F1 agrees to engine freeze for 2022 onwards

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Formula One will put a stop to all engine development once the 2021 season has concluded.

The development freeze will coincide with the overhaul to F1’s aerodynamic rules, which many hope will end Mercedes’ current dominance of the sport. Mercedes has won every championship stretching back to 2014 and the introduction of V6 turbo engines.

The freeze was originally proposed by Red Bull after Honda’s decision to withdraw from F1 at the end of 2021. It will allow Red Bull to effectively take over Honda’s supply without having to switch to a deal with Mercedes, Ferrari or Renault.

As Red Bull does not have the facilities to continue to produce an F1 engine itself, it required a halt to engine development in order to remain competitive.

On Thursday at a meeting of the F1 Commission, the idea received unanimous support. The FIA said the decision “reflects the unity and collaborative spirit” between the governing body, F1 and its 10 teams.

Discussions around replacing qualifying with sprint races at three races — understood to be Canada, Italy and Brazil — received broad support but have yet to be signed off. A working group has been tasked with finalising a sprint race plan before the season starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.

The sprint race idea would see a shortened race replace the traditional qualifying session, with the result of that event setting the event for the grand prix on Sunday.

F1 also confirmed it intends to fill the “TBC” slot on the existing calendar with a race at Portugal’s Portimao circuit which hosted a race in 2020.