One by one, the manufacturers appear to be softening their stance in terms of Red Bull‘s call for a freeze on engine development if it were to buy Honda’s IPO.
Though supportive of the freeze, Renault‘s executive director, Marcin Budkowski insists that the move mustn’t be all about what Red Bull wants but a genuine move for the benefit of the sport as a whole.
“If you have to develop the current engines and develop a new technology at the same time you don’t want to have to suddenly hire 100 people and put them on a new development while you continue developing your engine,” he said. “We think it’s unreasonable to have two development programmes at the same time.
“We think the right way to do (a freeze) is roughly three years, so at the time we were actually advocating such a solution.
“Interestingly, Honda was against it,” he continued, “against limiting dyno hours, against freezing development, and obviously through the voice of Red Bull, who were then voting in the different governance committees.
“It’s interesting that now Red Bull is very much in favour of a freeze and it’s interesting for us to see.
“We’re not opposed to this as long as it is the right calendar,” he insisted. “The regulations, as are set today, and until they change that’s what applies.
“We’re severely restricting development from 2023, almost akin to a freeze, as there’s no more development allowed on ICEs in 2023, and the new set of regulations are set for ’26.
“I think there’s a lot of talk about anticipating these new regulations by one year which I think for F1 can make sense if we find the right set of regulations, potentially a better set of regulations,” he said. “At that stage you have to freeze at some point in ’22, whether the end of ’22 or mid-’22, it will also be discussed.
“We’re in line with this, it’s a position we’ve always defended. However, we can’t say now we’re going to freeze from ’21 for example, it’s too late, we’ve engaged in engine programmes of a certain life cycle, we’ve pushed before to freeze early.
“The decision of the sport was not to freeze early, now we’ve invested time and effort into a new specification of engines, well, we’re happy to find a compromise as long as it’s a reasonable compromise.
“That’s our position and to be honest it’s been consistent throughout. Let’s make some compromise, if you want, to the regs, not only because suddenly Honda decided that ‘oh it was too expensive to do a Formula 1 engine’, well they were not of this opinion before.
“Let’s find the right thing for the sport, let’s find the right engine formula for the future, and at the right time to introduce it.”