Red Bull has confirmed it has held talks with McLaren over a potential Formula 1 engine supply deal from 2026.

Reports emerged last month that McLaren was considering ending its current Mercedes customer engine deal having renewed its ties with the German manufacturer in 2021.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown revealed at the Woking-based team’s 2023 car launch that it was in the process of reviewing its options but stressed it was “very happy” with current partners Mercedes.

F1’s power unit regulations will undergo an overhaul in 2026 and ahead of the incoming rule change, Brown has visited Red Bull’s Powertrains site in Milton Keynes to open discussions over a potential engine partnership.

When asked to confirm if Brown had called in at Red Bull’s Powertrains facility, team boss Christian Horner said, as quoted by “I thought he was coming for lunch!

“As a powertrain manufacturer for 2026, it’s inevitable that discussions are going to be had regarding potential powertrain supply.

“That’s only natural that we would speak with potential customers.”

McLaren’s new team principal Andrea Stella was clear of its commitment to Mercedes before insisting initial talks were a natural process.

“We have a solid partnership with HPP. At the same time, it is obvious that looking further forward, you want to understand what’s available,” Stella said.

“That’s natural. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise.”

Brown’s visit to Red Bull follows speculation that McLaren is weighing up a possible reunion with former engine partners Honda, depending on whether the Japanese manufacturer decides to develop power units for the new rules cycle.