Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he is in favour of an F1 engine freeze, as it would allow Red Bull to remain a “works team” after Honda leaves the sport.
Honda has announced its intention to leave Formula 1 after 2021 citing its focus on electrification as one of the reasons. This will leave Red Bull without an engine partner.
The Austrian team stated it doesn’t want to become a customer team of one of the other engine suppliers already on the grid and might even leave F1 is a solution is not found. Red Bull’s preferred option is to buy the IP and designs of the power unit from Honda and continue using it post 2021.
However, this option is only acceptable if manufacturers agree to an F1 engine development freeze, because Red Bull doesn’t want to go into a spending war with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault. Toto Wolff says he is in favour of this proposal.
“I think Formula 1 is in a good state with three engine suppliers,” said the Austrian.
“I totally understand where Red Bull is coming from. They don’t want to go back to a customer status.
“They want to be a works team and they have the capability of tweaking it and maybe optimising it, and maybe there are a few things in the pipeline from Honda that are giving them confidence that there is more performance in the engine.
“But I think we should be doing everything to give Red Bull that opportunity.
“I understand that they don’t want to go into a spending war with all the other OEMs on developing engines. It’s a sensible proposal. I’d like to support it.
“I think Red Bull is a tremendously important brand for Formula 1, and we should do everything to keep the two teams in Formula 1 and help them with the option of having basically works status.”
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Wolff was asked if he thought Red Bull was trying to force Formula 1 to implement an engine freeze by threatening to quit the sport.
“I think in Formula 1, everybody is trying to get the best deal, the best financial deal and best performance deal,” Mercedes team boss explained.
“This is the current position and I can live with either. I can live with them taking a customer engine or help to fund the Honda development programme or do it on their own.
“I am easy with either decision.”
The F1 Commission will discuss the possibility of an engine freeze in their next meeting on Monday.