Following Honda's recent withdrawal from Formula 1 due to cost concerns, the FIA has announced that Cosworth has won the tender to supply a control engine for the F1 series beginning 2010. The 2.4L V8 engine and drive-train package, the gearbox for which is still unknown, should help teams keep costs down and level the playing field at the same time.
Teams can choose to run a de-tuned version of their current engine in lieu of the unbadged Cosworth mill, but given the expected low cost of the Cosworth setup it's unsure how many teams will choose not to adopt the drive-train package.Compared to what most teams pour into research and development of an F1 engine, the 1.97 million Euro up-front payment and 6.42 million Euros required for each season of racing during the three-year contract looks like a veritable bargain.
Certainly, measures to cap the stratospheric and escalating costs of participating in F1 are overdue. But will this just take the sizzle out of F1, and have the fans turning off? How much 'de-tuned' will the current engines be to bring them back to level-pegging with the Cosworth control engine? It may make the competition more even, but fans may not warm to 'nobbled' engines in half the field competing against control engines in the other.
Perhaps Bernie is losing his grip. This announcement looks like a desperate measure for a series in deep trouble.