Critics of Formula One have long complained that the series is too expensive and lacks real competition. Rule changes, including a ten-year engine development freeze, to help combat those tendencies of the world's premier road racing league have helped, but now the FIA is taking radical steps to help cut costs and improve the level of rivalry between teams. After imposing a standard drivetrain for the 2010-2012 period late last week, the organizing body of F1 has finally picked a company to supply a low-cost engine and transmission package in 2010 and beyond.

The teams of manufacturers that currently populate the series are strongly opposed to a standard, one-maker drivetrain, since it eliminates a huge part of the branding and engineering side of the sport, not to mention that it undercuts, collectively, billions of dollars of investment and thousands of hours spent designing and manufacturing the engines for the past season.

However, teams not wanting to use the standard engine have "the right to build an engine themselves", or a detuned version of their current 2.4L V8s, but must use a standard transmission supplied by Ricardo Transmissions.

Max Mosley defended the action, saying it's in the best interest of the teams and the sport, reports Bloomberg. "Even before current global financial problems, teams were spending far more than their incomes," wrote Mosley in a letter to the heads of the individual teams. "As a result, the independent teams are now dependent on the goodwill of rich individuals, while the manufacturers' teams depend on massive handouts from their parent companies. There is now a real danger that in some cases these subsidies will cease."

It is revealed that the cost to teams wanting to use the un-badged Cosworth engine option will be €2 million, plus €5.5 million each season.

"The annual cost will reduce if more (than four) teams take up the option," FIA president Max Mosley wrote.

Mosley said the measures will help small teams survive, and also pave the way for the replacement of more outgoing manufacturers, "as seems likely" to be necessary.

He wants four teams to sign up for the scheme by next Thursday, or the price may go up.