If everything goes as planned, Formula One teams will have the option of using a standard low-cost (relatively) engine and transmission package in 2010 by Cosworth and two UK-based transmission specialists, Xtrac and Ricardo. The cost of buying this Cosworth engine and transmission combo is apparently going to be priced at less than half the cost of buying a 2008 Ferrari customer engine.
“We have completed the tendering process and are now in exclusive negotiations with Cosworth, together with Xtrac and Ricardo, to supply a complete Formula One powertrain starting in 2010. The engine will be a current Formula One engine [specification] while the transmission will be state-of-the-art and a joint effort by two companies that already supply most of the grid. The cost to each team taking up this option will be an up-front payment of $2.45 million, and then $8 million per season for each of the three years of the supply contract. This price is based on four teams signing up and includes full technical support at all races and official tests, plus 18,600 miles of testing. The annual cost will fall if more teams take up the option, for example to $7.29 million per team with eight teams participating. The cost will be less if less than 18,600 miles of testing is required. Neither the engine nor the transmission will be badged,” wrote FIA president Max Mosley to all Formula One teams (read the full letter after the jump).
Looks like the cars will be as ugly as hell on the outside and monotonous on the inside. Things may go back to normal in 2013, at least in the engine department.
The Cosworth contract is for 2010 to 2012. The plan is that beginning 2010, if a team does not want to use this engine it will have to build an identical engine themselves or use their existing 2.4 litre V8 engines detuned to match the Cosworth engine. But the only choice will be in the engine department, all transmissions will have to be the standard Xtrac/Ricardo transmission.
Needless to say, the manufacturer-backed teams are not very happy with this. It severely limits the areas where a manufacturer can be innovative and this may limit the progress of such innovations making their way into road cars. But nevertheless, F1’s idea is to help the less well-to-do teams survive the current bad economy.