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Ferrari threatens to quit F1 if Liberty Media has its way
- Updated: November 3, 2017
Ferrari has threatened to quit Formula One after 2020 if Liberty Media decides to move in a direction that is contrary to the Italian team’s interests.
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne told reporters that while he supported cost-cutting, there were other strategic issues that could lead to Ferrari quitting the sport altogether.
“It (Formula One) has been part of our DNA since the day we were born,” he said on Thursday.
“But if we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognisable sandbox, I don’t want to play any more.”
Asked how tough it would be to be the one to call the shots on such a long partnership, he said, “Like a million bucks because I’ll be working on an alternative strategy to try and replace it. More rational one, too.”
Ferrari is the only team to have been with Formula One right from the time it began in 1950 and is undoubtedly the most glamorous, even if the trophy cabinet has not been stocked since 2008.
Across the years, they have won a record 228 race, 16 constructors’ championships and 15 drivers’ titles.
It is a known fact that the Monaco Grand Prix and Ferrari are the two central pillars of the sport’s success, and their current share of the revenues reflects that special status.
Ferrari earned $180 million this year – the most of all the teams – despite finishing third in last year’s constructors’ championship.
Since the new ownership came into force, there has been a lot of talk about evening up the field of play, which would also perhaps lead to a more equitable distribution of money.
Proposals for a new, cheaper and simpler engine were presented in Paris on Tuesday and there is another meeting of the sport’s Strategy Group next Tuesday to discuss other changes.
“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,” said Marchionne.
However, he said that Ferrari and Liberty appeared to be “somewhat at odds in terms of the strategic development” after 2020.
“I think you need to be absolutely clear that unless we find a set of circumstances, the results of which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand in the marketplace and to the strengthening of the unique position for Ferrari, Ferrari will not play,” he said.
He did, however, claim that it is perhaps too soon to call the shots just yet.
“We’re walking into this meeting next Tuesday with the best of intentions, we’ll see where it takes us,” he said.