The cost of the new Formula One engines has caused seismic upheavals in the customer team budgets, particularly the midfield teams downwards.
Caterham and Marussia went to the wall in 2014 following the massive price hike of the new V6 Turbo hybrid power units which are reported to cost in the region of 20m euros per season.
The fact that FIA did not regulate the fees that would be charged to customer teams prior to the engine manufacturers embarking on their new designs, was an oversight of negligent proprtions.
Jean Todt now admits this oversight: “I take the responsibility of probably not having secured a maximum cost to the customers.
“It’s something we are going to address; it’s better late than never.”
Tell that to the ex-Caterham employees.
The problem for Todt is that F1 engine deals are not up for annual renewal, and Mercedes at present presumably have a waiting list for new customers, should Force India, Lotus or Williams look elsewhere for a power unit.
Matters are further complicated since the FIA sold its right to be the sole regulator of Formula One and created the F1 strategy group.
At present no change is possible for 2016, because unanimous voting wold be required and Mercedes would definitely oppose their engine fees being cut.
A majority decision could make some kind of change for 2017, but the engine manufacturers from 2014 are likely to argue they are entitled to recover the $5-750m they spent on R&D for Formula One.
Add this to the ongoing cost of manufacturing and maintaining the power unit, and there are sound financial arguments to keep the price static for a number of years to come.
But Jean Todt has a plan to overcome these obstacles and reduce the price customers are paying for F1 engines.
“We are going to discuss it,” but added, “I am a realist, so I want to make sure that what we do can be done.
“I need good advisors so that we can go through with the challenge.”
This potential intervention from the FIA isn’t going to drive Bob Fernley and Monisha Kaltenborn to begin cracking the champagne just yet.
In the meantime Ford has declared they will enter the WEC series in 2016, whilst Honda is desperately trying to get to grips with their F1 power unit. Testing restrictions in Formula One mean the engine manufacturers, particularly Renault and Honda, are desperately fighting an uphill battle for parity with Mercedes and Ferrari – and doing so with both hands tied behind their backs.