Formula 1 will suffer if Honda and Renault are not allowed to catch up and compete with Mercedes and Ferrari power, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Both Honda and Renault have struggled with performance and reliability this season, with their respective teams McLaren and Red Bull taking heavy penalties in Austria after more failures. The FIA previously allowed Renault to retune its engine to bring it up to the level of its rivals after the 2008 season, when it had fallen behind early in the first incarnation of the engine freeze rules.
While Horner stopped short of calling for a repeat, he said F1 had to take some action over the current performance disparity.
“I think we need to look at it for sure,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, and quite often I’m perceived as moaning or complaining about Mercedes, but they’ve done a super, super job. They’ve interpreted the rules and they’ve done a better job than anybody else.
“The problem is it’s totally out of kilter with where the other manufacturers are at the moment. We need them [Honda and Renault] to be there for there to be engines for other teams to compete with. I don’t think Formula 1 can afford for Honda and Renault to be in the situation they are.
“We had the new president of Honda here [in Austria] and I don’t think we put a great show on for him. And for Renault, again it’s not a great encouragement for them to commit further to the sport when the penalties that we’re imposing, the public embarrassment that there is over engine failure.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button all exceeded their engine allocation when they fitted their fifth units, leading to grid penalties in Austria. Ricciardo fared best from the back of the field in the race, recovering to 10th.