Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has welcomed Ferrari’s U-turn to support 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 yesterday’s final practice for today’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Horner said that Ferrari’s decision was encouraging for F1 and everyone involved in the business end of the sport.
“It’s positive news,” he said. “I think all the manufacturers, all the CEOs of the automotive industry, they all recognize 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,” he said.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto on Thursday said that his team would 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 are to leave F1 at the end of next year.
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 might 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,” Horner said. “Let’s see. It’s encouraging to hear that Ferrari are backing that position.”
On Friday, Alex Albon accepted the blame after his heavy and expensive crash during practice, which threatened to derail his future with Red Bull.
The London-born Thai driver, who has struggled this year to match the pace of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, said he knew he should have backed off when he ran wide at the final corner before careering off into the barriers.
“It was just one of those things,” he said as he tried to make light of his crash, which wrecked most of his car. “I should have pulled out of it really.
“I was a bit surprised by the lack of grip. And it was quite a difficult, awkward angle — it wasn’t fun,” he said.
His crash came midway through the floodlit second session at the Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir.
The right side of his Red Bull car was severely damaged and both wheels were left hanging only by their tethers.
Albon, who is fighting to keep his seat in the team next year after being warned to “raise his game,” was lucky to escape injury.
On Friday, Lewis Hamilton relished his return after 12 days off by securing a “double top” with the fastest lap in the two opening practice sessions at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, the Mercedes driver was outdone in the third practive, with Verstappen setting a time of 1 minute, 28.355 seconds, with Hamilton 0.263 seconds slower in second.
Valtteri Bottas was third-fastest in the third practice, 0.366 seconds behind Verstappen.
Hamilton said that he was happy to be back in his Mercedes car, but lambasted Pirelli as he explained why he was unhappy with their prototype tyres.
“It is great to be out there again,” he said. “I always love driving. It has been a bit like a test day with a lot of stuff to do and the track has been very dusty.”
However, he was critical when asked about the tires.
“I’m really trying very hard not to say anything, but they are 3kg heavier and like a second a lap slower,” he said.
Hamilton prefaced his comments with respect and praise for the role of the Italian tire suppliers in F1 before he gave vent to his feelings, as shared by many other drivers.
“We’ve got a team here from Pirelli and I have the utmost respect for the guys who come here and load our tyres up, bring them here and keep us safe — they do an amazing job,” he said.
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