Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned Formula 1 and its owners Liberty Media to take Ferrari’s quit threats seriously and is seeking improvements to the current sport rather than wholesale changes.

During Ferrari’s pre-Christmas media lunch where it revealed the launch date of its 2018 F1 car, President Sergio Marchionne repeated his quit threat if Liberty implements new rules and regulations which go against the Italian manufacturer’s ideals. Marchionne also took aim at ex-Ferrari chief Ross Brawn, now in charge of F1’s sporting decisions, and suggested Ferrari could start its own series away from F1.

Wolff is eager for stability and therefore isn’t keen to see Ferrari leave the sport and while Marchionne’s threats have fallen on deaf ears the Mercedes boss has warned about ignoring the calls.

“I'm not afraid, but Marchionne is to be taken seriously,” Wolff is quoted in German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. "I'm relaxed, because Ferrari is Formula 1, and Formula 1 is Ferrari. But if I were Liberty Media's new Formula 1 promoter, I would not continue provoking Marchionne with unacceptable suggestions or demands or nonsensical changes.”

Having overseen the Mercedes domination of the V6 hybrid era with four consecutive F1 drivers’ and constructors’ world titles, Wolff is naturally urging the sport to retain its engine rules with focus on the hybrid elements and warned against returns to V8 or V10 ‘archaic engines’.

“We currently have a powertrain that is the most powerful and efficient racing engine ever," he explained. “With new engine regulations, there are possibilities to optimise this. But to develop a new engine that does not meet the high-tech aspects of electrification, efficiency and power – that  is some archaic engine – is not what we want.”

Liberty has outlined its future plans for F1 to all teams and key stakeholders this month while the majority of existing deals in the sport expire at the end of the 2020 season, including the existing engine regulations which can be altered from 2021. Both Mercedes and Ferrari are eager to retain the basic V6 hybrid theory while teams like Red Bull has pushed for rule changes having complained about the complexity, costs and sounds of the current engines.

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