Red Bull's engine options limited with Aston Martin interest only after 2021
Aston Martin interested in F1 - but only in new engine era from 2021, says Horner; Honda appear most likely Red Bull 2019 supplier
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 30/09/17 8:34am
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Aston Martin are considering entering F1 for 2021 but admitted only one of the sport's existing engine makers could supply his team in 2019.
Sky Sports understands Renault have served notice on Red Bull that they will cease to supply the former world champions after the end of next season.
"We have a firm contract in place for 2018," Horner told Sky F1. "Next year will be a Tag-Heuer-branded Renault. Anything beyond that is open. The only options are the engine suppliers that exist."
Given that Ferrari and Mercedes have previously rejected Red Bull's requests for engines, Honda appear the likeliest of F1's four current makers to be the team's power providers in the season after next.
But while Toro Rosso, Honda's new partners and Red Bull's junior outfit, have predicted a big step forward from the Japanese firm, Honda's recent divorce from McLaren highlights the awkwardness of Red Bull's predicament - especially in terms of their attempts to keep Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo out of Ferrari and Mercedes' clutches.
"Our prerogative is to get to the end of 2020 as competitive as we can," Horner added. "It's always good to have options."
But if Renault, Ferrari and Mercedes all turn their backs on Red Bull, what other options are there?
Both Porsche and Aston Martin, a long-time affiliate of Red Bull, are thought to be interested in joining F1 depending on the outcome of the sport's proposed engine revamp for 2021.
But although Horner has confirmed Aston Martin's interest, he has ruled out either the iconic brand or Porsche entering F1 before 2021.
"There's been talk about a German manufacturer [Porsche] coming in - that's not going to happen," he said. "We have a relationship with Aston Martin and that's only growing. There will be further developments with that but that doesn't relate to the engine.
"Aston Martin can't come in now but it is something they are considering for 2021. Everybody is waiting to see what the regulations are for 2021 onwards."
Speculation persists that Porsche could yet also emerge as potential buyers of Red Bull.
Talk of Dietrich Mateschitz, the team's current owner, walking away from F1 is nothing new however, and the next test of the Austrian's magnate commitment is likely to come when the first draft of the sport's anticipated overhaul is presented.
The stakes could barely be any higher.
"I think there will be some news by the end of the autumn of what the landscape of the future is starting to look like," Horner said. "Ross [Brawn, F1's new sporting director] is a strategic thinker and is not going to rush anything.
"Dietrich wants the team to be competitive. He's a passionate supporter of F1. He's particularly keen to see what those regs will be for 2021. Everybody's agreement in F1 goes up to the end of 2020."
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.