Red Bull’s future in Formula 1 is expected to be secured shortly. The Austrians are waiting for the FIA to announce an engine development freeze.
The Red Bull decision-makers are sitting on hot coals. Reason: Every minute they are waiting for the green light from the FIA regarding the engine development freeze from 2022. Red Bull chief advisor Helmut Marko told F1-Insider.com: “We are waiting for the FIA’s decision to get going. Everything is clear with Honda.”
In other words, if the motorsport world governing body gives the expected confirmation, Red Bull’s future is also clear. Then, from 2022, they will be using Honda engines on their own. The Japanese company announced last year that it would end its official factory involvement in the top automotive class at the end of 2021. If the competition in the drive sector is frozen until the new engine regulations in 2025/26, Red Bull would take over the drive units from the Japanese and build them independently.
Meanwhile, a veto from the FIA could mean the end of Red Bull’s involvement in Formula 1. “That would then no longer make sense for us,” says Marko. “But,” says the Graz native, “I think positively. I think the freezing of the engines is just a formality.”
Everything else is going according to plan at Red Bull. Even Brexit and Corona can’t keep the Austrian team down. Adhering to all Corona rules, the engineers at the Milton Keynes factory are going full throttle. New driver Sergio Perez has already been to the seat fitting – guided tour included. The Mexican is supposed to be able to give number 1 driver Max Verstappen the kind of support in the battle with Mercedes that his predecessor Alexander Albon was incapable of.
Verstappen is preparing for the new season far away from England. This year, he is putting a lot of emphasis on the “mental” side of things, as he is enjoying his time with his new girlfriend, the daughter of Brazilian triple world champion Nelson Piquet, to the full. No wonder Marko is optimistic: “We’re close to Mercedes”, he says, “but we’re not blinded by the success at the last race in Abu Dhabi. That’s when Mercedes didn’t deliver its full performance.”
Marko’s prediction: “Mercedes will still be the benchmark in 2021. We have to manage to put them under pressure from the first race. McLaren will be even stronger because of the Mercedes engines. Ferrari and Aston Martin will be question marks. Ferrari because we don’t yet know how good their new engine will be. Aston Martin because we don’t know how far their collaboration with Mercedes will go. Basically, though, I don’t think all three will be able to pose a threat to us.”
Marko does not believe that the season will be chaotic due to the Corona pandemic. The man from Austria praises: “The new Liberty CEO Stefano Domenicali is doing an extremely good job. You can tell he’s a racer.”
Even the traditional race in Monaco is secured for Marko: “I’ve heard that they’re working on a concept right now to have the race even with half the spectators.”
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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