Following Max Mosley's claim that he would use "draconian measures" to reduce costs in F1, should the teams fail to come up with their own suitable solution, Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that plans are being drawn up to introduce a standard engine as early as 2010.
The engine manufacturers would each build their own engines, but these would be to a standard design, a move aimed at cutting overall engine development costs by as much as 90 per cent. Consequently, the only difference between the Ferrari, Renault, BMW, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota power-plants would be the badge.
At present there is an engine freeze, whereby development is strictly limited and engines must last for two races. Under the new proposals the engines would last for up to half a season.
"The thing I am most excited about is pushing and pushing and pushing the homologated engine idea," Ecclestone told The Times. "The new engine will be equalised and there will only be two engine changes a year, so costs are going to dramatically come down, and I mean dramatically."
While purists will shudder at such a thought, it is likely that the engine manufacturers, who have previously used the technological challenge of F1 as a selling point, certainly as far as shareholders, the boardroom and in the car showrooms are concerned, the global financial crisis and the ever increasing cost of competing at the highest level are likely to lead to a change of heart. Money talks louder than passion and sentimentality in F1, always has, always will.
On Tuesday, Mosley warned that unless costs are reduced, grids could be reduced to 14 cars, however, there are many who feel that the ultimate scenario could be even worse, as manufacturers, already feeling the financial heat, find it ever more difficult to justify the many millions spent in pursuit of a couple of championship points and the occasional visit to the podium.
On the other hand, while Ecclestone applauds the move to cut teams' expenditure, the price of hosting a round of the World Championship increases by as much as 10 per cent a year, as organizers of the Canadian Grand Prix, and race fans in North America, found to their cost yesterday.