F1 Commission approves engine freeze, open to sprint races

By Chris Medland

A meeting of the Formula 1 Commission resulted in agreement on an engine freeze that will allow Red Bull to run Honda power units beyond this season, while the sprint race concept also looks set to get a tryout.

Image courtesy of Mercedes-AMG F1

Honda announced last year that it was pulling out of F1 at the end of the 2021 season, leaving Red Bull without a power unit supplier. Discussions have since taken place that would see Red Bull take over the IP and run the power units itself — with Honda’s F1 operation already having a base in Milton Keynes — but it requested a freeze in regulations and development in order to make this a viable option.

The fuel changes could mandate some development of the power units, while there’s also a fear that any major deficits could be locked in at the start of next year, so discussions focused on ways to address those issues.

Aside from the power unit freeze, there was a presentation on the details of the proposal to try sprint races at select races this season. The initial response was positive, and it seems increasingly likely the plan will be approved once specific aspects have been finalized.

Other topics that were discussed included a salary cap proposal that requires further evolution, while the third round of the 2021 season — currently marked as “to be confirmed” in the calendar — was finally approved as taking place in Portugal.

All of the F1 Commission’s decisions must be rubber-stamped by the World Motor Sport Council.