Red Bull has reportedly threatened to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season if the sport's manufacturers do not unanimously agree to freeze engine rules from 2022.
The energy drink company has found itself in a fix following Honda's announcement last week of its withdrawal from F1, a decision that now compels Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri to find a new engine supplier by the end of the year.
As it weighs its options, Red Bull has said that it favours taking over Honda's power unit program which Red Bull would bring in-house at Milton Keynes, but only under the condition that the FIA enforces a freeze on development from 2022, a prerequisite justified by Red Bull's inability to assume the costs of an ongoing development program.
According to a report from Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, if Red Bull's demand is not met, Helmut Marko would pull both of the energy drink's teams out of F1, a drastic measure that would leave Grand Prix racing with just eight teams on the grid and a heavily dented image.
AMUS states that Mercedes would be open to an engine freeze from 2022, while Renault would only agree to restrictions if parity is achieved between the three power unit manufacturers in terms of output.
However, Ferrari is apparently inflexible on the topic and would point blank refuse any concessions on the engine front, a predictable stance given the dismal performance of the Scuderia's unit relative to its peers.
The contentious topic is set to be tabled at Portimão next week where teams will convene ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix for a strategy group meeting.
But the subject of bringing forward from 2026 to 2023 a fresh new engine regulation platform is also expected to be debated, with Ferrari allegedly very much in favour of an earlier change.
It looks like there will be more than a few oily sardines going down at Portimão next week.