Bernie Ecclestone has intensified his efforts to defeat the FIA's radical new proposal to introduce 'greener', four-cylinder turbocharged engines into F1 from 2013, by meeting with team bosses at Sepang over the weekend of the Malaysian Grand Prix to outline his plans to retain the current V8 formula.
The four-cylinder route is being championed by FIA President Jean Todt, but Mercedes Grand Prix team principal Ross Brawn has alluded to 'a lot of debate' over the matter behind-the-scenes – and Ecclestone is the ringleader.
The Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive has already expressed himself 'anti, anti, anti moving into this small turbo four formula' since 'it's nothing in the world to do with F1' and indeed rather 'should be in saloon car racing'.
Arguing that the noise of the current engines is one of the sport's greatest pulls and revealing that he is under pressure from race promoters and television companies, he fears that 'these changes are going to be terribly costly' as F1 'will lose a big audience and I'm quite sure we'll lose TV' [see separate story – click here
Ecclestone is now understood to be pushing for the F1 Commission to formally propose that the V8s be kept on into 2013, and Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo is believed have come around to the same way of thinking, a development that baffles Todt, who has admitted that 'all the teams voted for the new engine last year...even Ferrari'.
However, whilst the new rules have yet to attract any new manufacturer interest in the top flight – with suggestions that costs are higher than was originally forecast – Cosworth F1 general manager Mark Gallagher contends that 'they've obviously got a different calculation than we do', with estimates that the independent British marque is spending just €30 million on the development of its 2013 powerplant.