Red Bull admits they currently have no alternative plan unless the FIA freezes engine development from 2022, which would allow them to continue using Honda engines despite the withdrawal of Japanese engine maker from Formula 1 next season.
Honda announced the surprising news last October that it would withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of 2021, leaving Red Bull and AlphaTauri without engines, but Red Bull has meanwhile developed a plan to keep Honda engines even after their withdrawal from F1.
This includes a freeze on engine development from 2022, which only Mercedes initially agreed to, which would allow Red Bull and AlphaTauri to continue using their engines beyond 2022.
Mercedes and Ferrari currently agree to freeze the engines, but Renault is still opposed because it does not want to lose the opportunity to catch up with the current gap they have behind Mercedes and wants a guarantee that engine performance will equalize before the development stops.
A decision to freeze the engine from 2022 should be made next week and Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko says Red Bull ‘has no plan B’ although it is clear that their only other option is to return to Renault’s power units they have been using from 2007 – 2018.
“We have clarified everything between ourselves and Honda, we are ready, but that will not happen until we have written proof from the FIA that it will stop the development of the engine,” Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.
“We’re waiting for the FIA’s decision, it should arrive next week.”
“We have a budget cap, we are discussing a driver salary cap, only the engine issue remains open. It seems that new rules for engines will be introduced earlier, in 2025, and additional investment in current engines makes no sense.”
“If there is no engine freeze, Red Bull would have to think drastically about the F1 situation, it’s not blackmail.”
“Common sense and cost reduction suggest that engine freezing is the only way to continue with these unfortunate power units.”
When asked if Red Bull has a plan B, Mark was clear: “No, there is no plan B.”
In their first F1 season in 2005, Red Bull used a Cosworth V10 engine, in 2006 they switched to a Ferrari V8, and from 2007 to the end of 2018 they used Renault engines with which they won four championship titles from 2010 to 2013 before switching to Honda in 2019.