Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has appeared to throw his support behind Liberty Media’s Formula 1 engine regulation changes but stands by his quit threat due to reservations on the future “economics” of the sport.

Having issued an F1 quit threat to pull out Ferrari from the sport last November, Marchionne has been impressed by Liberty’s vision on the sport’s engine rules having laid out its plans for the next regulation change set for 2021.

During the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Liberty presented its future ideas to be installed after the current Concorde Agreements conclude at the end of 2020, including the expected retention of the V6 hybrid engines while tweaking the current rules to drop the MGU-H units while standardising some parts to lower costs.

Speaking to analysts in a post-results Ferrari conference call, Marchionne has voiced his approval for the future engine rules but is still looking for a solution to the revenue controls Liberty is looking to introduce.

“I’m encouraged by the change in the attitude that we are seeing from Liberty in terms of the extent of the changes that they’re forecasting in 2021,” Marchionne said. “Probably the biggest indication has been the recognition of the fact that the engine regulations need to reflect sort of the nature of the sport.

“We can’t really dumb down engine development just to accommodate new entries. So the stuff that’s on the table now is potentially workable as a system.

“The economics are not. I think that’s something that we need to go back to Liberty with.”

Commercial rights holders Liberty confirmed it wants to install a cost cap, currently estimated at $150million, while making revenues distributions fairer between teams in order to improve racing and the level of competition.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff became the first high profile name to voice his concerns against the cost cap, with reigning F1 world champion’s current operating budget for engine production and team operations ballooning well over the predicted figure, while Ferrari is also looking to defend its current share of the F1 pot.

However, Claire Williams said she was ready to crack open the champagne after Liberty’s presentation in Bahrain and says the revenue redistribution would save the Williams team.

Ferrari currently receives the biggest slice of F1 revenues through special historical payments, constructors’ championship bonuses, and the teams’ results.

While Marchionne seems satisfied talks over engine rules are heading in the right direction, with regulations set to be nailed down for 2021 by the end of this month, the Ferrari boss says he’s open to “meaningful discussions” with F1 bosses on its future but has repeated his quit warning if Ferrari’s demands are not met.

“I think we now have enough of a basis to try start having meaningful discussions,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get it all resolved by the end of this year one way or the other.

“I think we need to continue to work with Liberty and with the FIA to try and bring about a sensible equilibrium. If we can’t, as I said before, we’ll just pull out.

“I think we owe the sport a phenomenal effort to try and bring about closure of these items. We’ll try and get that done before the end of this year.”



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