• Dec 5th 2008 at 4:33PM
  • 51
Honda's departure from Formula One came down to a singular factor: cost. The amount of cash required to campaign a team (or two) in the top tier of open-wheel motorsports has been on an upwards trajectory for as long as we can remember, and combined with the current economic downturn, it was just a matter of time before a manufacturer questioned whether or not it was worth the expense. That's a tough pill for enthusiasts to swallow considering all the knowledge gleaned from F1 -- not to mention WRC.

However, in an attempt to get costs in check, the FIA announced earlier this year that it would pursue a tender to supply an engine and transmission package to teams for the 2010 season and beyond. F1's governing body announced today that Cosworth has been tapped to provide the new "low-cost" drivetrain, that requires an up-front payment of 1.97 million Euros and then an additional 6.42 million Euros each season during the three-year contract. While 20+ million Euros might not seem like a bargain, it's a pittance compared to what automakers invest developing their own engine. If they opt out of the unbadged Cosworth engine, teams can use their own de-tuned version of the current 2.4-liter V8. Transmission choices are still up in the air, as Cosworth negotiates with Xtrac and Ricardo.

For all the details, you can read Bernie Eccelstone's letter to the teams after the jump.


The announcement of Honda's intended withdrawal from Formula One has confirmed the FIA's longstanding concern that the cost of competing in the World Championship is unsustainable.

In the FIA's view, the global economic downturn has only exacerbated an already critical situation.

As the guardians of the sport, the FIA is committed to working with the commercial rights holder and the remaining members of FOTA to ensure that Formula One becomes financially sustainable.

The FIA President has today sent the attached letter to all of the Formula One teams:

Further to my letter of 18 November, we have completed the tendering process and are now in exclusive negotiations with Cosworth together with Xtrac and Ricardo Transmissions to supply a complete Formula One power train starting in 2010.

The engine will be a current Formula One engine while the transmission will be state of the art Formula One and a joint effort by two companies which already supply transmissions to most of the grid.

The cost to each team taking up this option will be an up front payment of €1.97 million Euros and then €6.42 million Euros 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 30,000 km of testing.

The annual cost will reduce if more teams take up the option, for example to €5.84 million Euro per team with eight teams. It will further reduce if less than 30,000 km of testing is required. Neither engine nor transmission will be badged.

As suggested in my letter of 18 November, teams participating in the 2010 Championship would then have three options:
  • The above.
  • The right to build an engine themselves, identical to the above, having been supplied with all the necessary technical information.
  • The right to continue to use their existing engine, with the current ban on development and requirement for engine parity still in place.
Teams opting for one of the latter two options would nevertheless use the XR transmission.

In combination with the programme of cost reductions for the chassis, race weekend and team home base outlined in my letter of 18 November, these arrangements have a number of advantages. These include:
  • Enabling the independent teams to survive in the current difficult economic climate.
  • Facilitating the replacement of a manufacturer team if we suffer additional losses.
  • Stabilising Formula One while new road relevant technologies are introduced together with a state of the art high tech engine, which could be in Formula One as early as 2013 should the car industry by then be in a position to fund its development.
  • Avoiding any change to the Formula One spectacle and keeping the technology at current levels.
These arrangements are on the basis that at least four teams enter into contracts to use the power train described above, and do so no later than close of business on Thursday 11 December 2008.

In the event of fewer than four teams signing up, the FIA may still proceed but the price on offer will vary. The supply contracts will be with Cosworth but in the first instance teams are requested to make their intentions known to my office.

Yours sincerely,

Max Mosley

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      WACK Yo!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love Cosworth, always have. But F1 is going down the tubes and has been for a long time. As a fan this is bad news.
      • 6 Years Ago
      F1 should go back to simpler, slower turning v8, v10, v12, or more cylinder engines, burning alkohol with a limit of 4.0 liter displacment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        How about cutting cost by eliminating all the wings, and focus on the engine, chassis, and suspensions?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The amount of cash required to campaign a team (or two) in the top tier of open-wheel motorsports has been on an upwards trajectory for as long as we can remember, and combined with the current economic downturn, it was just a matter of time before a manufacturer questioned whether or not it was worth the expense.

      Longest sentence ver on auto blog?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda didn't leave because F1 is expensive.

      Honda left because Bernie and Max are retarded, and being in a Formula that CHANGES ITS RULES EVERY YEAR for nothing, IS EXPENSIVE!

      So, the plan is to keep on being retarded, disappoint all the fans, de-characterize the sport, offend the manufacturers and create a lame show.

      Reducing costs in F1 is just a lie: every team will spend every last cent they have access to. If not in testing, in simulations. If not in engines, in aerodynamics... Etc..
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm just going to go cry, drink a beer, and figure that I'll have a little extra time on Sundays in 2010.

      F1, the uber auto tech and engineering spectacle that you are and could still be, you will be missed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Expect BMW, MB and Renault to follow also.

      In the 70's Cosworth was basically the default engine, but F1 in those days was dominated by chassis constructors and sponsored by tobacco, alcohol and oil companies. Today its sponsored by auto manufacturers.

      Guess it won't matter that North America, France and maybe Germany will be with out F1 races.
      • 6 Years Ago
      F1 should have always been driver skill and best car... but with that said, there SHOULD be a ban if not regulations to driver aid.

      but this... this spec racing... it does not do well with me at all. good thing lewis won the championship before this debacle.

      good bye F1, guess im going to have to watch some real racing with banging and passing.. a la WTCC/BTCC somehow... god i hope they have torrents for that series because god knows the US sucks at covering that stuff.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There are no driver aids aka TC or ABS. Nothing along those lines
      • 6 Years Ago
      Fernando Alonso has said he would consider leaving F1 should it adopt the standard engine.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think he more so said he would retire. 2 titles is a pretty good run...hah. Maybe 3? One more year of real F1
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's he point of having Ferrari, Mercedes, Renualt on the car if it doesn't use that companies engine. What it becomes is IRL. Boring stuff. I will not watch as the greatest automotive competition series in the world becomes the Euro version of IRL.

      Run by two old men, one a sickf^
      • 6 Years Ago
      F1 is all about the all out race to build the fastest and most expensive cars but this isn't going to help. I hope no other teams drop out after this and the financial situation.
      • 6 Years Ago
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