Red Bull are “close” to finalising a deal with Honda which will allow them to rebrand and continue to use the Japanese car-maker’s power units for the 2022 F1 season and beyond, team principal Christian Horner has revealed.
Horner said their discussions on the matter with the FIA have been “constructive”, adding that Honda have been “very accommodating.”
This agreement would allow Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri to stay in Formula One without having to find a new engine supplier – and they are pushing for a freeze on engine development to prevent them falling behind the likes of Ferrari and Renault, and ending up with an even larger engine performance deficit to Mercedes.
“Well, obviously we are very focused on Plan A and Honda have been very accommodating, but nothing is finalised,” Horner said.
“We’ve got constructive discussions going on with Honda and the FIA and I think that we are close to coming to a conclusion.
“Obviously, the FIA are consulting with the other teams. I think there’s alignment regarding the freeze, it’s just should there be a safety net if an engine manufacturer undershoots from one season to the next,” the Red Bull team principal added.
Continuing in this vein, Horner conceded that locking in engine performance for several years via a freeze on development “could be quite damaging” as it would prevent weaker power unit manufacturers from closing the gap to their rivals.
If this deal were to fall through for any reason, Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri’s other option would be to arrange an engine supply deal with one of the three other existing F1 power unit manufactures.
Mercedes have already ruled out supplying engines to Red Bull due to supply constraints, as they will be supplying four teams from next year, with McLaren ditching Renault power for Mercedes.
Meanwhile, Ferrari and Renault have suggested they would potentially be open to supplying Red Bull and Scuderia AlphaTauri, though discussions on the matter have not been held.