Red Bull intends to make a decision between Renault and Honda regarding its future power unit supply by early July after analyzing upgrades at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Despite winning two of the six races so far this season — the same number as Mercedes and Ferrari — Red Bull faces an uncertain future with current partner Renault after a number of public confrontations since the introduction of the current engine regulations in 2014. With Honda now supplying Toro Rosso and both manufacturers poised to introduce upgrades in Canada, Horner says the next race will be significant in making a decision.
“We are about a month or so away,” Horner said. “It’s end of June, beginning of July is the timescale we have always talked about. We’re waiting with great interest to see the relative performance of the two engines in Montreal in two weeks’ time.
“We’re hoping for a reliable MGU-K and there is a small upgrade coming for Montreal and we need every bit we can get at the moment. So that’s hugely important for us.”
With Horner also suggesting the power unit decision takes priority over tying down Daniel Ricciardo to a new contract, the Red Bull team principal is hopeful the Canada upgrade will allow his team to continue fighting for victories at the majority of circuits.
“I hope so. I think we’ve had a good chassis from the first race, the problem has always been on Saturday. [In Monaco] we got the pole position and we won the race even with a problem. If we can improve our Saturdays then our races will be competitive.
“I think that is our fifth fastest lap we have set in six races now in race conditions. I think if we can just improve our performances on Saturday and get a little bit more in Q3 on peak power then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to give Mercedes and Ferrari a hard time.”
Red Bull has suffered from poor reliability compared to its rivals this season, and despite Ricciardo’s two wins currently sits third in the constructors’ championship, 71 points adrift of Mercedes.