Marko: Red Bull engine freeze demand ‘not blackmail’

A Red Bull

Red Bull’s apparent threat to leave Formula 1 if an engine freeze is not introduced in 2022 is “not blackmail” according to its motorsport advisor, Dr Helmut Marko.

Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri have been placed in an awkward position by Honda’s decision to leave F1 at the end of 2021, with the squads’ default option being the marque with which they have had much acrimony over the years, namely Renault.

While the Milton Keynes team claims to have not the capacity to develop engines itself, the prospect of a freeze could allow it to continue with Honda powerplants until new regulations take effect in either 2025 or 2026.

According to Marko, such agreement has now been reached with the Japanese marque, although the question of whether or not the freeze becomes official must still be decided.

“Everything has been clarified between us,” he told German outlet Auto Motor und Sport.

“The timing is fixed. Everyone is in the starting blocks. But there won’t be an okay until we have written proof from the FIA that the development stop on the engine side is coming.

“We are waiting for the FIA’s decision. There should be clarification on that next week.”

While Mercedes supports the freeze, and Ferrari has moved to that position on the proviso that new power unit regulations do come into F1 in 2025, Renault is opposed.

Asked if Red Bull has a Plan B in the event that the freeze does not get approved, Marko responded, “No, it does not exist.

“That would mean that Red Bull has to rethink its Formula 1 situation drastically.

“This is not blackmail. For reasons of reason and cost, an engine freeze is the only way with these unfortunate engines.”

Intertwined with the engine freeze discussion is the possibility of a convergence system, although that is something which Marko is less concerned about than the freeze itself.

“For F1, it’s a very clear common sense decision,” he remarked.

“The engine freeze is the most important thing.

“The so-called safety net of alignment will certainly be more difficult.

“But if the development freeze is there, the whole project is already easier for us to handle.”

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