Just as some members of the paddock were reconciling themselves to the fact that the FIA was hell-bent on introducing 'standard spec' engines to Formula One, motor racing's international governing body pulled back from the brink.

McLaren Instead of pursuing this route, the FIA and the teams concluded an elegant compromise that could be seen as a partial victory for both sides.

The teams will be able to continue using the current-generation 2.4-litre V8 engines - albeit significantly detuned - while FIA president Max Mosley's calls for cost reduction from next season have been accommodated.

The manufacturers have also each agreed to supply up to two independent teams from 2010 at no more than 5m euros per team.

The deal is calculated to retain the interest of major car manufacturers Renault, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Toyota only a week after the escalating costs of the sport caused Honda to withdraw.

For 2009 the V8s will have their maximum speed cut back to 18,000 rpm rather than the current limit of 19,000rpm. In addition the engines will have to last four races, rather than the present limit of two, and virtually all testing will be banned during the course of the racing season.

Looking further into the future, the FIA and the teams will draw up plans for totally new F1 regulations from 2013, probably based around small capacity turbocharged engines in cars fitted with KERS energy regeneration systems and other developments to enhance the sport's relevance to the wider automotive industry.