Ferrari will support engine freeze, says team boss
MANAMA - Ferrari will support a freeze on Formula One engine regulations starting in 2022, team principal Mattia Binotto said on Thursday, which would enable Red Bull to use their Honda power units even after the Japanese manufacturer leaves the sport. Honda, which exclusively supplies Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri, is set to bow out of Formula One at the end of the 2021 season leaving the two outfits looking for a new supply.
Red Bull’s preferred option is to acquire the intellectual property of the Honda power unit and continue using it for its two teams. But they have said that would only be financially viable if expensive engine development was frozen.
Ferrari had been against the move to freeze engines even as rivals Mercedes, who have won every championship since the current engine rules were introduced in 2014, have supported it. But after meetings in recent days with the sport’s commercial rights holder and the governing FIA, Binotto said the Italian manufacturer had changed their mind provided the introduction of the next power unit, whose details are yet to be worked out, is brought forward a year from 2026 to 2025.
“As Ferrari we understand the situation,” Binotto told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix in a video conference from Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello.
“We’re... supportive in trying to anticipate by one season, one year, the freezing of the engines. That will mean as well trying to anticipate to 2025 the new regulations for the power units.”
Binotto, whose power unit is seen as the weakest of the four manufacturers, said the sport was discussing putting in place a mechanism that would allow any engine makers lacking performance to catch up.
Like Ferrari, Renault had also been opposed to an engine freeze. But on Friday the team's executive director Marcin Budkowski said the French manufacturer had always supported the idea of halting development in the build-up to a rules change so as to avoid running two programmes simultaneously.
He said in the past it was Honda who had been against halting engine development.Renault were open to a "reasonable compromise", added Budkowski, as long as any decision to freeze engine development was taken for the good of the sport and not for Honda or Red Bull.
“Let’s find the right thing for the sport, let’s find the right engine formula for the future, and at the right time to introduce it,” he said.