Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has repeated his threat of pulling the Italian manufacturer out of Formula 1 after 2020 if the future direction of the sport doesn’t match its ideals and has speculated it could set-up a rival championship.

Last month Ferrari issued a quit call from F1 against new owners Liberty Media’s initial plans for the future rules of the sport. Marchionne took a particular focus at standardising engines in the sport claiming it goes “against the DNA of Formula 1”. While previous quit threats have fallen of deaf ears, the initial reaction to the latest comments from Marchionne have been met tentatively while Liberty is keen to have talks on future deals with Ferrari in F1.

At Ferrari’s media pre-Christmas lunch in Maranello, Marchionne has taken aim at ex-Ferrari head Ross Brawn who now heads up the sporting managing director role in the new F1 management under Liberty.

“The thing that most annoys me is that there is an experienced man like Ross Brawn there who is looking for ways that go against the DNA of Formula One,” Marchionne is quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport. “Making cars all the same with simpler and cheaper engines is like NASCAR, it doesn’t interest us.

“We need to find a balanced solution for the future that satisfies everyone and I think we will do it in time. Otherwise Ferrari will leave. If they sceptics think we are bluffing, they are playing with fire.”

With the majority of F1 team contracts expiring at the end of the 2020 season, Marchionne has also fuelled speculation about Ferrari leaving the sport and brining other teams with it to set up a new series. Currently, Ferrari supplies engines to Haas and Sauber while it recently secured a rebranding deal through its sister marque Alfa Romeo with the Swiss squad from 2018.

“I think that Ferrari has the strength to drag others as well to an alternative championship,” he said.


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Read Autocars latest on Aston Martin wanting to be a "disruptor" during the talks on new engines. They want to form a partnership from a technical and manufacturing point of view and to standardise the bottom end so one independent manufacturer can buy from other people. Why would Ferrari, Mercedes or any other top engine maker want to go down that route. It would be the end of F1 as we know it

F1 is dying. Its in a death spiral. The more they try to cut costs the more they turn people off it. It’s a sport first and entertainment second. I think most fans appreciate that. The hybrid era is a disaster. A shaking V12, 10 or 8 gets people hooked to in, the hybrids are rubbish. The more they restrict engines,limit testing, prevent Sunday running, and create artificial penalties to go with artificial DRS the more people will turn off. 

The hybrids are not rubbish, the are the most powerful and the most enery effecient engines ever made.

Aston Martin wants this that and the other, it is all down to a sudden rush of blood to the head their boss had as soon as his company just turned even after donket years. 

Off you trot

Off you trot

There was nothing more beautiful than the sound of a Matra-v12 or Ferrari-v12 breaking the silence of early morning whilst flying up the Mario Andretti straight at Mosport. 

You can keep your hybrids, your E cars and your cookie-cutter decibel controlled Indy cars.

So it is all about the sound then?  It isn't about performance as the current cars have been setting track records which have stood for many years.

Setting records with DRS, with a decade of development, with wide slick tires.  Go check race times for the 2004 Chinese GP, and compare to the 2016.  And yes, very much of it is about the sound.  It tells you that the V10s were beasts to control.  You barely see any countersteering or overcorrection in the Prius era.  It's a snooze fest.  And passing is manufactured.  Between DRS and tires that get you a 5 second advantage, who cares.  It's like making soccer more exciting by getting more goals.  And doing that by trippling the width of the goal.  Think people would tune in to that?

I'm as tired as anyone with Ferrari's quit threats, but you have to see his point.   Formula 1 is... well.... a 'Formula' sport.  I.e the teams have to design and make a car, within set parameters, using engineering intelligence to 'solve' a problem of the restrictions given to them in the rule book of that particular season.  The driver is the human half of the equation, they have to maxmise the car, maximising it's strong points, trying to cover for it's weak points.   This is Formula 1.   If you homogenise the cars, and restrict engineering free thought, it becomes a weak, watered down.... and will lose it's raison d'etre, and ultimately it's appeal. 

In my humble opinion, Formula 1 is boring these days because it is too predictable, and the three biggest causes of predictable are:   1) The cars are too reliable.  Look back over the last 10 years, many cars didn't finish.  The rules should be set so cars can be tuned to within an inch of destruction, so that, occasionally, they don't make it to the finish line.    2)  The cars are too easy to drive consistently, at the limit.   Hardly anyone runs wide, spins, misses a gear, fluffs a start, locks a wheel, loses the back end... let alone crashes.   Electronics rightly often get the blame for this, but there are also other reasons.   The cars need to be harder to drive.    3) It's too hard to overtake.  Whatever position you're in after the pitstop, is where you'll probably finish the race.  The cars need to rely less on aero, the drivers need not to be penalised for agressive passing (yes, rubbing really is racing), and the tracks need to be designed to facilitate modern F1 cars getting by each other.    

Marchionne, go ahead and quit and then try to set up a competitor to F1. Then you can be known and reviled as the man who put the nail in the coffin of F1 maybe. Don't believe that; just look at where IndyCar is now as conmpared to the early 90's. The split between Champ Car and IndyCar nearly killed both organizations and really hurt open wheel racing in the USA. Back in the early 90's, Champ Car was probably more popular than Nascar until Tony George got a bee up his bonnet and decided to spin off his own series for open wheel roundy-round racing with 2nd rate drivers.