Bernie Ecclestone has backed FIA President Max Mosley's motion for a standardised engine and transmission system to be used in Formula 1 as of 2010, by suggesting that such a move will not only save teams money, but just as importantly lead to a more level playing field in the top flight.
The governing body's proposal [see separate story – click here
] has been met with a good degree of scepticism, with some suggesting it destroys the very raison d'être
of F1 for its major car companies, with Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Honda and Renault all currently involved in the sport.
F1's commercial rights-holder Ecclestone, however – a man who has repeatedly championed the idea of a single engine supplier in recent weeks – insists the new regulations will encourage rather than discourage manufacturers to remain on the grand prix grid.
“It's what everybody expected,” the 77-year-old told The Press Association
, “that they (the FIA) would announce they're trying to get a homologated engine. We're just trying to get a level playing field to be honest with you.
“I don't see why they (the manufacturers) should leave – we're saving them an awful lot of money, I hope. All the technical things will still be there, and they can still show all of their talent.
“I say we reduce the necessity to spend to be competitive. It's as simple as that.”
The initiative has come as part of a raft of measures due to be tabled by Mosley in a meeting with the Formula One Teams' Association in Geneva next week. The FIA added that manufacturers will still be able to build their own engines should they wish when the standard power unit is introduced in time for the start of the 2010 campaign.
Meanwhile, Ecclestone has also revealed that the recently and controversially deposed Canadian Grand Prix could re-appear on the F1 calendar in the future – provided the financial dispute between race promoter Grand Prix du Canada and his Formula One Management company is resolved first.
“We tried our best, but they have not kept up their obligations for the past three years,” he told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
. “Until this point they have paid only 50 per cent of the money they owe us. I wouldn't say that Canada has no chance to return, but first they have to pay.”
The Briton added that France – which similarly lost its 2009 event this week – 'had one more race than we were expecting', whilst underlining that 'we don't have to worry' as 'there are four of five new people who are just waiting to get a grand prix'.