Renault find supporters to idea of 2021 engine development freeze

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Renault has found some unlikely supporters after proposing Formula 1 freeze engine development from 2021.

Until 2017, the sport implemented a token system which was introduced as a cost-saving measure but was dropped allowing for a free-for-all in the three seasons since.

As the sport switched focus to 2021, initial plans to alter the engine formula were dropped due to a lack of external interest, but it is the financial aspect which is leading Renault to continue putting an asterisk next to their continued participation.

"With the budget cap and the fairer distribution of money, two of our demands are met," Renault Sport chief Cyril Abiteboul told Auto Motor und Sport.

"But that's not enough for us. If Formula 1 is not going to cost us anything anymore, it's just about freezing engine development from 2021 onwards. By then, everyone will be at a similar level anyway."

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The Frenchman is right that the disparity between the four engine makers is now greatly reduced after his company and Honda made big gains over the past year.

And if that gap continues to close then Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agreed, a freeze is a viable idea.

"If we find on a calibrated test bench that the power and torque of the four engines [Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda] are within one percent, a development halt makes sense," said the Austrian.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko was also on-board pointing to the success of the last engine development freeze.

"The freezing of the engines must come," said the Austrian. "Otherwise the costs will run away.

"The last tenth is known to be the most expensive. We've already seen in the V8 era how much money was saved by freezing development.

"With these monsters we currently have, the saving effect would be even greater."