Marchionne suggests Ferrari are prepared to exit Formula 1


Photo: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has threatened to end Scuderia Ferrari‘s ever-present contribution to Formula 1 over the proposed new engine rules.

The displeasure shown by Renault, Mercedes and now Ferrari in the last few days will surely test the mettle of the sport’s new owners Liberty Media, as they look to make changes to the power units for the sake of lowering costs and creating a lower barrier of entry for other potential manufacturers.

Marchionne, discussing Ferrari’s financial performance with analysts, voiced his worry about some of the visions Liberty Media have for the sport – believing that the homogenisation of certain engine components will remove a needed uniqueness between engine suppliers.

“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.” he said.

“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.”

Furthermore, Marchionne said that indecisiveness over the future of F1 may force Ferrari’s hand earlier – showing a want for stability and certainty if the sport takes a new direction.

“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.”

Ferrari – who are the only manufacturer to have competed in every Formula 1 World Championship season – have a contract with F1 that expires in 2020, similar to the other nine teams currently on the grid and are not the only ones to have stepped carefully over committing themselves past this decade.

Earlier this year, Red Bull Racing‘s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said that the energy drinks powerhouse will not stay in F1 if there isn’t an independent engine supplier before the 2021 season.

Photo: Octane Photographic Ltd.

There is set to be another Strategy Group meeting next Tuesday, in which the new engine formula will be the hot topic – Marchionne assured fans that he will go in “with the best intentions“.

“I don’t want to prejudge any of this. We’re walking into this meeting next Tuesday with the best of intentions, we’ll see where it takes us.”

Turning his attentions towards the financial side of matters, Marchionne did say that Ferrari shareholders wouldn’t be overly disappointed if the brand did pull the plug on F1.

“It would be totally beneficial to the [profits and losses],” before adding. “We would be celebrating here until the cows come home.”

However, the 65-year-old recognised the importance of the two staying linked but doesn’t want to be a part of a global form of NASCAR.

“What I do know is that [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 any more. I don’t want to play NASCAR globally, I just don’t.”

If the time comes to say goodbye for Ferrari, Marchionne said that he’d work on replacing the void rationally.

In March, the Italian-Canadian said that Ferrari “needs to be involved” in the now manufacturer-laden Formula E series, due to its relevance in the future of everyday cars.

Although five months later, Marchionne hinted that Ferrari’s entry into Formula E would not be under the Prancing Horse, rather one of the other FIAT subsidiaries, such as Maserati or Alfa Romeo.