What Does the 2022 Engine Freeze Mean for Red Bull F1 and Honda?

Published 12/26/2021, 9:16 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Young Driver Test – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 14, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during testing REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Honda has officially marched out of Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season which now leaves Red Bull Racing and their sister outfit, AlphaTauri, fending for themselves. But, are they really under threat especially with the regulation changes in the offing? Not at all.

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When the Japanese manufacturers initially made this shocking decision, it almost looked like Red Bull could find themselves tumbling down the ladder into the mid-field by as early as 2022. But, an unexpected twist in the tale has Red Bull in a position where they could well maintain their domination over the next 4 years.

Engine freeze – The 4-time constructors’ champions put forward a request to the FIA demanding an engine freeze from the start of 2022 until the end of 2025. Following a series of discussions, the teams did acknowledge the idea of stalling engine developments.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during the race REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

To shed light on the topic, engine freeze is nothing but a rule that prevents the engine manufacturers in F1 from developing their power units over a designated period of time. Hence, Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda, and Renault will have one shot at building a perfect engine for the 2022 season.

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How will Red Bull Racing gain from this?

Red Bull Racing was indeed the most powerful team in 2021, or at least for the most part of 2021. And the credit goes to Honda, who worked tirelessly in building an engine that had the pace to challenge defending champions, Mercedes.

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What’s more, even after making the exit announcement, Honda’s factory continued to offer all the help they could to Red Bull. And here they stand, with a potentially strong engine in hand that yet again has the capability to challenge Mercedes for the title.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Let’s assume it does happen in reality; Red Bull has their heads in front with Mercedes dwindling behind. Interestingly, unlike in 2021 where Mercedes managed to develop the engine mid-season that partially helped them defeat Red Bull, Mercedes cannot bring an updated engine into the game in 2022 or the follow-up years.

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Instead, the Brackley outfit would have to exploit other areas in order to find the required tenths of a second to beat their rivals, which is hardly ever promised. So, will Red Bull dethrone Mercedes to become the most dominant F1 team of the era?

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Rohit Kumar

1682 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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