President Sergio Marchionne has threatened to pull Ferrari out of formula one. The threat comes after new F1 owner Liberty Media announced plans to change the engine regulations beyond 2020, and just days before details of a planned 2019 'budget cap' are to be announced.
Germany's specialist Auto Motor und Sport reports that 2019 will be a budget cap 'trial year', with no penalties for overspending and the EUR 100-200 million cap to not include driver, top management or marketing costs. "Each team will get an independent FIA accountant assigned to them," correspondent Michael Schmidt claims.
But as Liberty's plans for the future take shape, Ferrari president Marchionne's quit threat is a clear spanner in the works. Italian media quote Marchionne as saying Ferrari "will not play" unless Liberty and the FIA create "circumstances which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand and strengthen the unique position" of the team.
As for what Ferrari would do if it quits F1, Marchionne suggested Maranello could help establish a new series and "celebrate until the cows come home". When asked how being the president who ended Ferrari's long association with F1 would feel like, Marchionne answered: "Like a million bucks".
However, he acknowledged that F1 has "been part of our DNA since the day we were born". And despite not winning the title for the twelfth consecutive year, Marchionne said Ferrari should be happy with how it fared in the 2017 season.
"We did well considering our starting point," said the Italian-Canadian. "If I had said a year ago where we would be today, nobody would have believed me. We regret that we did not do better, but the car was good and in 2018 we will do much better. In the second part of the season, we suffered a mixture of technical problems and errors of the drivers," Marchionne charged.
"So even if it was painful, we learned a lot from the season," he concluded. Finally, Marchionne denied meddling too much in the day-to-day running of Ferrari, insisting: "No, absolutely not. I only attend strategic meetings." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing