The highly controversial and dubious engine development freeze agreement has finally got its nod from F1. While this came as a ‘wish come true’ for Red bull, things may not go likewise for other F1 teams. Nevertheless, Red Bull chief Christian Horner deems it as a ‘sensible proposal’ in every aspect.
He further believes that the agreement must also bring a ‘compensation mechanism’ for any team that falls short of their engine’s development before 2022. As Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault are leaving no stone unturned in the same directions, Red bull also needs to match their steps.
Moreover, Honda’s support with their engine technology will prove decisive for Red bull’s efforts. Hence, the team must go hand in hand while also keeping their engine division intact.
We will not be addressing the balance of performance’ issue – Gilles Simon
Last week F1 made announcements regarding the possible engine development freeze at the end of this season. As per the agreement, the freeze will operate until 2025.
The move got fully supported by every F1 team, paving the way for Red Bull’s takeover of Honda’s engines after the latter’s exit from F1 by the end of the 2021 season.
F1 management still made it clear that they would not be addressing the balance of performance’ issue in this context. This way, they put to rest every concern regarding Mercedes’s engine advantage over the other teams
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) technical director Gilles Simon further put his viewpoints in this regard. As per him, “From what we know about engines, we expect them to be in a very narrow performance range in 2022.
“And let’s not forget there are still two opportunities for there to be a natural alignment – this year and next. At the moment, we do not believe the external intervention will be needed.“, Horner said.
F1 must address any emerging concerns to this agreement – Christian Horner
However, according to Christian Horner, F1’s manufacturers have agreed to address these concerns all by themselves.
“While there isn’t anything within the regulations, there is an agreement between the manufacturers that each have supported to the FIA to address it, in the event that a manufacturer is out of kilter,” the Red Bull boss said.
“So there is effectively an undertaking by each of the manufacturers to address it should it arise, whilst it’s not within the regulations.”, Horner added.
“That’s important, and there is a clear understanding, particularly from within the top level of each of the OEMs.”
Horner also revealed that while Red Bull will be taking over Honda’s engine in 2022, the Japanese manufacturer will continue lending technical support during the current year.
“You have the introduction of the E10 fuel [in 2022], so Honda will continue to develop the engine around that fuel,” Horner said. “They will hand over the engine effectively for the start of the freeze, and they will continue to assist during 2022 with the assembly of engines.”
“Honda is continuing to operate as normal this year. They are committed to Formula 1 until the 31st of December, during which time they will be working with our fuel partner, ExxonMobil, which they’re currently doing, on the development of the E10 fuel, which is currently the biggest regulation change into next year.”
“It’s business as usual very much for 2021. And then the engine will be handed over for pre-season testing this time next year.”, Horner continued.
With no party getting the complete deal, there’s still a Consensus.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull pushed the introduction of a mechanism that makes up for the drop in performance of the F1 teams. Recommendations like a higher fuel flow rate in case of a horsepower deficit got tabled.
Although the agreement did support an engine freeze from a cost viewpoint, it did not give a free hand to any manufacturer.
The agreement, however, came as big news for Red Bull. Besides taking over Honda’s engines by the end of the 2021 season, they have avoided a possible reunion with Renault.
The engine development freeze agreement is finally here. Hence, Red bull has to look into the expense regarding the management of their power unit. As per team officials, efforts are on to prepare a unit at Milton Keynes to solely focus on engine development.
Subsequently, given how costly this process would have been in Renault’s case, Red bull can indeed ‘breathe easy’. Most importantly, it also paves the way to Red Bull’s plans of setting up new power units in 2025.