Formula One Management is to introduce a radical innovation to the sport in time for the 2022 world championship, running its own F1 team with director of motorsports Ross Brawn set to reprise his iconic former role as team principal.
According to a report from website Inside-F1.com, the new outfit - provisionally called 'Official F1' - will rely on an in-house chassis designed by a team of young engineers working under the guidance of F1's Pat Symonds and former Mercedes and Williams technical director Paddy Lowe.
However, to minimize costs the one-car team will also partner with Renault, with the French manufacturer set to supply the car's entire drivetrain and rear suspension based on Alpine's 2022 design.
It's understood that the drivetrain supply deal was crucial to persuading Renault to commit to staying in F1 after it lost its sole customer team McLaren at the end of 2020. F1 reportedly promised to either find a genuine new entrant for 2022 or 2023 to use Renault engines, or to set up its own squad instead.
According to a source at Formula 1, the initiative is set to be directly anchored to the sport's #WeRaceAsOne diversity push.
It is believed that former Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul has been entrusted with recruiting budding talents and personnel representing various minority groups that will partly fill the team's various technical and commercial departments, an approach that will crucially allow F1 to grow its diversity profile. But the team will also serve as a training ground for young engineers and mechanics.
The 'Official F1' team is expected to enter only half of next year's races which, according to current speculation, would imply a 12 or 13-race schedule.
Regarding drivers, details remain sketchy, but F1 is expected to entrust its car to young talents from the junior ranks with once again an emphasis on diversity.
F1 will waive the need for 'wild card' drivers to have enough superlicence points by granting single race weekend exemptions to candidates, among whom will figure Williams development driver Jamie Chadwick.
Jenson Button, who won the 2009 title with Brawn, has apparently been approached to oversee driver selection and preparations.
However, Liberty Media could entice a past champion or a big name from outside F1 - such as an IndyCar front-runner - to take part in a race weekend.
It is also contemplating a scheme by which it would entrust its car to a "masked driver" or a celebrity guest, whose identity F1 fans would attempt to guess at the end of qualifying, thanks to a special app, in exchange for a series of special prizes.
Regardless of who will be in the hot seat, as F1's clone car will share more technology than permitted between teams under current FIA rules and sporting regulations, it will not be eligible for points in the constructors championship.
But the single entry team could still win races, and the driver of the week will also be able to score points in the world championship - although as they will each only take part in one race per season, they will have a negligible impact on the title battle.
The 'Official F1' initiative was originally set to be confirmed by mid-April, but the early leaks on social media mean that the announcement may have to be moved up and could come as early as this morning, April 1st.