Formula One Teams' Association chairman Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that those most intimately involved in the sport have agreed to a package of cost-cutting measures in an attempt to avoid being saddled with a single-spec engine in future seasons.
Speaking to the media at Ferrari's end-of-season celebration event at Mugello, the Scuderia president announced that the ten F1 teams had agreed - unanimously - to cut the amounts being spent on engine development by around £12m over the next three seasons, bringing the cost of down to 'just' £4m.
The move, a product of recent FOTA meetings which could be complemented by further cost-cutting measures in the coming years, is expected to go hand-in-hand with plans to make each engine have to last for three races, as opposed to the current two-race maximum.
"As with the idea of three grands prix per engine, we have made ourselves reduce the cost from €20m [$25.5m] to €10m [$6.4m] per engine," Montezemolo explained, "We are working with all the teams to further reduce costs for 2010 and 2011. Unanimously, we have decided that, by 2011, an engine will cost €5m."
The proposal to move to a spec engine was announced by FIA president Max Mosley on the eve of the Chinese Grand Prix, raising hackles within the paddock. Although many saw the revelation as little more than 'sabre-rattling', designed to spur the teams and manufacturers into action of their own, an official tender was issued by the governing body which, it is reported, has already prompted response from 'interested parties'.
The announcement also provoked Ferrari to issue a threat to quit Formula One not heard since the 1980s, and Montezemolo admitted that he suspected that the other major marques used to providing engines in the top flight may take a similar view should the motion be passed.
"It is unthinkable that constructors like Ferrari, Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, Renault and BMW could accept putting their badge on a car with an engine made by someone else," the Italian said, "The purpose of F1 is that investments in innovation, research and development reverberate in industrial production."
The recent meeting between Montezemolo and Toyota's John Howett - on behalf of FOTA - and representatives of the FIA was also due to cover the supply of 'customer' powertrains and the possibility of using common chassis parts, including standard suspension, wheels and other expensive parts which 'add nothing to the spectacle or the public interest of Formula One', although the president did not reveal details of any plans for these.
Mosley, meanwhile, has called for the soon-to-be-introduced KERS systems to left free for development by each individual team, despite the fact that they are currently adding to the cost of development for all ten, believing them to be a future source of differentiation in competition.