When it comes to moaning about things it doesn’t like, no team can quite match Ferrari (no, not even Red Bull) in terms of trying to get its own way with things.
For years Ferrari has had a veto on technical regulations, gets extra money just for being Ferrari, and has often threatened to pull out of F1 in the past when it feels that F1 doesn’t quite match up to the companies own agendas.
Now, following the announcement of F1’s new set of engine rules for 2021 and beyond, Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has said that he’d happily withdraw the team from the sport.
Ferrari has been a part of the world championship since its inception in 1950 and is associated with F1 more than any other team. However, Marchionne fears that Liberty is going to change the sport into a kind of “global Nascar” and that if that happens, the red cars would no longer need to be a part of F1 once its current commitment ends in 2020. He said:
“What I do know is that it [F1] has been part of our DNA since the day we were born. It’s not as though we can define ourselves differently. But if we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognisable sandbox, I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to play Nascar globally, I just don’t.
“Liberty has got a couple of good intentions in all of this, one of which is to reduce the cost of execution for the team, which I think is good.
“There are a couple of things we don’t necessarily agree with. One of which is the fact that somehow powertrain uniqueness is not going to be one of the drivers of distinctiveness of the participants’ line-up. I would not countenance this going forward.”
“I understand that Liberty may have taken these into account in coming up with their views, but I think it needs to be absolutely clear that unless we find a set of circumstances, the results of which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand, and the marketplace, and to the strengthening of the unique position for Ferrari, Ferrari will not play.
“The fact that we now appear to be at odds in terms of the strategic development of this thing, and we see the sport in 2021 taking on a different air, is going to force some decisions on the part of Ferrari.
Marchionne said he wouldn’t care about taking the team out of the sport, and suggested that he might actually try and work on an alternative series – presumably one that would benefit Ferrari.
“[I’d feel] like a million bucks, because I’d be working on an alternative strategy to try and replace it. A more rational one, too.”
Whilst threatening to sulk off if it doesn’t get its way is peak Ferrari, to be fair, it’s not the only team that isn’t entirely happy with the new engine regulations.
Both Mercedes and Renault are concerned at the potential cost of the new power units (even though they’re pretty similar to the current ones) and have called into question whether it’s worth the investment, considering the number of components which are going to be standardised.
With plans for a budget cap set to be outlined at an F1 Strategy Group meeting next week, it could be that the outcome of that meeting ends up addressing the concerns. Whilst that may be enough for Mercedes and Renault, Ferrari is another matter entirely.
Do you think Ferrari is being serious with this quit threat, or is Marchionne just bluffing to try and get his way? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.