Honda attend latest engine meeting, MGU-H set for axe

Mark Scott
Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda sparks. Belgian August 2021

Max Verstappen driving the Red Bull Honda sending up a spray of sparks during Belgium practice. Belgian August 2021

According to Auto Motor und Sport, there has been ‘sign of a breakthrough’ in the latest Formula 1 engine meeting – a meeting which the departing Honda attended.

The FIA, Formula 1, current engine suppliers and potential new entrants have been meeting regularly since late 2020 to discuss the future direction of the power units in Formula 1 and the finances around them.

There had been little to no progress between the respective parties…until now. AMuS state that Formula 1 bosses are feeling confident about being able to present a first full draft of the new engine regulations by the end of October.

Not only is there a widespread agreement to not introduce the new engines until 2026 (rather than 2025 as originally planned), but common ground has also been found in axing the MGU-H element which makes up part of the current power units.

Current engine manufacturers, Mercedes and Renault, were initially reluctant to give up their experience and knowledge gathered when working with hybrid technology over the years, but they are both now reportedly willing to part ways with the MGU-H element – an element which has become increasingly unsustainable in the sport and has very little relevance to mass-produced cars.

The likes of Audi, Porsche and Red Bull have all been pushing for a fresh start, whilst Ferrari have largely remained on the neutral ground throughout these early rounds of discussions.

Perhaps the most interesting nugget of information from the report is that Honda, who are leaving Formula 1 at the end of the season, had representatives at the latest meeting, curious about the direction the sport is going.Ā A comeback has not been completely ruled out by the Japanese engine manufacturer.

One Japanese engine manufacturer that hasn’t been involved in any discussions, though, is Toyota.

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The question of how many cylinders the new power units will have is also not a major sticking point, with all parties said to be happy to go in whichever direction makes the most sense for the sport.

One major hurdle to overcome, though, relates to the imminent introduction of the Red Bull PowerTrains division.

Red Bull view themselves as a newcomer due to the fact that 2026 will be the first time they produce their own power unit and, if the new engine concept is so different from the current one, they want certain concessions to make the transition as smooth as possible.

However, the report states that Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari all strongly oppose Red Bull’s request as they feel, by 2026, Red Bull’s power unit department will be a major player in Formula 1.