FIA President Jean Todt says he is optimistic engine manufacturers have come up with an acceptable proposal that would likely see the idea of a 'customer engine' scrapped.
In the wake of Ferrari vetoing cost cap measures in October 2015, the FIA initiated a new proposal that would see an independently-developed engine being made available to teams at a lower price than the reported 16-20 million euros being charged to customer teams by Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda.
Though the proposal went as far as a tendering process, the plan was put on hold in November when manufacturers agreed to co-operate on an alternative plan to primarily reduce costs and improve the spectacle.
With the deadline for that proposal passing today [15th January], manufacturers have reportedly reached an agreement that would see the costs reduced, with sources quoting a reduction to around 12 million euros. Should this be the case, it would potentially satisfy Todt, whose predominant motivation behind the customer engine was to help control costs.
Though he says he cannot comment on the outcome until he has seen the proposal, Todt is hopeful that 'sense' will ultimately prevail.
“I think we are very close [to a solution],” he said. “Honestly, it would be inappropriate to answer this question before I have seen what comes out. I'm optimistic. I hope that people have some good sense because it's our championship. It's their interests - it's the interests of the teams and it's the interests of the commercial rights holder. That's why I think in a normal world with sensible people we should all be able to agree on the good solutions.”
Todt will head to Geneva next week to meet with the manufacturers before going through the official channels with the F1 Commission.
“They are going to make some proposals by tonight. I have proposals on most of the items which I feel are going in the right direction and on Monday afternoon at 3pm we have a Strategy Meeting in Geneva and the day after we have the F1 Commission in Geneva, so that's where we are.”
Though Todt will likely be satisfied with the outcome of the proposal should costs be slashed, it does still face opposition from Bernie Ecclestone, whose motivation behind the customer engine was aimed at improving the spectacle and reasserting more control over the engine manufacturers.