Christian Horner welcomes the stance of Ferrari with regards to freeze on engine development as new cycle of regulations beckons from 2025.
With the departure of Honda from 2022 onward, Red Bull is looking for options to continue racing, where using the IP of the Japanese manufacturer is at the forefront. For that to happen, they need a freeze on the engine development, which will help them cost wise.
There was opposition from Renault and Ferrari mostly but they now seem to agree amid talks with F1 and the FIA, with Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto stating that they can look towards a freeze, if the new engine regulations cycle is preponed to 2025, instead of 2026.
This point was talked upon by Helmut Marko and also Horner that they would propose of one year preponement, which will help with engine freeze. They also plan to link the freeze with the switch to environment-friendly fuel going forward.
“I think what we said is there are already regulations in place where somehow Red Bull got a solution,” said Binotto. “They may be supplied by other manufacturers, that’s no doubt. We understand there intention as well to keep using their Honda engine for the future. We had meetings in the last days with F1 and the FIA.
“I think as Ferrari, we understand the situation. We are somehow 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 unit. So, knowing the situation and understanding somehow the situations, it is not the first time that I think Ferrari is acting responsibility, in a responsible way, in that respect.
“So, we will support freezing by anticipating by one year the engines and the power unit. Certainly it’s not an easy one to manage with the fuel change too. First, to have a brand new format of power unit in 2025, we would need to have by the middle of next year clarity on the regulations. I think it will be quite a different power unit to today, because there, at least from a Ferrari point of view, there are important objectives that need to be set, as for example quite a different cost.
“It has to be more sustainable from a cost point of view, so I think the power unit itself should cost 50% more of less of what we are affording today and in order to achieve that I think it will be in order to decide what will be the technical format it is somehow a very difficult exercise. To see it from the sustainability, from a carbon footprint point of view, we need to set out objective which has to be very ambitious and I think that objective will somehow decide what will be the technologies or the technical format we will then decide.
“As I said, we need to have clear objectives to share and then we need to decide the technical format and I think in the mid of next year it should be clear and I think in that respect it will be very difficult and ambitious. The fuel will be very important, certainly in order to achieve carbon footprint neutral the fuel itself is a key element and a key component of the format, on which I think at the moment there is a completely open discussion and there is no clear evidence on where we should go.
“We need to be I suppose very proactive but very collaborative between manufacturers, F1 and FIA in order to progress very soon on the regulations, because again that will somehow define what’s the future of F1 from 2025 to 2030 which is important to make sure that we are doing the right exercise. As you said, it is very ambitious, very tight but I think we are prepared to have that discussion, as I said, in a collaborative manner and I’m pretty sure we will do the right job all together.
“On freezing in 2022, I don’t think that will be difficult. It is only a matter of deciding what we intend to do. We have some discussion at the moment with the FIA and F1, should we consider a mechanism of engine convergence, if there is any situation where eventually a manufacturer is really down on performance compared to the others, because then its freezing three years somehow as well the performance, the relative performance between manufacturers.
“I think those details will be important. We should not forget that in 2022 we are introducing the E10 fuel, 10%, so it’s quite a significant change in the regulations and a significant change in the engine development so by the time we are introducing that fuel we are freezing and I think in that respect some risks are in place and so the risks will need to be managed and making sure that we are doing the proper job as manufacturers,” summed up Binotto, as he added on how convergence can happen.
“I don’t think it is balance of performance as I don’t think that the aim or objective is to somehow bring all the manufacturers to the same level of performance,” said Binotto. “That’s not the case. That’s why I call it engine convergence or power unit convergence as it’s only a way of trying to help a manufacturer, which is really down in terms of performance compared to the others.
“But I don’t think if we are helping that manufacturer we should bring him to be the best manufacturer at all, so he should somehow try to catch up at a lower level compared to the others but somehow not too distant. How can we do that? I think that’s part of the open discussion we have got today. I don’t there is a solution. Certainly the easiest one is by managing or adapting the fuel flow but I don’t think that there is a conclusion yet, it is all part of the discussion we are having,” summed up Binotto.
The step – especially the freeze – was certainly a welcome move for Red Bull and Horner, as it will allow them to use the Honda IP from 2022 onward and not be dependent on Renault. In-house work will help them to do things on their own as well. The Brit, though, is hoping that the freeze wouldn’t put a F1 team with a no gain scenario.
He hopes that there is a way for them to correct mistakes if they end up in a hole. “I think that’s positive news for Formula 1,” Horner said to Sky Sports F1. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognise the investment and cost of these engines.
“Particularly with the new technology coming for 2026, maybe 2025, it doesn’t make sense to keep investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these engines. One would have thought that for Renault it would have been completely logical as well. Let’s see. It’s encouraging to hear that Ferrari are backing that position.
“There’s got to be some kind of mechanism that if somebody has undershot, either over the winter or once during the season, have the ability to correct that. Otherwise you’re locking in a disadvantage. But from a cost point of view, from our point of view, it’s a very positive thing,” summed up Horner.
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