Helmut Marko says Honda has agreed for Red Bull to keep using its Formula 1 engines after the Japanese manufacturer’s exit at the end of 2021, but the continuation plan hinges on a crucial FIA vote next week.

Red Bull is pushing for a freeze to engine development to come into effect from 2022 so it can take over the IP of the Honda project and keep running its current power unit, thus avoiding the high costs of upgrading.

The Milton Keynes squad is determined to get an engine freeze across the line, having weighed up that as its best solution to the power unit quandary it faces following Honda’s decision to pull out of F1 at the end of the year.

Speaking in an interview with German publication Auto Motor und Sport, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko confirmed that an agreement has been reached with Honda.

All that appears to stand in Red Bull’s way is an F1 Commission e-vote which is set to take place early next week when teams and the FIA will determine whether an engine freeze will get the green light to be introduced from 2022.

"Everything has been settled between us,” Marko said. “The timing is there. Everyone is in the starting blocks. But there is only an okay when we have written proof from the FIA that the development stop on the engine side is coming.

"We are waiting for the FIA's decision. A corresponding clarification should be made next week. We have a cost cap, we are discussing a restriction and reduction in driver salaries.

“Only with the engines everything should remain open. In addition, the tendency is clear that the new engine regulations will be brought forward in 2025. Unfortunately, this engine was such a cost driver. It makes no sense to invest any further now.”

Red Bull’s rivals Renault and Ferrari had initially been opposed to the idea of an engine freeze, but both manufacturers are now more open to the idea, as are Mercedes if F1 decides to bring forward new power unit regulations to 2025.

However, a number of teams including Mercedes are understood to be against a proposal suggested by Ferrari and Red Bull to introduce some kind of engine performance convergence system in a bid to ensure teams cannot take any advantage of the freeze.

Asked if Red Bull has a Plan B option to fall back on in case the lobbying for an engine freeze is not agreed upon, Marko replied: "No, it does not exist.

"That would mean that Red Bull has to rethink its Formula 1 situation drastically. This is not blackmail. For reasons of reason and cost, an engine freeze is the only way with these ill-fated engines." 

According to the FIA’s rules, the manufacturer which supplies the fewest teams would be forced to supply Red Bull with power units if no other workable solution is found.

That would result in a revival of a collaboration between Red Bull and its former engine partner Renault. The French manufacturer, which powered Red Bull to four successive world championship doubles between 2010 and 2013, currently has no customer teams.

Relations between the two parties dramatically soured amid frustrations over a lack of performance and reliability during the V6 hybrid era, before a divorce was finalised in 2018, paving the way for Red Bull to link up with Honda.

 

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