AUSTIN, Texas, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Formula One plans to give teams an independent engine supply option from 2017 with a tender for the contract set to go out next week, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Saturday.
The Briton told reporters at the U.S. Grand Prix that the move would keep struggling teams in the sport by giving them a simpler and cheaper alternative to the costly and complex ones provided by the main manufacturers.
“The (governing) FIA (International Automobile Federation) will put out a press release on Monday or Tuesday,” said Ecclestone.
“They (the engines) will probably have more power and use more fuel. It means I suppose that there would be regulation changes, which have already been anticipated for 2017 so there’s nothing new.”
The sport switched from V8 engines to a complex V6 turbo hybrid power unit last year. The alternative is likely to be a 2.2 litre V6 twin turbo similar to those used in the U.S. Indy Car series.
In the V8 era, Cosworth provided an alternative to the manufacturers but they could not afford the huge costs of developing the new power unit and withdrew.
Ecclestone indicated Cosworth would be interested in returning with a less complicated option but others were also in the frame.
The 84-year-old said the introduction of a different engine would not turn the championship into a two-tier series and pointed out that decades ago teams had a choice of using turbo engines or normally-aspirated ones.
Any rules change would have to be approved by the FIA’s Formula One commission and World Motor Sports Council but for 2017 it could be passed by a majority rather than requiring unanimity.
Ecclestone said the FIA and president Jean Todt were on board, and Ferrari’s long-standing right to veto technical changes could be overcome.
“It depends what the veto rights are. Bit complicated actually,” he said.
“If by chance the FIA and commercial rights holders agree, it doesn’t make a lot of difference what other people vote. It’s called democracy,” added the Briton.
“His (Todt‘s) responsibility to us is that he’s got to run a first class championship basically. He can see what we’ve got isn‘t. So he’s going to do whatever is necessary and make sure it is.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)