A1GP's new six-year engine agreement with Ferrari has been universally acclaimed in the nation vs nation series' paddock, with key figures lauding the move as both 'momentous' and 'groundbreaking'.

The long-term deal will see Ferrari engines power the series from the start of 2008/09, while the Italian manufacturer will also consult on the design and manufacture of the A1GP chassis for use in its fourth season of racing. Maranello will take on a similar role in a new regional single-seater series to run under the A2GP banner - which will begin testing in 2009.

What's more, the partnership with Ferrari extends to an exclusive licensing agreement for all A1GP merchandise to use the Ferrari name and phrase 'Powered by Ferrari' from January 2008.

"This is a momentous and very special day for A1GP," enthused A1 Team Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi, "and an incredible link-up which will see us take this championship to the next level after three years of very hard work. Ferrari has one of the most illustrious motor racing heritages, with 28 Formula 1 championship titles to its name just to scratch the surface of its achievements.

"We must be extremely proud that Ferrari has seen the potential we have in A1GP and that it wants to be an integral part of the championship's future. As we embark on season three, we now have so many things to look forward to and it is a very exciting time to be involved with A1GP.

"[A2GP] is taking the World Cup of Motorsport to yet another level. This will ensure we can develop drivers in every corner of the world so that we have a talented crop coming up into A1GP. This is going to be especially important in regions where motor racing is not developed to the level of Europe, for example, and this will provide aspiring drivers in those particular regions with opportunities that at the moment are just not available."

A1 Team Germany's Willi Weber was equally enthusiastic about the historic news, particularly given it is the first time Ferrari has become involved in another formula in such a manner.

"This partnership is a genuine coup," he asserted, "both idealistically and also from the technical and economical standpoint. Already on an entirely emotional, subjective level there is not a better decision. Does a brand name exist that better embodies motorsport worldwide? I don't think so. Ferrari is a name that ties generations of fans to it, represents a unique environment and continues to enthrall me after decades in motorsport.

"The combination of two names provoked an enormous boom in motorsport over the last decade in Germany: Michael Schumacher and Ferrari. It's absolutely fantastic to have won this brand for the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. The partnership will also see the series rise to a new technical level. Furthermore, the commercial aspect in the field of merchandising is extremely promising. I consider the co-operation between A1GP and Ferrari to be a groundbreaking decision for motorsport."

"This is a landmark deal in A1GP history," agreed A1 Team Netherlands chief Jan Lammers, "and it is great to be a part of it. Not only is there the connection with the beautiful brand of Ferrari, it means we have received their seal of approval and passed their quality control. Being able to log in to this offers us an immense amount of benefits, also with the new A2 series, which will enable us as A1 Team Netherlands to scout for talent early on.

"I don't think the motorsport world realises the impact of this yet. Up to now there were only two people able to race a Ferrari formula car, but soon a lot more talents will be able to do this. Also on a regional level talent can move from karting straight into a Ferrari, and that is an awesome perspective."

Drivers, too, professed themselves delighted by the move, arguing it was testament to A1GP's strength and vision and insistent it should quell any speculation about the longevity of the championship following persistent early doubts.

"This is obviously fantastic news for the series," stated Canada's James Hinchcliffe. "To be associated with a brand like Ferrari is really going to elevate A1GP to the next level, not only in terms of the racing on offer but also with regards to the commercial side of the series.

"Ferrari is such an iconic brand, especially for Canadians having watched the legendary Gilles Villeneuve establish himself behind the wheel of a Ferrari. For the next six years at least, Canadian drivers competing in A1GP will get to share in the excitement of being associated with Ferrari, something most drivers can only dream about."

"The Ferrari brand is an iconic symbol of motor racing at the highest level," added Malaysian Alex Yoong, "so I'm sure it will bring many new fans and broaden the profile of the series throughout the world. The partnership confirms A1GP as a series which is investing in the future to ensure its continued development, as well as bringing a new dimension to the championship with the second generation of A1GP race cars."

 

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