Mercedes have backed Red Bull’s call for a freeze on engine development after the 2021 F1 season.
Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff says F1 should introduce a freeze in order to help Red Bull. “I totally understand where it is coming from,” he said. “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 is 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.”
Under F1’s rules, if Red Bull is not able to secure an engine supplier by June next year, a current manufacturer can be compelled to supply them with power units. This would most likely mean a return to Renault, whose power units Red Bull used before switching to Honda in 2019.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says continuing to use Honda’s engines is ‘Plan A’ for the team and its AlphaTauri sibling, and that Renault do not want to provide them with engines.
“I think that for them going back to a customer status is not something that they are very keen on,” said Wolff. “And I truly believe that Honda has done a very good job and I think there is performance in the pipeline that gives Red Bull confidence.
“But equally, I understand that you don’t want to go into a spending war with all the other [original equipment manufacturers] on developing engines. So 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 basically work status.”
However Wolff added he is not opposed to other resolutions to Red Bull’s engine problem. “In Formula 1 everybody’s trying to get the best deal, financial deal and performance deal and this is their current position. And I can live with either.
“I can live with them taking a customer engine or help to to fund the Honda development programme or do it on their own. I’m pretty easy with either decision.”
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