite different had they chosen a different engine supplier a few years ago. Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed that they almost signed a deal with the devil, following the 2018 campaign when they ended their fractious relation with Renault.

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The Milton Keynes-based outfit were on the lookout for a new engine supplier back then after talks with Renault had broken down. The next logical choice was to search for an engine supplier from among the teams on the grid, and they chose Mercedes.

Formula One F1. Spanish Grand Prix. Circuit de Barcelona, Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Horner revealed a deal was close to being agreed upon, only for Mercedes to back out. He said, “We had an agreement with Mercedes and then that got reneged on.” Horner didn’t mention why that happened, but Red Bull then went on to ink a deal with Honda.

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How has Red Bull F1’s partnership with Honda been so far?

Red Bull’s tenure with Honda has been interesting so far. There have been highs, mostly thanks to Max Verstappen, but there have been lows as well. However, there has always been encouraging growth from season to season. The Austrian team finished third in the Constructors’ championship in 2018 and 2019 before finishing second last season.

Formula One F1. Monaco Grand Prix. Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

This year they currently lead the world championship ahead of Mercedes after the latest race in Monaco. It looks as though Red Bull are finally putting in a title charge this year and the sport is all the better for it.

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Mercedes dominion has been brilliant and quite jaw-dropping. But it has come at the cost of the sport becoming predictable and, for some, boring. Therefore, seeing Red Bull in the mix for the title is quite refreshing from an F1 fans’ point of view.

As for Honda, they’ll be bowing out of the sport at the end of this season with Red Bull set to work on their own engine from 2022 onwards. The Austrian team will be eager to give the renowned Japanese brand a big send-off by winning the championship. Whether or not that will actually happen, only time will tell.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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