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Ferrari willing to agree to Red Bull's engine freeze proposal

Ferrari is willing to agree to Red Bull's proposal of an engine development freeze in 2022 if Formula One brings forward the introduction of a brand new set of engine regulations to 2025.

Red Bull has been lobbying for an engine freeze in order to continue with a supply of its current Honda engines beyond the end of 2021.

Honda will leave the sport at the end of 2021, meaning development of its power unit will cease next year, but it is willing to allow Red Bull to continue to produce its engine design into the future.

However, Red Bull will not have the facilities to continue to develop the engine, meaning it would need a freeze on development in order to remain competitive.

Ferrari, which currently has the least competitive engine on the grid, initially said it would block Red Bull's engine freeze proposal, but is now willing to accept it if some of its own demands are met.

"We understand their [Red Bull's] intention to keep using their Honda engines for the future and we had meetings in the last days with F1 and FIA [about that]," Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said.

"I think as Ferrari we understand the situation, we are somehow supportive in trying to anticipate by one season, one year, a freezing of the engines, that means as well trying to anticipate to 2025 the new regulations for the power unit.

"So knowing the situation, understanding the situation, it's not the first time Ferrari is acting in a responsible way in that respect. We will support freezing by anticipating by one year the engines, the power unit."

But Binotto said provisions would have to be made to ensure no manufacturer has a significant advantage locked in place by the freeze as well as taking into consideration the switch to more sustainable fuel in 2022, which is set to include a 10 percent blend of sustainable ethanol.

"In freezing for 2022 it is only a matter of deciding what we intend to do," he said. "We have some discussions with the FIA and F1 over whether we should consider a mechanism of engine convergence.

"If there is a situation where eventually a manufacturer is down on performance to the others, then it would freeze for three years that performance, relative performance, between manufacturers.

"Those details will be important, we should not forget in 2022 we are introducing E10 fuel, so I think if that will change the regulations and we will need to see if you can change the engine development.

"So by the time that we are introducing that fuel we are freezing and I think in that respect some risks are in place. So those risks will need to be managed and make sure we are doing the proper job as manufacturers."

As for the next set of F1 engine regulations, which were originally set for 2026 but Ferrari would like to see brought forward to 2025, Binotto said the focus would need to be on reducing costs while maintaining an element of road relevance.

"Certainly it is not an easy one," he added. "At first I think to have a brand new format of power unit in 2025 we will need by mid of next year to have clarity on the regulations. I think it will be quite a different power unit to today because I think there are -- at least from the Ferrari point of view -- important objectives that need to be set.

"It has to be more sustainable in terms of cost, I think the power unit should cost 50% less of what we are spending today, and in order to achieve that I think it is somehow a very difficult exercise to decide what technical format it is.

"From sustainability -- a carbon footprint point of view -- we need to set our objective which has to be very ambitious, and I think that objective will also somehow decide what will be the technologies, of the technical format, we will decide. We need to have clear objectives to share, and then we need to decide the technical format, and I think mid of next year it should be very clear, and in that respect it will be very difficult and ambitious.

"The fuel will be a key element, in that respect, certainly, to achieve carbon neutral footprint, it's a key element and component, which I think at the moment there is a completely open discussion on. I don't think there is clear evidence on where we should go.

"I think we need to be very proactive but also collaborative between manufacturers, F1, and the FIA to progress very soon on the regulations as it will define the F1 from 2025 eventually to 2030, which is important to make sure we are doing the right exercise, so it is very ambitious, very tight, but I think we are prepared to have that discussion, in a collaborative manner, and I'm pretty sure we will do the right job altogether."