Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has again stressed that F1 is not the be-all-and-end-all of the company's focus, admitting that a change of tack could prompt the Prancing Horse to look elsewhere for its competitive kicks.
While Ferrari threatening to pull out of the sport is nothing new, particularly as a tool to gain leverage in negotiations over rule changes and financial incentives, di Montezemolo explained that it would not abandon competition completely, but insisted that F1 needed to be both relevant to its road car business and provide an emotional pull for both its employees and fans.
"If I don't think that F1 any more represents one of the three main ingredients for us, [I can foresee F1 without Ferrari]," he told CNN International's The Circuit on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, "If F1 is not about research or technology, then this could be a risk. We are going too far in terms of aerodynamics. F1 is becoming a sort of satellite for aeroplane aerodynamic research - and I want to do car research.
"I will never see Ferrari without competition and sporting challenges but, if F1 is not any more about extreme technology competition, to transfer technology around road cars, maybe we can see F1 without Ferrari. It will not be today, but maybe in the future. It will depend on the rules, it will depend on a lot of different reasons."
The announcement of Formula E, which the FIA sees as its first 'green' technology race series with all cars powered by electric motors, is clearly at odds with di Montezemolo's vision of F1's future, but follows on from the governing body's decision to introduce the requirement that F1 cars be electrically-motivated while in the pits from 2014.
"When I heard that we could have electric cars in F1, [I thought] this is a joke, because this is not F1," he claimed, "This is not emotion, this is not sport. We have to look ahead without losing our essence."
di Montezemolo, who continues to have strong political ambitions in Italy, also took time to question F1's plans to float on the Asian stock market, particularly as the schedule for the stock issue appears to have slowed. Ferrari has been rumoured to be in line for a stake in the sport, worth tens of millions, when it goes to market, with di Montezemolo offered a place on the board as reward for signing up to the new Concorde Agreement. With F1 poised to head back to Asia for the first part of its 'flyaway' finale to the 2012 season, however, commercial rights holder CVC appears to have cooled on the project, perhaps spooked by the poor reaction to the similar offering from social media giant Facebook.
"To be honest, I want to understand [where the process of floatation stands], because a few weeks or months ago, flotation was a priority for CVC," he mused, "Today, I don't know if this is still a priority.
"From one side, because it means stability, transparency in business, in numbers, I think it could be a good idea [for F1]. On the other hand, I think that the place, the rule, the importance of the teams is crucial because, at the end of the day, we are the actors, we are the players and, without the players, you don't have the game..."