While various F1 teams conduct test sessions this week, engine manufacturers BMW and Cosworth are re-evaluating their involvement in the sport and Renault seek a replacement for Jean-Jacques His.

While various F1 teams conduct test sessions this week, engine manufacturers BMW and Cosworth are re-evaluating their involvement in the sport and Renault seek a replacement for Jean-Jacques His.

According to reports, BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen is eager to resolve contract negotiations with the Williams F1 team.

There has been tension between the two parties since the beginning of the season, particularly due to BMW’s disappointment with the performance of the FW25 chassis. A new contract between Williams and BMW was due to be completed by January, but no deal has been agreed for when the current contract expires at the end of next season.

“Further development of the FW25 is one thing, the team's strategic concept, however, is even more important as we are looking into the future,” Theissen was quoted as saying. “For BMW, one prior aim is to take part in a future partnership that goes beyond the current role of an engine manufacturer. A conglomerate like BMW has enormous resources available and we want these resources to pour into the project.”

There have been persisting rumours BMW will either leave Williams or build their own race car, but Theissen has hinted that expanding the opportunities within the current partnership was a possibility.

“Currently, we are about to dovetail pieces together. We offer Williams F1 access to our resources and capacities. As a car manufacturer, BMW has facilities that an F1 team naturally cannot offer. Developments in the road car sector can also be used in F1.

“We therefore have to fathom out which resources are suitable for a joint project. An expanding partnership bears chances and risks of course, but we believe that the chances gain the upper hand,” he added.

BMW is committed to forge ahead in F1 - with Williams or on its own - but Cosworth Racing, the supplier of engines to Jordan, Jaguar Racing and Minardi, could be forced to reconsider its position in F1 if it becomes necessary to supply customer-engines to teams at the cost of about R77 million per annum.

FIA President Max Mosley is determined to further reduce the cost of running an F1 team by making engine contracts more affordable. But Cosworth have joined BMW and Honda in refuting the below-par cost.

"It is unrealistic to imagine that a competitive F1 engine package can be provided for $10-million,” said a senior executive at Cosworth. “The only way that could be achieved is by a subsidy from a manufacturer. It is difficult to see how a commercially viable deal can be achieved.”

Theissen has also publicly spoken against the suggestion, stating that BMW did not have the funding or manpower to supply customer engines at such a small cost.

Meanwhile, Renault was reportedly trying to recruit Mercedes-Benz engine specialist Mario Illien to replace His. This was denied by Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Nobert Haug who said: "Lots of people have offers, I would say all the good people have permanent offers, so maybe Mario has some.”

"I asked Flavio Briatore and he said no. I asked Mario and he said no. So it is not a subject for me any longer," Haug added.

Illien, co-founder of Ilmor Engineering alongside the late Paul Morgan, recently sold his Ilmor shares to Mercedes-Benz, but will continue to hold 15 per cent of the company until 2005. Mercedes recently appointed BMW engineer Dr Werner Laurenz to head the development programme.