Are Ferrari and Renault the big losers in an engine freeze?

28-01-2021 07:30 | Updated: 15-02-2021 09:28
F1 News
Are Ferrari and Renault the big losers in an engine freeze?

In the background, there is a lot going on about the power sources. The takeover of the Honda engine by Red Bull Racing outlines a future perspective, but that will only be beneficial for the team if there is a freeze on the further development of the engines. This is logical, given that the team does not normally produce engines and is therefore dependent on the knowledge and skills that Honda provides in the intellectual property.

The position of Mercedes is very clear, they are in support of an engine development freeze. And why not? It reduces costs and they currently have the most powerful (and best) engine in the field. It is mainly up to the other manufacturers to match or exceed that. Something that hasn't worked for years, so Toto Wolff and his team are in a comfortable position. In that context, it is logical that they go with Red Bull.

Dilemma for Ferrari

They do not benefit at all from a standstill in engine development, because they were suddenly nowhere anymore after a mandatory engine modification at the direction of the FIA. Throughout 2020, Ferrari was a drama in terms of performance and while it is more than just the power source that plays a role in this, downtime in one area is deterioration.

Ferrari is also focusing more on 2022, where they have the chance to make good steps forward again. This is because of the restrictions that are in force this year. This of course also applies to the engine development and since no one can see into the future, it is understandable that the Scuderia takes a somewhat sceptical stance. 

The fact that they have changed their mind and will no longer necessarily vote against it, will no doubt have to do with certain nuances in the freeze. After all, Ferrari will not intentionally shoot themselves in the foot. Still, they could be the big loser in this whole story, but if Red Bull's wish is not honoured and they leave the sport… who is the big loser? Then all of a sudden the sporting importance comes up again.

Old Renault proposal

The former engine supplier to Red Bull Racing has clearly taken steps in the past two years. For example, they managed to finish on the podium several times in 2020. Their power source is good, which McLaren proved as a customer team two years in a row by finishing ahead of Renault in the manufacturers. A bit painful, but it is clear that things are now much better in order.

Ironically enough, Renault proposed a development stop earlier, but nobody felt like it at the time. However, things are changing quickly, also in Formula 1, because now it is Red Bull Racing who has come up with it. Renault will agree, but only if a compromise can be found that is in line with their interests. That again seems to be the result of a longer process.

Because Renault did not get the development stop at the time, they started to invest in power sources and production lines. To end that abruptly costs the company a lot of money and is simply not fair. That apparently feeds this manufacturer's somewhat cautious approach to the discussion, because it must be interesting enough for them. If there is an abrupt stop without compromise, then Renault is the big loser, especially financially.

In terms of engine, it seems to sit well, but where Renault can mainly make a profit is with the car. Last year's car was significantly less than the McLaren, which ran with the same power source. So if Alpine F1 Team has that in order this year and also looks closely at the model for 2022, the power source may be a less critical point compared to where Ferrari is now.

Of course, it is completely hypothetical because not all ins and outs are shared. Nonetheless, it is very interesting to see which way things are going and who will ultimately take the lead if the freeze does indeed get through. There is a certainty, in the event of a freeze, there will be enough F1 teams present in the coming years to have a solid competition.

This article was written and originally published by Lennard on the Dutch edition of GPblog.com.

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