With Honda's shock announcement last fall that it will end its role as a Formula One power unit supplier after the 2021 season to focus on electric vehicles, Red Bull Racing and sister team AlphaTauri, the only teams using Honda's power unit, were left in a tough spot.
None of the other power unit suppliers, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz AMG and Renault, are keen to supply Red Bull in particular, with Mercedes immediately ruling out the possibility due to capacity constraints.
Fortunately a solution has been found. F1 organizers together with the teams agreed at a February 11 meeting to a freeze on power unit changes starting in 2022 and lasting until a new power unit concept is introduced in 2025. Previously the organizers had proposed some significant changes to the current power unit for 2022, including standardizing some components.
After the 2021 season, Red Bull will take over Honda's power unit and start manufacturing them for both its own team and AlphaTauri. Red Bull will establish the new division Red Bull Powertrains to handle production of the power units.
“We have been discussing this topic with Honda for some time and following the FIA’s decision to freeze power unit development from 2022, we could at last reach an agreement regarding the continued use of Honda’s hybrid power units," Helmut Marko, Red Bull's motorsport advisor, said in a statement.
At the Feb. 11 meeting, F1 organizers also established a working group whose task it is to create a new format for qualifying to help make it more engaging for audiences. One possibility is using a sprint race to determine the starting grid.