Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the FIA may be willing to change its stance in terms of the new engine formula for 2013, allowing teams to continue with their current units for a further year.
Ecclestone has long been a critic of the new formula, in terms of the lack of noise the new powerplants will produce, costs and even if F1 really needs to lead the way in terms of environmental issues in motorsport.
Originally, only Ferrari backed the F1 supremo's stance but in recent months the engine manufacturers have begun to query the move especially in terms of costs.
"What he is talking now is about letting the V8s run for a year more or something," Ecclestone told Reuters in Barcelona this morning, following a meeting with team bosses and FIA president Jean Todt. "But I mean, equivalency formulas never work, do they?"
In recent times it has appeared that Todt and Ecclestone were shaping up for war, with both taking pot-shots at the other. However, when asked if the Frenchman's willingness to allow teams to continue with the old engine formula constitutes a softening of attitude, Ecclestone said: "We'll have to see now. I don't know. I hope, I hope, I hope. I think he's beginning to understand that the manufacturers all realise its going to cost them a lot of money and they can't hand that on to their customers because the engines are going to be too expensive.
"Contrary to what people believe, I have no problem with Jean," the F1 supremo continued. "I have been friends with him for many, many years. I think the whole idea of this engine is the wrong way to go. I haven't changed and I told him yesterday I have not changed my opinion.
"People come to Formula One, they've got the noise and the whole atmosphere of Formula One and if that disappears they think they won't get so many spectators and the public will go down."
Asked if he truly believes that the noise is one of F1's main selling points, Ecclestone was in no doubt. "Absolutely. that's what it's all about," he said. "You don't see people staying here for the GP3 or even GP2, they leave. But they are here for the noise in Formula One, that's what they want."
While Todt believes the sport should be seen to be more environmentally aware, Ecclestone remains sceptical. "Jean is still believing that he says we should be giving a message," he said. "I don't know what the message is because there is more fuel used in the Tour de France than there is in Formula One. In my opinion it's all a bit of window dressing for the wrong reasons."
If approval is given and teams are allowed to run their current powerplants alongside the new 1.6 litre turbo units, as is being suggested, it would be the first time the sport has run two different engine formulae since 2006 when Toro Rosso contested the championship at a time when its rivals were running the new V8s.