It looks set to be a competitive 2021 season, with Red Bull signing Sergio Perez with the intention of pushing Mercedes this year.
Apart from drivers, the team is looking at bringing in new personnel to take care of its engine. However, despite speculation surrounding ex-Mercedes engine guru Andy Cowell, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has refuted these claims.
The inclusion of Sergio Perez as their secondary driver has added weight to their aspirations of challenging Mercedes. Over the last two years, while Max Verstappen has been competitive, his teammate has often failed to make a mark.
The engine development freeze has undoubtedly come as a huge bonus to Red Bull, after Honda decided to quit the sport at the end of the 2021 season.
The team will now take over Honda’s engine at the end of this year and have set the foundation to create a company called Red Bull Powertrains to do that.
Horner confirmed that Cowell will not join the team.
“What he’s achieved obviously in the recent 10 years of the sport has been mightily impressive. He was obviously a lynchpin of what Mercedes and HPP have delivered,” he said.
“I think he’s obviously chosen to pursue, I think, other activities outside of Formula 1. But of course, as far as engines are concerned, he’s been the guy that has delivered year on year.
“But, my understanding is that his interests currently lay outside of Formula 1.”
However, Horner confirmed that the hunt for superior personnel in the engine division was ongoing.
“Obviously we will inherit the vast majority of HRD UK, which is the operational side of Honda, based in Milton Keynes,” he said.
“That gives us a standing start, in that already all the people we already know and interface with, we’ll look to take under the new company.”
“Then we are in the process of setting out some of the other roles that will be filled in the next coming weeks and months. But I think the agreement we’ve achieved with Honda just buys us time to assemble the right group of people.”
The last few years has seen Red Bull slip away from Mercedes in its quest to challenge for the constructors’ championship. While Mercedes has had a dominant car, the lack of competition from Red Bull’s second driver has meant Verstappen has had too much on his plate.
Perez may just be the perfect foil for Verstappen as Red Bull looks to close the gap on Mercedes.