The FIA has revealed Ferrari exercised its veto to introduce a cost cap on Formula 1 power units and gearboxes, thus forcing it to instead initiate plans to develop a standard customer engine.
With Bernie Ecclestone revealing that plans are afoot to force through a cost-saving alternative for smaller teams, the FIA has now officially confirmed this to the case, but goes further in explaining the process that has led to this point.
The FIA has exhaustively attempted to introduce cost saving measures over the years - most notably the much discussed cost cap for various components - but opposition from manufacturer teams has repeatedly prevented it from progressing.
However, with the latest attempt to introduce a maximum price for gearbox and engine being vetoed by Ferrari having otherwise received majority support from other teams, FOM and FIA have come together to attempt an alternative measure in the form of a standard customer engine developed specifically to be offered at half of the price of today's V6 Hybrid power units.
Describing it as 'efforts to ensure the sustained long-term development of the championship', the call to tender also encourages teams to put forward their own suggestions for the ultimate aim of cutting costs.
“The FIA has studied cost reduction measures for teams participating in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship which were not conclusive, including:
- a global cost ceiling
- a reduction in costs via technical and sporting regulations
- an increased standardisation for parts
“The FIA, in agreement with FOM, suggested the principle of setting a maximum price for engine and gear box for client teams at the last Strategy Group meeting.
“These measures were put to the vote and adopted with a large majority.
“However, Ferrari SpA decided to go against this and exercise the right of veto long recognised under agreements governing F1.
“In the interest of the Championship, the FIA has decided not to legally challenge Ferrari SpA's use of its right of veto.
“Therefore the FIA will initiate a consultation with all stakeholders regarding the possible introduction of a client engine, which will be available as of 2017. Following this consultation a call for tenders for this client engine, the cost of which would be much lower than the current power unit, could be undertaken.
“Supported by FOM, the FIA will continue in its efforts to ensure the sustained long-term development of the Championship and look for solutions enabling it to achieve this. It asks all of the teams to make a positive contribution to the success of this approach through proposals and initiatives in the interest of the Championship and its continuation over the long term.”
Seen by many as primarily a message to teams to come up with a cost saving plan or face an alternative package that the FIA and FOM can control the competitiveness of, the tender process – which is considered to be encouraging Cosworth to return – remains only the first step towards the proposal's fruition.