€5m engines not a 'cap' for big teams

Despite team bosses agreeing on the issue of 5 million euro engines, it is believed they do not wish to enforce that figure as a maximum cap for customer engine deals.

The FIA clarified recently that an alternative to introducing standard engines in 2010 would be for the manufacturers to "jointly guarantee to supply powertrains to the independent teams for less than 5m per season".

FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo said this week that the F1 teams' alliance has "unanimously decided that by 2011 an engine will cost 5 million (euros)".

But in an interview with the French newspaper Liberation, Renault team boss Flavio Briatore said: "FOTA's intention is to say 'let us make our engines according to the specifications of the FIA, and we open the door to an independent manufacturer to make an engine and market it to the small teams.

"It is the cost of the engine to this manufacturer that will be the reference, with the goal being to arrive at a budget that does not exceed 5 million euros per year."

The difference between Briatore's proposition and the FIA's is that Briatore's would allow the manufacturers to continue to spend what they like on their own engine development programmes.

Additionally, it would allow them to market their customer engines to smaller teams at their own price.