Formula 1 teams have collectively agreed to an engine development freeze at the end of the 2021 season and have pushed ahead for the introduction of a new class of engine to 2025. They have also agreed to the proposed plan for Saturday sprint races.
"In a significant development for the sport that reflects the unity and collaborative spirit between the FIA, Formula 1 and the teams, a vote on the freeze of Power Unit development was undertaken during the meeting, and the proposal was unanimously agreed by all teams and Power Unit Manufacturers," the FIA said in a statement. "As such, engine development will be frozen from the start of 2022," the governing body of the sport added.
This freeze was needed as Red Bull had threatened to leave the sport with its two teams as they were in the process of negotiating to acquire the Honda IP which they use currently in their cars as the Japanese engine maker has decided to exit the sport post-2021. Red Bull threatened that it didn't have the resources to develop that engine further, even though the rules postulated that it takes an engine from Renault instead.
Red Bull contended that it couldn't be competitive with the Renault engine. Renault was Red Bull's engine supplier before Honda but their relationship went sour by 2018. Red Bull was also looking for a works relationship which wasn't possible because Alpine is now the works Renault team. Mercedes was already supplying to three teams apart from its own works team while Ferrari had two customers plus its own team.
This puts an interesting light on the 2022 F1 season, where Red Bull will essentially be using an updated engine from the 2021 season while Ferrari and Renault are set to be introducing a new engine. In the case any manufacturer falls massively behind, it will be interesting to see what happens as it could throttle the competitiveness of the manufacturer and the customer teams for a good three years.
Apart from this issue, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also announced that the topic of sprint races in 2021 season had been approved with a purpose of testing out the concept, to improve the show and make things less predictable.
"All teams recognised the great importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format," the statement read. "There was therefore broad cross-party support for a new qualifying format at some races," F1 said in a statement.
"The working group has been given the task of creating a complete plan with the aim of reaching a final decision before the start for the 2021 championship," Domenicali revealed.