Red Bull feels positive of engine dev freeze; F1 looks at 24-race calendar
The engine freeze may happen but with conditions as F1 is looking at a rotation system with future calendar.
Red Bull seems positive about a power unit development freeze but with conditions as F1 eyes 24-race calendar in future via rotation.
With Honda moving out of F1 from 2022 season onward, Red Bull is still looking to secure a deal with the Japanese manufacturer to buy their IP and continue using their engines beyond 2021 by moving things in-house at their Milton Keynes base.
While it is not clear if they will have an external help in the form of Mugen or Ilmor, but the first preference still remains the Honda IP route. To achieve that, they need an engine development freeze as Red Bull cannot afford to spend huge amount in development game.
The expenditure of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault on the engine development will certainly be higher than Red Bull, which the team cannot afford to. While the German manufacturer seemed onboard from start for a freeze but the Italian and the French said no until now. However, as talks continue behind the scenes, there could be some breakthrough.
Red Bull is positive of going with the Honda IP route after an engine development freeze but naturally the compromise will come with certain conditions. As per German website AMuS, the idea is that the freeze may not take place until the end of the 2021 F1 season.
The manufacturers want the freeze to kick-in from the start of the 2022 F1 season, which will give them whole of the 2021 winter to develop as much as possible. The catch here is the accommodation of E5 fuel system in place of the E10, which will need extra work.
The second point being discussed is bringing forward the 2026 engine overhaul to 2025 by pairing up the desired change to CO2-free fuel with it. Red Bull think alternate fuel usage can be done from 2023 onward but not many agree to it at this juncture.
Rotating F1 calendar with 24 races:
In an investor call, F1 boss Chase Carey, has talked about the sport having 24 races going forward with a rotation system in place to help certain hosts to keep their races fresh and financially in a good shape amid global financial troubles.
"Looking beyond 2021 we continue to feel great about the excitement from locations around the world in hosting Formula 1," said Carey. "Many locations we raced at this year expressed great interest in new races and other countries have stronger than ever interest.
“We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years and will probably rotate a few races so we will be able to accommodate a few new partners. But they will be limited as long term partnerships continue to be our priority."
The new Concorde Agreement allows for F1 races upto 25 in a season and 24 is probably the closest they can get to that. Staying on the topic of future, Carey presented a hugely optimistic statement regarding 2021, where he sees the season to run normally.
After the hardships due to COVID-19 in 2020, Carey is positive about 2021 being normal, where they will not only have fans in the stands but also have the Paddock Club returning - which houses wealthy members and is one of the big source of income of F1.
"We have not only maintained but strengthened the relationship with our promoters,” said Carey. "We have completed renewals for next year on improved terms. We are planning for 2021 events with fans that provide an experience close to normal and expect our agreements to be honoured.
"We will also look to bringing the Paddock Club back to our events. We have great plans for the Paddock Club, which were deferred this year, and expect it to be a significant contributor to our long-term growth.
"We have proven that we can safely travel and operate our races and our promoters increasingly recognise the need to move forward and manage the virus. In fact, many hosts actually want to use our event as a platform to show the world they are moving forward," summed up Carey.
Talking more about 2021 and beyond, Carey remained excited about the growth, even though, he will not be at the helm, with Stefano Domenicali taking over. For 2020, he discussed of increasing TV and digital/social media numbers.
[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]