Jean Alesi has come out in support of his former employers Ferrari over the Scuderia's threat to walk away from Formula 1 if the sport's governing body pushes ahead with its standardised engine initiative.

Ferrari issued a statement explaining that should such a move be pursued - thereby removing for F1's major car manufacturers the very raison d'?tre of competing in the top flight - it 'would have to re-evaluate...the viability of continuing its presence in the sport' [see separate story - click here].

The Maranello-based outfit has been a mainstay of F1 ever since the official inception of the world championship back in 1950. Should it indeed withdraw its support, it would be a significant blow to the sport's future credibility - particularly in the light of FIA President Max Mosley's admission that Ferrari is the most important of the ten teams involved [see separate story - click here].

"I have exactly the same thoughts as Ferrari," revealed Alesi - who competed for the scarlet cause from 1991 to 1995, famously and emotionally achieving his sole grand prix success at Montreal in Canada in his final year there - in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"It's an absurd idea, because with a standard engine you would not be contesting a real constructors' championship.

"Ferrari is F1's flagship, and whoever has proposed this is not thinking about what is good for Ferrari nor F1. With standard engines, Maranello would be right to step out."

The Frenchman - now participating in the Middle Eastern Speedcar Series - in fact went even further, claiming the FIA's controversial proposal should not only be 'withdrawn', but that the governing body should publicly 'apologise' for even having made the suggestion in the first place, the 44-year-old dismissing the current global credit crunch as an acceptable justification.

"It has nothing to do with it," Alesi insisted. "Rather it is a very deep and very complicated political issue, about which I do not want to say any more.

"It goes for all manufacturers. It is in effect asking BMW, Toyota or Mercedes to sack their engineers and buy an engine from the supermarket."