Red Bull ‘can be successful’ running Honda program – Wolff
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff believes Red Bull can be successful in running Honda’s engine program after the manufacturer’s departure from F1 at the end of 2021.
Honda’s decision to exit Grand Prix racing has left Red Bull scrambling to find an engine solution for its teams by the end of this year.
Rather than reverting to a customer status with Renault, Red Bull has considered taking over Honda’s engine program and bringing it in-house at Milton Keynes, with the manufacturer open to handing over its IP.
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However, Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko has made clear that such an option would only be viable if F1’s three engine suppliers agreed to a freeze on engine development, a move justified by Red Bull’s inability to take part in a costly spending war with its rivals.
So far, both Ferrari and Renault have rejected the idea of an engine status quo while Mercedes believes the proposal is a “sensible” one.
But Wolff is also convinced that Red Bull’s in-house engineering acumen can pick up where Honda will have left off with its engine program and prolong the manufacturer’s success in F1.
“Red Bull is not only a racing team and a very successful racing team but also an engineering company,” said Wolff.
“It seems Honda has done a good job in bringing updates to the power unit. There is some good stuff in the pipeline, and they’re still going to be around next year, giving it all to be successful in the championship.
“That’s why I think that Red Bull can be successful in running the Honda IP and developing the Honda IP. But then, in the mid-term, we are going to innovate, all of us, to work on a new engine concept that could be introduced as early as 2024 or 2025. That’s where the attention of all of us is going to shift.”
Read also: Ferrari’s Camilleri rules out support for 2022 engine freeze
Marko has threatened to pull both of Red Bull’s teams out of F1 if the sport’s engine manufacturers don’t agree to an engine freeze. Wolff insists F1 needs to make sure that the energy drink company remains on the grid.
“I think for them going back to customer status is not something they are very keen on,” he said.
“I truly believe that Honda has done a very good job, and there is performance in the pipeline that gives Red Bull confidence. But equally 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. 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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