Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner says Ferrari’s U-Turn over its position regarding a possible engine development freeze from 2022 is “positive news” for the sport. 

In the wake of Honda’s decision to quit F1 at the end of next year, Red Bull is pushing for a freeze on engine development in order to carry out its preferred plan to take over the Japanese manufacturer’s IP and facilities from 2022 and beyond, rather than seek a customer supply deal.

Ferrari originally opposed the idea but has now changed its position on the matter so long as F1 brings forward the introduction of its next power unit regulations by a year from 2026 to 2025.

Red Bull team principal Horner welcomed Ferrari’s support of a possible freezing of engine development at the end of next season. 

"I think that's positive news for Formula 1," he told Sky 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."

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto also raised the prospect of converting the performance between engines, and Horner backed his comments, stressing that a system needs to be put in place to ensure that teams do not get locked into any disadvantages. 

"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," Horner explained.

"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."

Horner believes that it would be logical for Renault to join those in favour, including reigning world champions Mercedes. 

"One would have thought that for Renault it would have been completely logical as well," Horner said.

"Let's see. It's encouraging to hear that Ferrari are backing that position."

Renault’s executive director Marcin Budkowski said the French manufacturer is supportive of a freeze providing it is in the best interests of the sport and not just to satisfy Red Bull’s needs. 

“We were always pushing for a freeze before the introduction of a new set of regulations,” said Budkowski.

“If you have to develop the current engines and develop a new technology [at the same time] you don’t want to have to suddenly hire 100 people and put them on a new development while you continue developing your engine.

“We think it’s unreasonable to have two development programmes at the same time.

“We think the right way to do [a freeze] is roughly three years [before introducing new regulations], so at the time we were actually advocating such a solution.

“Interestingly, Honda was against it, against limiting dyno hours, Honda was against freezing development, and obviously through the voice of Red Bull, who were then voting in the different governance committees.

“It’s interesting now Red Bull is very much in favour of a freeze and it’s interesting for us to see.

“We’re not opposed to this as long as it is the right calendar. The regulations, as are set today, and until they change that’s what applies, is we’re severely restricting development from 2023, almost akin to a freeze, as there’s no more development allowed on ICEs in 2023, and the new set of regulations [are scheduled] for ‘26.”

 

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