Christian Horner has explained how Red Bull's relationship with Honda will continue for the foreseeable future, as Red Bull Powertrains slowly build up their own engineering and manufacturing abilities.
With Honda formally pulling out of Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer at the end of 2021, Red Bull and Honda agreed on a deal that will see Honda continue to manufacture Red Bull's engines up until 2025, through the period of the engine freeze that kicks in for this season.
On paper, not much appears to have changed in the short-term for the Red Bull F1 teams despite Honda's departure, with Horner outlining how the relationship will work during the upcoming season.
"As part of our agreement with Honda, the engines continue to be assembled in Japan, in Sakura, and support [will come] with technical assistance from Japan," Horner explained to RacingNews365.com, admitting the deal will likely continue through until the end of the engine freeze.
"Most likely," he added. "It's something we're in discussion about at the moment. The probability is that the engines will, as per 2022, continue to be produced and built in Japan and shipped to us.
"We're very grateful to Honda to provide that olive branch as we transition into being an engine manufacturer.
"They'll come as sealed units from Japan; all the race support will happen from Japan as well this year. It's a technical agreement, so it's very broad brush at the moment."
Honda staff make the switch to Red Bull Powertrains
With Honda officially pulling the plug on their F1 engine programme, Red Bull will take on most of the employees from the Honda Racing Development company that carried out the F1 operation in the UK - they'll become direct employees of Red Bull Powertrains - although this won't include some of the key figureheads.
"All the Honda staff, at the end of February, [will come] to our employment," Horner said.
"[Masashi] Yamamoto will become a consultant, [Toyoharu] Tanabe, I think, is going to remain with Honda on their side.
"But all the working personnel from HRD UK [Honda Racing Development] will transfer over to us, so the engines will continue to be serviced out of Honda's service until RBPT [Red Bull Powertrains] dynos and work are finalised around May or June ."
The big question mark over the upcoming season was what exactly the engines were going to be called, given that they are still Honda power units being supplied to Red Bull.
"The engine will be branded as a Red Bull engine," Horner confirmed, but said that Honda's presence is likely to be acknowledged.
"We still have an affiliation of branding which will be announced later in the season. They won't be totally invisible."
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