Ferrari quit threat is “serious”: Marchionne

Ferrari quit threat is “serious”: Marchionne

Despite bringing Alfa Romeo back to F1, the warning to pull Ferrari out of Formula 1 racing after 2020 is a serious one says, Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne.

A week ago, Marchionne greenlit the decision to bring back Alfa as Sauber’s title sponsor for the next season.

It was an unusual show of faith by the Ferrari chairman who recently threatened to leave F1 if the engine rules are dumbed down.

During the Alfa Romeo launch event, Marchionne met F1 chairman Chase Carey and expressed his thoughts in person, insisting that his concerns about the sport’s direction remain the same.

Marchionne admitted that discussions are moving ahead to find a solution that works for Ferrari in the long term. At the same time, he clarified that the current car manufacturers would not accept some of the proposed rule changes.

“We have a dialogue that is evolving, and we still have some time to find points of contact between our differences,” said Marchionne.

“Our position is clear though: the agreement that we made with Sauber expires in 2020, just in case [after that date] Ferrari is not in F1.

“This possibility is serious. The differences are not small, but Chase and I share the belief that we should find a meeting point for the good of the sport.

“We have been very clear on the points that Ferrari cannot give up: the importance of the development of technology is essential for us. We cannot make the cars equal to the point that they can no longer be recognisable on the technological front.

“The heart of Ferrari is technical development. If the direction is not this, then Ferrari will find other contexts to demonstrate its skill on track – and maybe at that time, we will also be with Sauber.

“We have doubled the efforts to find a solution with Chase, but we have no way given up our goals.”

Budget cap concerns

Apart from the engine concerns, Marchionne communicated his doubts about the plans to implement budget caps in F1 development.

The new owners of the sport, Liberty Media is having a sit down with all the teams during the winter break to debate their plan. But Marchionne does not believe such a cap can be effectively enforced.

“I’m the first to want to reduce expenses because it is a sport that knows no bounds,” he said. “But trying to manage a budget cap is almost impossible.

“We, for example, have a number of people of the GT programme that at times also operate in the context of Formula 1, so it is almost impossible to control the management of staff.”

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