Following Honda’s announcement that it would be withdrawing from Formula One at the end of 2021, it emerged that Red Bull was interested in taking over the intellectual property of Honda’s power unit to avoid it having to look for a new engine supplier.
However, to avoid falling behind their rivals’ power units, Red Bull are pushing for a freeze on engine development from the end of next season.
With Mercedes currently having the best power unit in Formula One, they are unsurprisingly in favour of such a development freeze.
However, Ferrari previously said they were opposed to a freeze on engine development, but the Maranello-based team has now changed its tone on the matter.
Speaking at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said that they “understand the situation” Red Bull is in.
“I think what we said is there are already regulations in place where somehow Red Bull has got a solution, they may be supplied by other manufacturers, that’s no doubt,” Binotto said in an interview with Motorsport.com.
“We understand as well their intention to keep using their Honda engine for the future. We had meetings in the last days with F1 and the FIA. I think as Ferrari, we understand the situation.”
Continuing, Binotto said: “We are supportive in trying to anticipate by one season, one year, the freezing of the engines, because that would mean as well trying to anticipate to 2025 the new regulations for the power units.
“Knowing the situation and understanding the situation, it’s not the first time that Ferrari is acting in a responsible way in that respect,” he added.
Binotto also stressed that they are discussing a potential “mechanism of engine convergence” if one engine manufacturer has a large performance deficit to its rivals.
“Talks are ongoing at the moment with the FIA, with F1, if we should consider a mechanism of engine convergence, if there is any situation where eventually a manufacturer is really down on performance compared to the others.
“Because then it’s freezing for three years the relative performance between manufacturers. I think those details will be important.”
Ferrari currently have the weakest power unit in Formula One, and they’ll be hoping their upgraded 2021 engine can help them close the gap to Mercedes and their other engine rivals.