Formula 1 has agreed to move forward the start of an engine freeze period to 2022, allowing Red Bull the opportunity to take over Honda’s engines.
Honda is leaving F1 at the end of the year, leaving Red Bull without an engine supplier. The team had already confirmed they would not be able to afford yearly development of the engines. Thus, they had asked for a freeze in the regulations.
Under the previous rules, engine development was set to be halted for three seasons starting in 2023.
But a motion to bring the engine freeze forward to the start of the 2022 season was finally passed on Thursday during a meeting of the F1 Commission.
Red Bull will take over part of Honda’s Milton Keynes facility with some of Honda’s F1 personnel staying back to oversee the project.
The commission also discussed and gave their “broad support” to introduce a new qualifying format at select events this year.
The idea will see a sprint race approximately one-third of the Grand Prix distance held on Saturday in place of the usual qualifying. The race will award points and set the grid for the Sunday’s main Grand Prix.
Starting grids for the sprint races will be determined by results from Friday practice.
The Canadian, Italian and Brazilian GPs were earmarked as races where it could be tried.
The notion needs majority support and to earn at least 28 from 30 votes to be implemented into the sport.
The idea will be voted on ahead of the start of the new season next month. However, the FIA and F1 issued a statement suggesting some form of qualifying format change was widely backed, and a plan will now be finalised.
“All teams recognised the major importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format,” read an FIA statement.
“There was, therefore, broad support from all parties for a new qualifying format at some races, and a working group has been tasked with creating a complete plan with the aim to reach a final decision before the start for the 2021 championship.”
Another topic discussed was what venue would host the third round of the 2021 season, previously pencilled in as a TBC.
F1 can now reveal that the Portuguese Grand Prix will fill the vacant spot, making a return to the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao.
It is the first time since 1994-1995 that F1 will have consecutive races in Portugal.
Updated 2021 F1 calendar:
- March 28: Bahrain
- April 18: Imola
- May 2: Portimao
- May 9: Barcelona
- May 23: Monaco
- June 6: Baku
- June 13: Montreal
- June 27: Paul Ricard
- July 4: Red Bull Ring
- July 18: Silverstone
- August 1: Hungaroring
- August 29: Spa
- September 5: Zandvoort
- September 12: Monza
- September 26: Sochi
- October 3: Singapore
- October 10: Suzuka
- October 24: Austin
- October 31: Mexico City
- November 7: Interlagos
- November 21: Melbourne
- December 5: Saudi Arabia
- December 12: Abu Dhabi