Red Bull play F1 quit threat card in push for 2022 engine freeze

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Red Bull is playing the old trick of threatening to pull both their teams from Formula 1 if they don't get a freeze on engine development in 2022.

The stance, revealed by motorsport advisor Helmut Marko to Auto Motor und Sport, comes as Red Bull is considering their options following Honda's decision to end their participation after next season.

Marko has already confirmed, as InsideRacing first reported, that the preference is to continue with the Honda engine by buying their IP and running the units in-house.

This is so Red Bull can remain independent from the other three engine suppliers, all of whom have works teams on the grid.

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But the freeze on power unit development is a key criterion for pushing ahead with that approach for one main reason, cost.

“It’s a great shame and obviously disappointing for us and disappointing for Formula 1 I think to lose a manufacturer like Honda,” team boss Christian Horner told Channel 4 in Germany.

“They’ve put so much effort in and the passion of the Japanese engineers, we’ve had engineers in tears, apologising for leaving.

“But we understand their decision. Formula 1 is hugely expensive and of course, they want to deploy their key engineers on other technologies,” he explained.

“So I think it’s a big wake-up call for Formula 1 if you have a manufacturer like Honda withdrawing, you’ve got to look at those regulations, you’ve got to get costs under control.

“We’re now in a situation where there are only three engine suppliers in Formula 1 which is going to be the first time since probably the 1970s or before that.

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“It’s a big issue and I think it’s a topic that needs to be addressed by the FIA to reduce costs and protect the competitiveness of the engines.

“And to ensure that a team like Red Bull, which has big aspirations, can have a competitive power unit.”

As for the reaction to their freeze demand, Red Bull does reportedly have support from Mercedes, while Renault is also thought to be onboard providing the relative performance of all the engines is equal.

The main opposition though comes from Ferrari, who are staunchly against the idea likely because of the current deficit they have to the other manufacturers following the FIA investigation last year.

Talks on that, and the possibility of a new F1 engine as early as 2023, are expected at the Portuguese Grand Prix next weekend.