The men in charge of two of the smaller Formula One teams have not
dismissed the suggestion that the sport head down the route of a spec engine - a response expected to be at odds with manufacturers involved.
The sport's governing body, the FIA, sprung the revelation that it would be touting for tenders from third party operations to provide a single-spec powerplant on the F1 paddock during the opening day of the Chinese Grand Prix.
"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," an official statement read, paving the way for all teams to be provided with the same engines and powertrain systems - and effectively ridding the top flight of one of its determining factors as a manufacturer and innovation-led series.
For Force India owner Dr Vijay Mallya and Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger, however, the move is one to at least be investigated, given that they have no direct allegiance to any of the major manufacturers. Both are powered by Ferrari engines, but do not get the supply of V8s for free.
"The global economic environment is certainly a cause of major concern," billionaire businessman Mallya pointed out, "In my 25 years as chairman of the UB Group, I've never seen such a position, where there is lack of confidence, where economic growth is being questioned, where there is a liquidity crisis, share prices have fallen off the cliff and trading conditions are certainly very, very difficult.
"In this context, any initiative to reduce the costs of Formula One is most welcome. We have the FIA, the regulator, which writes the rules. We have the Formula One Teams' Association that has recently formed, which I believe is also appreciative of the need to immediately reduce costs, so I think the FOTA and the FIA can talk to find out a solution - but a solution is a must.
"I got to know about this prior to the start of this press conference [but], as I said before, I welcome any initiative to drastically reduce costs. I am aware that FOTA has a meeting next week and if, together with the FIA, a solution can be found to address the subject - and actually make sure it happens and doesn't remain one of those everlasting discussions - then it's good for all of us, good for the sport and certainly good for the independent teams."
Berger appeared fully in accord with his counterpart, especially as he is aware that, come 2010, he could find himself cut adrift from the Red Bull money train and needing to cut costs just to remain in F1.
"As an independent team, I am very happy to see things moving and that, slowly, everybody starts to realise that we are getting into a very, very difficult situation," the Austrian commented, "As we all know how much lead time decisions like this can have, it is very important to react quickly.