In a step further from the raft of cost-cutting ideas FIA President Max Mosley is set to present to Formula 1 teams next week [see separate story – click here
], the sport's governing body has now announced that it has opened the tender process for a single engine supplier as of 2010.
The move – if it goes ahead – will see all teams provided with the same engines and power transmission systems, thereby destroying the very raison d'être
of many car manufacturers currently competing in the top flight.
The statement read:
'The FIA will today open the tender process for the appointment of a third party supplier of engines and transmission systems to be used by competitors in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship.
'The tender summary and requirements will be published on the FIA website shortly.'
The intention of running the series with a standard engine has been revealed ahead of Mosley's scheduled reunion with team bosses in the guise of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in Geneva next week, and is the first solid move in support of the president's argument that F1 is 'unsustainable' should expenditure continue to rise in the current economic climate.
“The FIA intends to amend the regulations to require all Formula One competitors to use a standardised engine,” a spokesman is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
“The provider will set out a detailed design for a standardised engine, and either supply it in full working order or [supply] the detailed design in order to enable competitors to build their own standardised engine.
“Where they want to build all or part of a standardised engine, the appointed provider will assist the FIA to ensure that all engines and parts have been built in accordance with the approved providers' designs and allow a performance output within a prescribed range.”
Similarly on the agenda for the Geneva meeting, however, is a different option whereby the manufacturers involved in the top flight would supply independent outfits with a complete power train (engine and gearbox) package for under €5 million per season.
The last independent engine manufacturer to compete in F1 was Ford-owned Cosworth, which exited the sport at the end of its 2006 campaign with Williams. It is also claimed that the tender could be of interest to Renault-affiliated French company Mecachrome – which has been involved in the uppermost echelon on-and-off since 1983 – and the Mario Ilien co-founded Ilmor Engineering, once part of Mercedes-Benz.
adds that 'the statement may be seen within the paddock as part of a familiar carrot-and-stick measure put forward by the FIA to persuade the teams to swallow a more palatable alternative'.