Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has insisted that his teams threat to quit Formula 1 post 2020 should be taken very easily, despite the new Alfa Romeo deal with Sauber
Sauber and Ferrari announced a partnership between the Swiss team and Alfa Romeo last Saturday, which includes a technical partnership and title sponsorship as well as announcing Charles Leclerc an Marcus Ericsson would drive for the team, Leclerc replacing Pascal Wehrlein. The announcement raised eyebrows as Ferrari had recently threatened to quit the sport if it did not like the rule changes being proposed on the budget cap and engine front for the next few years. It looked like the team had virtually admitted that those statements were just hot air with the Alfa announcement, but Marchionne insisted that was not the case.
“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.”
Marchionne has expressed concerns about both the mooted budget cap and the new engines that have been proposed for 2021, which will potentially see the removal of the MGU-H element and a more user friendly “plug and play” philosophy to make the life of the mechanics much easier. The Ferrari chairman is worried that a budget cap would be impossible to maintain, despite Liberty Media’s willingness to introduce it. Liberty plan to sit down with the teams over the winter break to discuss the cap, but Marchionne is not convinced by it.
“I’m the first to want to reduce expenses, because it is a sport that knows no bounds. But trying to manage a budget cap is almost impossible” he explained.
“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.”
Ferrari have threatened to quit the sport before, and have never done so which leads many to believe this is all just words and does not mean anything. But there are some that feel the threat should be taken much more seriously, so the upcoming discussions regarding the new engine rules could well be crucial to the future of Ferrari and Formula 1.