Ferrari's participation in Formula One is so firmly entrenched in the identities of both the world championship and the Italian automaker that its abandonment of the series is almost unthinkable. But thinking about just that, according to some commentators, is what Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo wants people to start doing, as a spate of heated correspondence flies back and forth between Maranello and Paris, seat of motorsport's governing body, the FIA.

Montezemolo, who also serves as chairman of the Fiat group and head of the Formula One Teams Association, has been invited to ceremonially start this year's 24 hours of Le Mans by the ACO, where he will be joined by Scuderia Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicalli. And while to some it may seem entirely benign, others insist that it's a shot across the bow of the SS Max Mosley, the FIA chief who's been pushing new cost-cutting regulations to which Ferrari, among several other teams, is vehemently opposed. But could Ferrari really leave Formula One? This isn't the first time the idea's been floated, following a recent campaign to form a renegade spin-off series and Ferrari's Indy program in the 80's, to name just a couple of examples. The hard, cold truth that Mosley must be realizing is that Le Mans series endurance sports car racing has grown in profile to rival that of Formula One, and even if Ferrari's participation in the series is currently limited primarily to GT2, where it has taken numerous class victories, its heritage at the iconic French track is nearly as firmly entrenched as it is on the world's grand prix circuits.

[Sources: Autosport and F1-Live | Image: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty]