Now that Red Bull loses engine supplier Honda at the end of 2021, it has to look diligently for a new engine supplier. In addition, the team does not want to go through life as a customer team again, so that there is only one option: buy the Honda engines and associated technology and run an engine branch itself.
However, this is very complex, and the development of the engines cannot be done by Red Bull itself. In the context of reducing costs and ensuring a competitive playing field, Red Bull wants the development of Formula 1 engines to be frozen at the end of 2021.
In this way, the team will be able to race in 2022 with the 2021 Honda engines, which can be maintained, but will not involve tens of millions in the development of the complex engines.
The departure of Honda ensures that tensions in Formula 1 increase again. The current engine formula would continue to exist until 2025, excluding various exceptions, but various parties now want a new engine formula in 2023 or 2024. This is because it is not at all interesting for new engine suppliers, such as Porsche, to operate under the current conditions. enter Formula 1.
What does the freezing of the engines mean?
The idea is that when freezing the engines, there may be a maximum of 10 to 15 HP difference between the best and the worst engine. Red Bull wants the engines to no longer determine the winners of the races and that the costs for the engines in Formula 1 go down significantly.
Engine suppliers spend tens of millions per year, which is at odds with the budget limit that will be introduced in 2021. Customer teams also pay $ 15 to $ 20 million a year for engines, and engine manufacturers spend $ 50 million a year (or more) developing their power units.
A ‘balance of performance’ can be achieved by slowing down the strongest engine, or by giving the teams with the strongest engine less fuel, so that the engines are tuned more efficiently.
Ferrari is vehemently against Red Bull’s proposal and does not want engine development to be frozen. According to the Italians, a team should also be able to make a difference by building a better engine.
Renault and Mercedes have indicated that they want to talk about such a construction, but Mercedes will not want to give up its dominant position without a fight – since 2014 it has won all the world titles in F1, partly due to dominant engines. That Formula 1 is in a difficult position, are acknowledged by all three engine suppliers who will remain after 2021.
During the GP weekend in Portimao, a meeting will take place between the team bosses, engine suppliers and FIA to discuss the engine regulations. Should the rules planned for 2026 be brought forward? Should a development stop be introduced? This will apply in 2021, but the performance differences between the engines are simply too great. Mercedes dominates, followed by Honda and Renault, and Ferrari can’t keep up – after the FIA scrutinized their engines last year.
Is it Red Bull bluff poker?
Red Bull knows that it has not had a winning engine since 2014. The Renault engine fell short and with Honda it took steps, but Mercedes was still in a class of its own (and in 2019 Ferrari).
Mercedes refuses to provide competitor Red Bull with an engine, Ferrari is not enthusiastic about it and Renault also has some stomach ache from it. Regardless of the fact that engine regulations oblige suppliers to supply engines. Mercedes is safe with four teams (Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Aston Martin), Ferrari will supply engines to three teams (Scuderia Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo) and Renault only to its own factory team in 2021. The French would then have to provide both Red Bull teams with engines or another team. For that reason, Renault is also talking to Haas F1.
Red Bull strikes hundreds of millions of pieces in Formula 1 every year, but seriously wants to have the chance to compete for the titles. A customer bike, or getting access to a hopeless bike, is not an option for Dietrich Mateschitz – the billionaire who owns Red Bull.
It therefore sets high standards: Red Bull wants to have a powerful and reliable engine and to be in control so that it can also deliver the best package as a kind of factory team. In addition, it wants one motor (supplier) for both teams in connection with the synergy benefits and the reduction of costs.
It is important that Formula 1 will get new rules in 2022. The cars will be completely overhauled, with plenty of different technical and aerodynamic rules. It could therefore be the moment when the balance of power changes and Red Bull does not want to ‘piss off the pot’ again as it did in 2014.
It is not the first, and certainly not the last, that Red Bull is threatening to leave Formula 1. Despite recently signing the new Concorde Agreement, which runs until the end of 2025, Red Bull can leave the sport with both teams.
RacingNews365 has learned that if the team announces it will retire by March 31, 2021, it can do so by the end of 2021. In the coming months, there will be hard work behind the scenes to find a solution and the various parties will often make themselves known in the media to share their views (and dissatisfaction).
What are the consequences of Albon’s drama for his Red Bull future? F1 journalist Ruud Dimmers, racing driver Tom Coronel and host Thomas van Groningen discuss this and more in RacingNews365’s new F1 podcast.
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