Formula One will introduce a string of cost-cutting measures over the next two seasons, but its governing body, the FIA, has back-tracked on its radical proposal to force teams to use standard engines.
The plans, discussed with the Formula One Teams Association and announced at today’s FIA World Council Meeting, are a response to the recent decision by Honda to sell of or close its F1 operation.
For 2009, teams will extend the life and use of their engines, introduce a lower rev limit (18,000 instead of the current 19,000), cut back on wind tunnel work and, significantly, comply with a total testing ban during the season.
The FIA anticipates that its 2009 measures will cut the larger teams’ budgets by up to 30 per cent, with smaller independent operations saving even more.
For 2010, meanwhile, manufacturers will supply engines to independent teams for a smaller set fee (less than five million euros per team, per season), and all teams will use the same transmission.
A ban on bespoke radio and telemetry systems, tyre warmers and refueling will also be introduced; these measures are designed to encourage savings both in technology and manpower.
The measures do not prevent teams from continuing work on their Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), due to optional introduction in 2009.
Some F1 observers have already queried the amounts of budget required to develop the complex technology.
However, next year’s in-season testing ban may encourage some teams to ditch KERS, on the basis that mid-season refinement would be much more difficult without adequate test mileage.