After Honda announced recently that they will be ending their partnerships with Formula 1 at the end of the year, Red Bull is thinking about their power unit plans into 2022.
Red Bull has options for engines, which includes the extension of a Renault agreement. It has made it known that the desired alternative would be to take over the existing Honda engine project and manage the power units themselves.
However, Red Bull cannot afford to continue upgrading their power unit in a way that suppliers can. Such a strategy ill force F1 to enforce a freeze on engine production.
While the odds of a freeze ocurring sounds minimal, both Ferrari and Renault suggesting that they would not embrace the proposal. Although, Mercedes supports the idea.
Mercedes-AMG Team Principal, Toto Wolff, claims that the history of Red Bull as an engineering firm places them in a strong position to make a takeover of the Honda project and can deliver results.
According to Wolff, "Red Bull is not only a racing team and a very successful racing team but also an engineering company. It seems Honda has done a good job in bringing updates to the power unit. There is some good stuff in the pipeline, and they're still going to be around next year, giving it all to be successful in the championship. That's why I think that Red Bull can be successful in running the Honda IP and developing the Honda IP. But then, in the mid-term, we are going to innovate, all of us, to work on a new engine concept that could be introduced as early as 2024 or2025. That's where the attention of all of us is going to shift."
In addition, Wolff assumes that if the Honda proposal does not happen, F1 will be safe with only three engine suppliers, but considers that the sport would look at the borader picture and realize the importance of keeping an external alternative.
The team principal thinks that it's better for F1 to ensure that Red Bull Racing should stick around.
To conclude, Wolff states, "I think for them going back to customer status is not something they are very keen on, I truly believe that Honda has done a very good job, and there is performance in the pipeline that gives Red Bull confidence. But equally I understand that they don't want to go into a spending war with all the other OEMs on developing engines. It's a sensible proposal I'd like to support. 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 having basically works status."