Standard ECUs for Formula 1Cost saving goes beyond just the engine. The FIA also want a spec ECU (electronic control unit) from 2008 and today put out a tender for the supply of such a unit having many functions. The electronics are another area that is very expensive with many, but not all, teams manufacturing their own systems from scratch or having custom units made by suppiers such as Magneti Marelli. Renault were particularly proud last season with their unified electronics that combined engine and chassis electronics in a a single unit. Meanwhile the only bit of the electronics the fans get to see is the lights on the steering wheel.
The manufacturer teams hate the idea of a spec ECU. I'd wager that the independent teams aren't so bothered as they would tend to buy their electronics in anyway, although they might do custom programming of traction control or active differential algorithms. According the Mosley in that massive interview I mentioned previously, the spec ECU will allow the teams to create custom ignition and fuel maps for their engines, but will not allow the software to be altered. This may finally allow to the FIA to ban traction control in a way that can be verified with no allegations of cheating. There is no doubt that it will effectively ban any innovation that requires electronic control as the FIA are intent that this will be the only electronic unit allowed in the car (other than transponders and radios that have specific controlled functions).
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