There is some good news in store for Red Bull which is losing its Honda engine at the end of next year. As it finds itself in an unprecedented situation of being left without an engine manufacturer, it has been lobbying to get an engine development freeze at the start of 2022 so that it can absorb the Honda IP and rebrand it as its own. One of the biggest deterrents to this was the approval of the other three engine manufactures - Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Mercedes by virtue of being the biggest supplier and the best engine on the grid had already approved of this plan, but Ferrari and Renault were not onboard.
Now, Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has changed his stance on the issue. This is great news as Ferrari also has a veto which could've locked Red Bull out.
Binotto's comments come at a time where all the teams are discussing what the next regulations should be for the scheduled 2026 engine. Binotto says Ferrari would support the engine freeze if the regulation change for the next engine change would be moved forward.
"We understand as well their intention to keep using their Honda engine for the future. We had meetings in the last days with F1 and the FIA. I think as Ferrari, we understand the situation. We are supportive in trying to anticipate by one season, one year, the freezing of the engines because that would mean as well trying to anticipate to 2025 the new regulations for the power units," said Binotto.
"Knowing the situation and understanding the situation, it's not the first time that Ferrari is acting in a responsible way in that respect. So we will support freezing, by anticipating by one year the engines, the power unit," added the Swiss-born Italian.
Binotto also said that the engine that is being planned for the future has to be closed by the mid of 2021. He also added that it should be cheaper by about 50 per cent and also should address the issue of the carbon footprint. Binotto also felt that for the freeze to be achievable the engines of all manufacturers has to converge which will enable this freeze.
Some of these thoughts are supported by Red Bull boss Christian Horner who agreed with Binotto that there had to be a mechanism for a manufacturer to catch up if they had undershot.
"There's got to be some kind of mechanism that if somebody has undershot, either over the winter or once during the season, have the ability to correct that," Horner said. Otherwise, you're locking in a disadvantage. But from a cost point of view, from our point of view, it's a very positive thing," he added.
Horner also didn't mince words over his displeasure towards Renault's stance of being against the engine freeze.
"One would have thought that for Renault it would have been completely logical as well," Horner said underlying the frosty relationship he has with Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul since the days Renault used to be Red Bull's engine partner.