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FIA pushes on with standard engine plan

The FIA is pressing ahead with its plans for a standard engine in Formula One, after revealing on Monday that several parties have expressed an interest in applying for the tender.

In a bid to make much-needed cost cuts in F1, motor racing's governing body announced over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend that it wanted to introduce a standard engine in F1 from 2010 to 2012.

Such a move could prompt manufacturers to walk away from the sport, although F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone did question why they should do so when the move to a standard engine would save the car makers money.

Although the subject of a standard engine had appeared to move off the radar following last week's crunch meeting between FIA president Max Mosley and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) to discuss costs cuts, a statement issued on Monday suggested the plans are still being pushed ahead at full speed.

The statement on Monday said that 'interested parties' had asked for clarifications from the FIA about several issues relating to the tender. These included the use of technologies in the engines, freight costs and the situation regarding engine changes.

The FIA also made it clear that it would ensure that manufacturers that chose to make their own standard engine would not be allowed to gain any significant performance benefit from doing so.

In response to the question about compatibility issues caused by teams sourcing engine parts themselves, the FIA said: "The FIA intends to ensure that all engines including those supplied by the tenderer are within 1% (engine power of other units) and that they remain within 1% throughout the engine's life. This being the case, it becomes irrelevant that a team which chooses to build the engine itself might do expensive work on the engine."

The FIA has also amended the deadlines for companies to submit their tender applications for both a standard engine and standard power transmission systems.

The November 7 deadline for submitting either just an engine supply deal or an engine and transmission deal together remains as originally set out.

However, should the FIA decide to award separate contracts for engine and transmission, then the tender for transmission only will be opened up once the power unit deal has been finalized. This tender process will last for a minimum of three weeks.

It is not clear which companies have expressed an interest in applying for the tender contract, but senior sources within FOTA claim an agreement is in place for none of the manufacturers currently involved in F1 to apply for the deal.

The FOTA source told "None of the FOTA members will apply. This has been confirmed by all the members."

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