Guest Author - Christine Blachford
With Honda's sudden announcement that they are leaving Formula 1 with immediate effect, FIA president Max Mosley has taken the opportunity to announce some more details regarding the proposed standard engines scheme.
We already knew that the FIA had opened the tender for engine manufacturer's to bid their services to create the standard design, and it has now been revealed that Cosworth won the tender. The FIA will work exclusively with Cosworth on the engines that are to be brought in for the 2010 season.
We also know more about how the regulations will work. Initially there was concern that given the choice of creating an engine from standard blueprints or simply buying one from the supplier, most teams would opt not to do so. I couldn't see a reason why Ferrari would want to use a Cosworth engine, for example. However, Mosley has clarified parts of this for us.
Now, it seems that those two choices still exist - build an engine that meets the designs, or buy one - but there is a third option. Teams can continue to build their own engine, presumably meeting some quite strict limitations. I can honestly say I haven't got this new regulation clear in my head completely yet, but it seems as though relaxing the rules slightly is the right thing to.
Mosley has timed the announcement perfectly, using Honda's withdrawal as a great example that Formula 1 needs to really start cutting costs as soon as possible. This new tweak to the regulation means that budgets will be smaller, and independent teams will be able to afford to race, but it also means the manufacturer's are not alienated. A lot of F1 purists don't approve of the way the manufacturer's have taken over the sport, but they have been holding it together recently, and now it may be that we see the independent teams on the way back up.
The one thing this new rule doesn't account for, is teams that already have engine partners. Williams and Toyota, for instance, will presumably no longer do business with each other, as they will be buying a Cosworth engine instead. There are still many questions to be asked before the 2010 season, but at least there's plenty of time for more clarification.