Dr Helmut Marko has circled a date in his diary for when the Formula 1 engine freeze vote is due – and expects it to go in Red Bull’s favour.
The head of Red Bull’s driver development programme and advisor to their F1 team was frustrated that the vote did not take place recently on the day he was expecting it to.
But a few weeks from now, the 77-year-old Austrian and other senior figures within the Red Bull organisation should know whether the FIA and Formula 1 have decided to put a halt on engine development from 2022.
That would trigger the start of Red Bull’s plans to set up their own engine operation with the acquisition of Honda’s intellectual property, the Japanese company having announced last autumn that they will pull out of Formula 1 at the end of the forthcoming season.
F1 Insider report that the vote about the engine freeze will take place on February 21 at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council – with Marko believing rival teams will give Red Bull and AlphaTauri the news they want to hear.
“We need six of the 10 votes from the teams, which means only a simple majority,” Marko told F1 Insider.
“I assume that in addition to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, the three Ferrari teams – Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Haas – as well as Renault, will also agree.”
Those words suggest Red Bull would be more likely to encounter resistance to their proposal from Mercedes and their customer teams McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams, even though their four votes would not be enough to tip the balance in their favour if they decided to oppose the engine freeze.
But doing that would be in contrast to what Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been saying about it being important to keep Red Bull in Formula 1, with their future looking certain to be safeguarded if the engine freeze is passed.
“If the freeze is necessary to keep Red Bull Honda in business, we will support it,” Wolff told RTL last week.
“We all have to try together to keep the manufacturers in Formula 1. The Red Bull Honda project is very ambitious but I think they can do that.
“That’s why we are basically for a freeze.”