Red Bull chief deals Mercedes’ title hopes suffer setback in Toto Wolff blow

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has debunked Toto Wolff’s theory that the team are behind on their engine projections ahead of the 2026 technical regulation shift. His latest update suggests that the partnership with Ford is bearing fruits and that the team are very happy with their progress thus far.

The Milton Keynes-based team are currently benefitting from the engine freeze, which is in place until the regulation changes in 2026. This is allowing teams to begin their development of the new V6 power units, which will use fully sustainable fuel and see the removal of the MGU-H component. 

Speaking to Motorsport-Magazin about the progress of the Red Bull Powertrains project, Marko revealed: “Red Bull Powertrains is doing very well. Two weeks ago, the entire engine was running on the test bench – Combustion engine, MGU-K and battery.

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“There are a lot of developments going on in the battery sector. Thanks to our cooperation with Ford, we have a partner who, like all automotive plants, is extremely innovative in this sector. According to our information, we’re well on our way as far as the internal combustion engine is concerned.

“Overall, incredible things have happened there – in a relatively short period of time, this factory has been built out of the ground – and we are certainly state of the art at the moment. We have the latest test benches from AVL, and have been able to attract very good people from Mercedes, Ferrari and Cosworth. We are fully in the programme.”

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This news will come as a disappointment to Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the Mercedes team, who believed they were the current frontrunners in the power unit development race for 2026 and that their rivals were down on power relative to the rest of the manufacturers.

Wolff had previously suggested that Red Bull’s opposition to the 2026 regulation changes came from a place of fear, telling Sky Sports: “I think what frightens him more maybe is that his engine programme is not coming along and that maybe he wants to kill it that way.”

With such a huge advantage to the rest of the field, it is looking likely that Red Bull will dominate until the new regulations come into play, leaving a strong start to the 2026 season as Hamilton’s best shot at claiming a record-breaking eighth world title.

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