Luca di Montezemolo, the president of Ferrari, says he feels that the manufacturers would have walked away from Formula One if the FIA had decided that everyone in the sport would be forced to use a standard engine.
Max Mosley's idea that everyone should use the same engine led to suggestions that some teams could quit the sport, with Ferrari having warned in the past that it would evaluate its options if the plan was forced through.
However, di Montezemelo insisted that a standard engine for all teams would have brought an end to F1 as it currently exists.
"[The standard engine] was an occasion to leave F1," he said. "If the standard engine had passed, at least four or five teams would have abandoned Formula 1. And I mean four or five besides Ferrari. That is all of them."
While the FIA is keen to continue with the spec-engine, teams would have the option of building their own engines as long as performance was equalised to the standard Cosworth engine which could be a favoured option for privateer teams like Force India and Williams.
A raft of other proposals to cut costs were announced following the recent meeting between the FIA and FOTA, and di Montezemolo said he was encouraged by the steps being taken.
"The FIA did well and also Max Mosley did a good job to talk about the problem of cost cutting," he said. "But he was thinking about 2010, that's in the future.
"The effects of the actual crisis will be felt in 2009. Last July we had the first meeting of all the teams here in Maranello, founding the FOTA. There was a great atmosphere of unity. We were able to reach a 50 per cent cost cut on engines as of the next year. According to our plan from 2012 a cost cut of 50 per cent will affect the whole budget.
"Since our first meeting here in Maranello we've done some major steps ahead. As of 2009 we'll save 50 per cent as far as the engines are concerned and as of 2012 we'll save 50 per cent of the whole budget."