It seems that the Cold War has begun in Formula 1. Ferrari does not agree with the situation that Red Bull Powertrains will have for the 2026 season. The engine division of Red Bull Racing will be seen as a newcomer, which will bring benefits. Ferrari threatens to veto and this is actually due to the flickering light relationship between Red Bull and Honda in recent years.
In recent months, Formula 1 engine manufacturers have been able to sign up for the 2026 season. Then there are new regulations and for some manufacturers that has been reason enough to fight their way to the top of motorsport. Audi will of course enter, but Honda is also hungry for a return to Formula 1. Only one engine maker is currently unwilling to sign up and that is Ferrari.
The deadline has already passed, but many teams have not taken the FIA registration date seriously. Mercedes and Renault were also slightly behind in the scoring. Only Audi was really on time. Ferrari is now the only engine manufacturer not registered for the 2026 season. Where other manufacturers hardly seem to have any problems with status as a newcomer to Red Bull Powertrains, Ferrari is being tracked somewhat. The Italian brand would like to veto it.
Advantages of Red Bull and Audi
Before Audi even considered entering Formula 1, a number of things had to change in the regulations. For example, the MGU-H will go away, which is important for newcomers, since it is a relatively difficult part of the power unit. If the part was kept, the newcomers felt that the existing engine manufacturers would have a huge advantage. When MGU-H officially disappeared, the door of Audi, but also Porsche was completely open.
Porsche made a mathematical error when it tried to team up with Red Bull, but the Volkswagen Group’s other brand actually showed up. To make this entry a little easier, there are some advantages for newcomers. For example, more testing time was arranged and the budget ceiling for new engine manufacturers would be higher. In this way, the FIA is trying to ensure that the gap between experienced manufacturers and newcomers will not be too large at the beginning of 2026. Red Bull Powertrains can therefore also enjoy these advantages. problem, according to Ferrari.
Ferrari even threatens to veto it
If reports are to be believed, tensions have risen dramatically in recent months. Ferrari threatens to veto ensuring Red Bull Powertrains don’t get newcomer status. However, Ferrari wants to delay this as long as possible, because it wants to reach a compromise in a civil way. The only question is whether the threats haven’t already overwhelmed the rest of the teams and the FIA.
In recent weeks, there has been a meeting between the FIA and the engine manufacturers for 2026. Because of Ferrari’s suspicions, the Italians have been excluded from the discussion, as confirmed by several sources within Formula 1. This is only indirectly related to Ferrari’s position on the current state of the engines of Red Bull Powertrains . The Italian team’s absence is simply because they are not yet an engine supplier for the 2026 season because they have not yet signed up.
However, there seems to be a clear dichotomy. Otherwise, Ferrari wouldn’t threaten to use its old veto. The team is beholden to the fact that Scuderia retained its veto power over the Concorde agreement for 2020. At the time, Ferrari were fairly confident the team would likely waive their veto power, but now it looks like the moment has arrived. The last time Ferrari vetoed it was in 2015, when a budget cap for engines was proposed.
A blinking light on the Red Bull-Honda relationship raises suspicions
The relationship between Honda and Formula 1 has been somewhat shaky in recent decades. For example, things were not going well between the Japanese automaker and McLaren. After the break in the relationship between Red Bull and Renault, Honda decided to intervene. This was a big gamble from the Austrian racing stable, which the team also reasonably derided. However, it was Red Bull who had the last laugh in 2021, when Max Verstappen won the world title.
Despite the Dutchman’s success, Honda decided to withdraw from Formula 1. Honda wanted to focus on making street cars more sustainable and racing in the premier motorsport class did not fit with this ideology. Nevertheless, the Japanese continued to supply engines to Red Bull and provide assistance for the power unit 2026. However, last season it became clear that the cooperation between the two parties went further and was also extended.
Red Bull was able to use Honda’s intellectual property for this. Since this knowledge will also be shared in years to come, even if these characteristics are indeed returned, Red Bull Powertrains have an advantage over the rest of the newcomers. Not only that, with the advantages Red Bull has due to its newcomer status, it can also compete with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault more easily. This hurts Ferrari.
Honda’s volatility in recent years could have dire consequences for Red Bull Powertrains. If the Japanese automaker had stuck to its position, Ferrari would not have taken this position. Then Honda may have returned to Formula 1 on its own before 2026 without a direct association with Red Bull. It seems that the collaboration between the two parties is still concluded in 2025, but this does not mean that Ferrari is less surprised. The question now is what is the next step.