For 2017, the FIA opens a tender for an independent supplier of 2.2 litre, twin-turbo V6 engines, which will be an affordable EUR 6 million and fully competitive with Mercedes.
Friday the FIA issued a document inviting for potential manufacturers to apply for more details and they must register a formal expression of interest by Monday November 23.
“The FIA has decided to launch a consultation among the engine manufacturers in order to potentially identify for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons of the aforementioned Championship an exclusive alternative engine manufacturer which will be solely entitled to supply this alternative engine to the competitors entered for said seasons of the Championship.
“The FIA is now calling for expressions of interest to identify candidates interested in becoming the exclusive supplier of the alternative engine to the competitors,” noted the statement.
Previous response to – Ecclestone’s earlier plan to simply resurrect the old screaming V8s.
“It (V8) was quite simple technology compared to what we have now, so the costs were significantly lower,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said in Austin.
“But the machinery (the power units) that we have now, they are incredible bits of equipment. I think what we need to do is rather than look backwards, look forwards as to what should the engine develop to be for the future.
“I think there are elements of what we have that are strong at the moment but I think it can be improved and I would certainly love to see the volume go back up and certainly the cost of development come down,” he added.
The ‘parallel engine’ solution would also potentially solve Red Bull’s engine supply crisis, brought on by Mercedes and Ferrari in having blankly refused to sell them a ‘power unit’.
The new ‘2.2 litre’ plan will, predictably, be opposed by the current manufacturers, but Horner hinted that the threat of a European Commission investigation could lead to a compromise.
Force India and Sauber are already complaining about ‘anti-competitive’ strategy groups and income distribution, so “does that mean that we could say that teams unwilling to supply engines are anti-competitive?” Horner said.
“So everything could therefore end up in the Commission.”
Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA is preparing to launch the tender as early as next week, with Cosworth and Ilmor tipped to launch application bids.