Formula 1 will introduce a cheaper, more powerful engine produced by an independent manufacturer in 2017 according to Bernie Ecclestone, following discussions with the FIA this weekend.
Currently engine supply deals cost around £15 million per season – more than double what the previous V8 formula cost – which has financially crippled some outfits.
Ecclestone believes an independent engine would help to alleviate some of the financial problems, but the move is likely motivated by Red Bull’s ongoing struggle to source an engine supply.
Whilst details about the engine haven’t been finalised, the 84-year-old said it will “have more power [and] probably use more fuel,” leading some to believe it will be a 2.2-litre twin-turbo V6 similar to that used in IndyCar, but with a simple KERS device fitted, rather than the complex ERS system currently in use.
“The FIA will put out a press release on Monday or Tuesday,” Ecclestone told Autosport.
When asked if he hoped the move would force rivals to lower the price of their engines, he replied: “Not really, its very simple. If we don’t [act], we’ll probably lose a few teams.
“It’s nothing to do with us what people charge. We have no control, and don’t want it.
“They can charge what they like. What is being introduced will be an awful lot cheaper than what it currently costs.”
It’s believed several manufacturers outside of the sport are interested in bidding for the tender, including both Cosworth and Ilmor Engineering.
The move is likely to face strong opposition from Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda due to their huge investments in the current engine formula, but with the FIA supporting Ecclestone’s plans, there may be very little they can do.
However Ecclestone doesn’t believe it will be a problem as they can choose to continue running the 1.6-litre turbo V6 unit alongside the cheaper version, as has happened in the past.
“We used to have people running turbo engines and people running normally-aspirated,” he added. “That wasn’t a two-tier system. It was a choice.
“Whatever it is, I anticipate they will continue running their engine and the others the other engine.”