The group behind the proposed grand prix series to rival Formula One has appointed consultants to start work on the structure of the new competition.
Ferrari are one of the manufacturers seeking to set up a new series
GPWC Holdings, set up by manufacturers BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, is unhappy with the current division of the sport's commercial rights.
It has appointed marketing company International Sports and Entertainment AG to begin planning immediately.
GPWC says that it wants to begin the series no later than 2008.
The carmakers want a bigger share of Formula One's commercial rights, which are held by the SLEC holding company set up by the sport's supremo Bernie Ecclestone and controlled by banks.
The teams have been using the threat of a rival series as a bargaining tool in their quest to secure a larger share of the money.
They are bound to Formula One by the "Concorde Agreement" until the end of 2007 but would be free to set up a new series in 2008 should the sport's chiefs not meet their financial demands.
"We have been more than patient with the current management and governance of Formula One, but recent developments have underlined the need for a structure that guarantees a stable and prosperous future of the sport," said GPWC chairman Juergen Hubbert.
Ford has put its Jaguar team and Cosworth engine maker up for sale because it could not make a compelling business case to continue next season.
And the company has passed on its GPWC shareholding to the other four stakeholders, although it will continue to have an input into the proposed new series.