Mercedes support Red Bull’s call for F1 engine freeze

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Mercedes have backed Red Bull’s call for a freeze on engine development after the 2021 F1 season.

Red Bull is pushing for the rules change which will allow the team to take over the production of Honda’s F1 engines once the manufacturer leaves the sport at the end of next year, without having to meet the costs of continuing to develop them.

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.

Start, Nurburgring, 2020
Poll: Should F1 freeze its engine formula after next season?
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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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Mercedes support Red Bull’s call for F1 engine freeze”

  1. No surprise there.
    As leading engine it only makes sense to freeze the status quo.

  2. I’m shocked! Shocked!!!

    Well, not that shocked.

  3. Wont be surprised if Renault also join in for the freeze call.

    1. … And Ferrari doesn’t.

      1. Given they have veto, engine freeze definitely wont happen and they are the biggest looser if it happens.

  4. RedBulls first attempt to slow Mercedes failed now they are having a second go. Surely the fact that Merc are agreeing with RB with the development freeze is ringing the alarm bells back at RB headquarters? Merc didn’t try to fight the qually mode ban either and we can see why.
    I believe Renault aren’t against it either, so again that should say something to the management at RB about the probable effect of any such freeze.

    1. Merc didn’t try to fight the qually mode ban either and we can see why.

      you have seem to miss some information.
      The last stance at merc is that rbr closes in as an result of the party mode ban.

      1. Yes you mean all the engine issue that Honda suddenly had had nothing to do with the changes needed for the engine modes ban? ALl those DNF’s killed whatever shred of a delusion there still was of Red Bull mounting a WDC campaign.

        Funny thing is with Mercedes stopping development incredibly early since the titles felt well wrapped up already could have hurt them a ton with Verstappen potentially winning both those races (if he hadn’t already messed up being capable of finding a setup for Monza of course).

        All teams are closer to Mercedes because of them stopping development. Not because of the engine modes ban. Verstappen still was crying how Mercedes are winning so much time on the straights. Of course I understand that this is simply a lie/propaganda and that it’s merely a result of their choice to keep going for their high rake + high drag + high downforce design. But still, the same difference is still there. It’s just that Mercedes is less fast(er) in the corners compared to the other teams.

  5. Brass Monkey was seen wandering about the pits looking for a soldering iron?

  6. They’ll bring the final engine spec next year to Abu Dhabi and everyone will just break into tears and withdraw.

    1. I hope they turn it down a bit until the first quarter of the new season. No team can withdraw in season and can only withdraw the next one before March.

      At least doing it could guarantee two more glorious years.

  7. Toto would also support an immediate freeze on aero and mechanical development and a freeze on all driver and personnel contracts?

  8. Life in F1 is beautiful.
    First Redbull gang up with Ferrari against Mercedes to prevent Mercedes from getting any concessions as regards the Concorde agreement.
    Now Redbull gang up with Mercedes to turn the screws deep into Ferrari as regards their engine development.
    Redbull is just great at screwing everyone up.
    What a beautiful world.

    1. Welcome to F1, the same since…

  9. All this talk of Red Bull buying up the Honda engine IP, but I wonder whether Ferrari having deeper pockets could itself look to buy the IP to help learn a thing or two for its own engine development (and perhaps also make the “Honda” engine available as another customer option – e.g. branded as Alpha Romeo some contribution from Alpha towards the cost). Selling engines to both RB teams would generate some income from the investment whilst also avoiding the engine freeze, which is most damaging to them, if they can allocate resource to continue to develop the “Honda” engine for customers.

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