F1: Red Bull-Honda engine agreement imminent, Ferrari remains an obstacle

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Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto has been receptive to the idea of ​​an engine freeze, but there are some reservations to his agreement.

In 2020, only the Honda, Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams won a race outside of Mercedes motor cars
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In 2020, only the Honda, Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams won a race outside of Mercedes motor cars

The Race reports that Red Bull and Honda are set to close a deal in which Red Bull will take over the Honda F1 project after the Japanese manufacturer leaves F1 at the end of the 2021 season. This will involve Red Bull taking over the products and Honda’s intellectual property and maintains the engines itself at its new Milton Keys plant. This will also include Red Bull absorbing some of the Honda staff, but will also get third-party support.

This has been on the cards since Honda’s exit from the sport was announced. Honda’s F1 boss Masashi Yamamoto had indicated that this would be a possibility. Red Bull has been adamant on a working status with an engine partner that will allow its full vertical integration between the chassis design and the powertrain, which no other engine supplier can offer as the other three have their own teams of job.

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner isn’t open to the idea of ​​an engine-builder relationship that doesn’t grant Red Bull works status.
Photo credit: TBEN

Red Bull executives have also threatened to quit the sport if their wish is not granted. However, that wish comes with more obstacles, even if a deal with Honda is about cars. Red Bull wants a technical freeze on engine development at the end of the 2021 season as it believes it does not have the technical capacity or the financial capacity to further develop the powertrain, especially as Honda is bringing a whole new design in. 2021.

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However, this faces opposition from Ferrari and Renault. Ferrari is the main obstacle as it has to keep developing its engine as its massive drop in power after the technical guidelines at the end of the 2019 season have taken a massive toll on its 2020 car. Its two client teams have also suffered from the fact that Ferrari had the most powerful engine at worst on the grid.

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Mattia Binotto is open to the idea of ​​an engine freeze but there are a few caveats
Photo credit: TBEN

Ferrari team manager Mattia Binotto has been receptive to the idea of ​​an engine freeze, but there are some reservations to his agreement. Binotto wants the next engine concept to be postponed from 2026 to 2025 and wants a competitiveness mechanism to be put in place allowing any engine manufacturer to develop in the event that it is massively late.

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After the 2019 technical guidelines, Ferrari found itself with its hands tied thanks to cost cap issues induced by COVID19 2020 which denied it a chance to repair its engine. Ferrari is confident that its 2021 engine will be competitive, but may still not be as good as the Mercedes engine. Ferrari no doubt wishes to further develop its engine. Red Bull boss Christian Horner also agrees with this.

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However, Renault and Mercedes are convinced that such an artificial convergence mechanism should not be allowed because F1 is already in the 7th year of the hybrid era and sufficient convergence has occurred. If a deal is not reached, Red Bull’s plan could be scuttled as Ferrari also has a ‘veto’ power that it could use. In this scenario, Renault, the former engine supplier to Red Bull would be obliged to supply to Red Bull.

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