‘Manufacturers will address big gaps if needed’

Date published: February 16 2021 - Michelle Foster

Mercedes leads Red Bull

Despite the freeze on engine development in 2022, F1’s manufacturers have agreed to address the deficit if anyone is “out of kilter” revealed Christian Horner.

Last week the F1 Commission announced that engine development would be frozen at the end of this season, the freeze in place until 2025.

It was unanimously agreed by all the teams, paving the way for Red Bull to take over Honda’s IP and run their engines as their own from 2022.

But while there are some concerns that the freeze means Mercedes will maintain its engine advantage over the rest of the field, the FIA made it clear that it has no plans to address the balance of performance.

FIA technical director Gilles Simon told Auto Motor und Sport: “From what we know about engines, we expect them to be in a very narrow performance range in 2022.

“And let’s not forget there are still two opportunities for there to be a natural alignment – this year and next. At the moment, we do not believe external intervention will be needed.”

However, if it is, Horner has revealed F1’s manufacturers have agreed to address big gaps themselves.

“Whilst there isn’t anything within the regulations, there is an agreement between the manufacturers that each have supported to the FIA to address it, in the event that a manufacturer is out of kilter,” the Red Bull boss said to Motorsport.com.

“So there is effectively an undertaking by each of the manufacturers to address it should it arise, whilst it’s not within the regulations.”

He added that the agreement gives the “FIA the necessary empowerment to bring the parties to the table.

“That’s important, and there is a clear understanding, particularly from within the top level of each of the OEMs.”

Toto Wolff Christian Horner Otmar Szafnauer

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Horner also revealed that while Red Bull will be taking over Honda’s engine in 2022, the Japanese manufacturer will still offer its assistance in the first year.

“You have the introduction of the E10 fuel [in 2022], so Honda will continue to develop the engine around that fuel,” he said.

“They will hand over the engine effectively for the start of the freeze, and they will continue to assist during 2022 with the assembly of engines.

“Honda are continuing to operate as normal this year. They are committed to Formula 1 until the 31st of December, during which time they will be working with our fuel partner, ExxonMobil, which they’re currently doing, on the development of the E10 fuel, which is currently the biggest regulation change into next year.

“It’s business as usual very much for 2021. And then the engine will be handed over for pre-season testing this time next year.”

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