Mercedes in favour of Formula 1 engine freeze from 2022

Mercedes would support a possible Formula 1 engine freeze for the 2022 season that would allow Red Bull to continue using Honda power units beyond the end of next year

Mercedes in favour of Formula 1 engine freeze from 2022

Red Bull is currently exploring alternative power unit solutions for the future after existing supplier Honda announced at the start of the month it would be quitting F1 after the 2021 season.

The team has made clear its preferred option would be to buy the IP and designs of its power unit from Honda, so it could continue to be used beyond 2021 and maintain its effective works status.

But this would be on the condition of a power unit development freeze being agreed between F1's manufacturers, with Red Bull unwilling to get into a spending war with Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari.

Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff confirmed on Saturday that he would be in favour of an engine freeze to ensure Red Bull and its sister team, AlphaTauri, could continue using the Honda power units beyond 2021.

"I think Formula 1 is in a good state with three engine suppliers," Wolff said.

"I totally understand where Red Bull is coming from. They don't want to go back to a customer status.

"They want to be a works team and they have the capability of tweaking it and maybe optimising it, and maybe there are a few things in the pipeline from Honda that are giving them confidence that there is more performance in the engine.

"But I think we should be doing everything to give Red Bull that opportunity."

Should an engine freeze not be agreed to, Red Bull would be able to get a power unit supply from former partner Renault. The French manufacturer has said it is open to a deal, but thought it was unlikely Red Bull would want to resign itself to customer status.

The sporting regulations also mean that Renault would be obliged to supply Red Bull with engines for 2022 should the team submit a request with the FIA.

But Wolff understood Red Bull's desire to maintain its works status without taking on the sizeable costs involved with developing power units.

"I understand that they don't want to go into a spending war with all the other OEMs on developing engines," Wolff said when asked by Autosport why he was supporting the plan.

"It's a sensible proposal. I'd like to support it.

"I think Red Bull is a tremendously important brand for Formula 1, and we should do everything to keep the two teams in Formula 1 and help them with the option of having basically works status."

Asked if he was concerned that Red Bull was trying to force F1 into an engine freeze, Wolff said it was part of the regular gamesmanship in the series, and that he was happy with any solution that kept its teams on the grid.

"I think in Formula 1, everybody is trying to get the best deal, the best financial deal and best performance deal," Wolff said.

"This is the current position and I can live with either. I can live with them taking a customer engine or help to fund the Honda development programme or do it on their own.

"I am easy with either decision."

The possibility of an engine freeze is set to be discussed in an F1 Commission meeting on Monday.

shares
comments
Perez given reprimand after impeding Gasly in F1 Portuguese GP qualifying

Previous article

Perez given reprimand after impeding Gasly in F1 Portuguese GP qualifying

Next article

Petrov replaced as F1 Portuguese GP race steward after father's death

Petrov replaced as F1 Portuguese GP race steward after father's death
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021