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FIA begins search for F1 client engine suppliers

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The FIA has formally begun its search for a Formula 1 client engine by calling for expressions of interest by possible manufacturers.

Earlier this month, F1’s governing body confirmed that it would look to introduce a new, cheap client engine to the sport from 2017 after Ferrari vetoed plans to place a cost cap on customer power units.

In a statement issued on Friday, the FIA confirmed that it had commenced this process, setting a deadline of November 23 for interested manufacturers to make themselves known.

“The FIA has decided to launch a consultation among the engine manufacturers in order to potentially identify for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons of the aforementioned championship an exclusive alternative engine manufacturer which will be solely entitled to supply this alternative engine to the competitors entered for said seasons of the championship,” the statement reads.

“The FIA is now calling for expressions of interest to identify candidates interested in becoming the exclusive supplier of the alternative engine to the competitors.

“This call for expressions of interest is governed by French law.”

All bids need to be lodged in the next ten days before the FIA will consider putting any manufacturers forward for tender.

The current engine battle being waged by the FIA and commercial rights holder FOM against the existing F1 manufacturers has resulted in this search for a client engine in a bid to bring engine costs down.

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost believes that the idea is a good one, as it will help his team to remedy its own current engine predicament and also give smaller teams more of an influence.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Tost said. “We from Toro Rosso will support it because we want to have this new engine, [a)] at least to have the possibility to choose something, to bring up a new engine for lower costs because the current power unit costs a hell of money.

“B), to be flexible, c) we will have a new sound. And I think that most of the fans and those people here want to have another engine with a better sound – and the rest we will see.”

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.