Red Bull finds itself in a sticky position after Honda decided to leave F1 at the end of 2021 season. It finds itself without an engine supplier. While that has been the case, it has a couple of alternatives. The one that is seemingly the most favoured by the Austrian team is one of acquiring Honda's engine IP. "We would favour, provided the talks with Honda are positive, that we take over the IP rights and everything necessary, to then prepare and deploy the engines ourselves in Milton Keynes," Helmut Marko revealed to channel Sport1.
But this comes with a caveat - Red Bull wants a development freeze on the engines for 2022 till 2026 when the sport is up for new engine regulations.
"But this is only possible on condition that the engines are frozen by the first race in 2022 at the latest. We cannot afford further development, neither technically nor financially. That is a prerequisite," he added. Marko drove home the fact all the engine manufacturers currently left were designing engines around the chassis of their works cars. He feared that would impact Red Bull's competitiveness.
"According to the FIA regulations, every engine manufacturer has committed itself to supply other teams. If something like this is to be a possibility for us, then it must fit the overall situation, and it must make us competitive," he added.
This comes with the backdrop of Mercedes already saying no to supplying engines to Red Bull as it was not equipped to service so many customer teams as it prepares to add McLaren back into the fold in 2021. As per the rules, if Red Bull isn't able to find an engine for 2022, the onus will be on Renault to supply engines to Austrian team. But this is a contentious subject as Renault and Red Bull shared an acrimonious relationship which resulted at the end of the partnership.
Mercedes has reportedly agreed to a freeze on engine development which makes sense as it has the best engine on the grid. Renault has also said it will consider this request if it fits in with its plans. However, if Red Bull were to insist on acquiring Honda's IP, the major stumbling block would be Ferrari as it has last engine power and it needs to develop its engine further to return to competitiveness.
Ferrari is reportedly in a position to supply both Red Bull and AlphaTauri its engines, but considering the loss of power that has caused Ferrari's dramatic decline and the contentious relationship - this may not come to fruition. Ferrari also has a unique veto power which can derail any of Red Bull's plans to enforce this development freeze coupled with the fact that the addition of biofuels post-2022 in the engines will need more development.