Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during practice ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel during practice ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix Image Credit: AFP

Manama: Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has welcomed Ferrari’s U-turn to come out in support of a Formula One engine freeze from 2022.

The move gives Red Bull a chance to continue using Honda power after the Japanese supplier exits next year.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner said Ferrari’s decision was encouraging for F1 and everyone involved in the business end of the sport.

“It’s positive news,” said Horner. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognise the investment and cost of these engines particularly with the new technology coming for 2026, maybe 2025. It doesn’t make sense to keep investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these engines.”

Team boss Mattia Binotto confirmed on Thursday that Ferrari will support a freeze for engine regulations starting in 2022, having previously been “firmly against it” even though rivals Mercedes supported it.

Honda supply Red Bull and sister team Alpha Tauri with power units, but will leave F1 at the end of 2021. Red Bull have made clear they want to take over the intellectual property rights to their Honda engines and continue using them for both teams. Formula One plans to introduce a new power unit in 2026, but may bring that forward to 2025.

Horner said he hopes now that Renault will also relent in their opposition to the freeze. “One would have thought that for Renault it would have been completely logical as well,” he said. “Let’s see. It’s encouraging to hear that Ferrari are backing that position.”

Binotto made his comments during a video news conference from Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters late on Friday.