Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Ferrari expects “negligible” difference between power units next year

2021 F1 season

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Ferrari is confident Formula 1’s four power unit manufacturers will be very close in performance when their engines are frozen next year.

A freeze on engine development will be introduced at the beginning of the 2022 F1 season to allow manufacturers to prioritise work on new hardware for 2025, when a new formula will be introduced.

The V6 hybrid turbos will be in their ninth season of use next year. Mercedes has long been considered to have by far the best power unit, but in recent years rivals such as Honda have made considerable gains.

Ferrari has also made noticeable progress with its power unit this year, but is still believed to lag behind its rivals. Nonetheless team principal Mattia Binotto believes supporting a freeze was the correct decision.

“The reason of the freeze of the 2022 I agreed because I believe that by then, in a year’s time, we may have somehow a good convergence on the performance of the power unit between manufacturers,” he told RaceFans. “We can see it’s already happening and I think that in a year’s time we may have a good convergence.”

However Binotto does not expect all four manufacturers – Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda and Renault – will be at exactly the same level when next season begins. “Convergence means that there will be a delta between power units which is sufficiently negligible to leave then the competition on the chassis,” he said.

As he expects engine manufacturers will have near-parity next year, Binotto believes this is the correct time for F1 to switch its focus to the next generation of regulations.

“If we are converging, then I think we should simply make sure that everybody is spending their own money for what will be the 2025 [power unit],” he said. “So it’s a matter of avoiding excessive spending in a period where we need really to think on, eventually, a new power unit.”

Mattia Binotto was speaking to RaceFans for a forthcoming edition of the RacingLines column, which will appear later today.

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5 comments on “Ferrari expects “negligible” difference between power units next year”

  1. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
    2nd June 2021, 9:51

    When engine freezes were first mentioned last year I was sceptical – I’m not a Ferrari fan, but I like to see them do well and I think they have the best driver line-up I’ve ever seen them have. They were so way off the mark last year that freezing their weakness into the car for several years seemed bonkers.

    But they’ve been able to engineer new ways to replace the “solution” they previously had, and Honda have been impressive in terms of performance and reliability. Both look really racy.

    So I’m excited about the engine freeze, different track characteristics will favour some over others, and if the engines are fairly level then it seems like a great way to save money and focus on the new formula. Renault/Alpine are the only team I have reservations about, I’m not sure how great they are – perhaps it’s just because only 1 team uses the PUs, but clearly Alonso is convinced that they have potential otherwise he wouldn’t have come back to the team.

  2. Renan Andrade Martinuzzo
    2nd June 2021, 10:38

    First you create a new engine formula and let competition run free because F1 is all about testing new technologies.

    Then you go and freeze development of this ultra complex powertrain because it is too expensive and competition should be about chassis.

    Why don’t just throw away the hybrid part, increase displacement and fuel tank sizes and reduce the cost cap even further?

    Nobody cares F1 engines are hybrid except manufacturers. Seriously.

    1. The hybrid engines came into F1 in 2014, with their development probably starting in 2011. They are imposing a freeze at the start of 2022. It’s been 11 years, freezing the development of these current units doesn’t mean they were being hypocritical about testing new technologies.

      Nobody cares F1 engines are hybrid except manufacturers. Seriously.

      Not like the manufacturers are important in F1 or anything.

    2. Renan you seem to be glossing over the fact that it simply makes sense to do this freeze now, right when budget caps are introduced, and as well when they know they are going to be changing the pus to some degree for 2025 anyway. Under the current realities it doesn’t make sense to have teams continuing the spending battle on pus over the next three years. And to say nobody cars if the engines are hybrid is incorrect. Ask the manufacturers and they will all say that increasingly the world cares more and more each day that the engines are hybrid if not heading to full electric over the coming few decades.

  3. Does the freeze also include a freeze on software development?

    I’ve always thought that the peak HP in each of the PU’s was relatively close but the software that delivers that power was vastly different with Mercedes far and away better at delivering that power when needed.

    If that’s not frozen, we’ll probably still see quite big differences.

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