• May 3, 2009
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]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope I wasn't the only one that got a good laugh at the "SS Max Mosley" comment, given his recent nazi dominatrix fetish. lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm still laughing...
      • 5 Years Ago
      obviously Mosley needs more spankings.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good one! But so five minutes ago...
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        that retard has no idea on what planet he lives . F1 without Ferrari is dead
      • 5 Years Ago
      With F1 reduced to identical engines and fights over bits of carbon fibre add-ons all the fun has gone.

      Le Mans is a proper race and without Ferrari F1 is dead anyway..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure, let the teams that are capped have more technical freedom, but with the budget cap, they can't take advantage of it.

        It's plain retarded.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you heard about the voulentary 'budget cap' introduced next year? $40 million (I think, possibly € or £), but it opens up a whole raft of rules for those budget capped teams to exploit.

        No limit on the amount of driven wheels (ie, 4 wheel drive)
        No limit on engine revs (ie, no longer identical power outputs)
        Double the KERS output power (ie, 160bhp boost)
        Moveable Front/Rear wings

        And quite possibly a couple of other things I've forgotten.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The gloves are off now. Max & Bernie need to be put in their place. Everything they do is in their personal interest, and not for the better of the sport. Let's go Ferrari & FOTA!!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Just want to point out that the last Ferrari overall victory at LeMans was 1965. Imagine that, a 44 year and counting LeMans victory drought for one of the most storied sports car marques.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Rick C, You mean the Ferrari 512 and 312 were not legimate efforts by the factory??? Not to mention the 330 series before that. Fact is, they were unable to be consistently successful against Ford and then Porsche. You would think with all that F1 knowledge, they could have been more competitive. But then again, an F1 car in the early 70's was slower at places like Spa and Monza than a Porsche 917.
        • 5 Years Ago
        there is no way they will win in P1. Can you imagine Ferrari having a diesel prototype? Thats the only way they could win with how the rules are currently set
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't be a history revisionist. Tell the whole story. Yes, the last overall win by a factory Ferrari was in the 1960s. Since then, they've done what??? The answer is: Competed completely in Formula One. Yes, a 333SP won in 1998 and a 430 took it last year, not factory entries. If they choose to return to P1 in force, you better believe there will be success.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rick, I also missed a factual mistake in your reply. The 333 SP never won LeMans overall.( Not sure it even competed due to FIA regs ) It did win Daytona I believe. I am not sure, but I think the overall winner at the 1998 LeMans 24 was the Porsche GT1.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @pmiddle5, agreed. Ferrari's having enough trouble in F1 where damn near everything is set by strict confines, let them into P1 and they'll get slaughtered.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would be very excited to have Ferrari return to LeMans as a constructor/competitor in P1.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well of course Europeans would watch an EV F1! Why wouldn't they? F1 has devolved from being the pinnacle for automotive research to nothing more than a whim of Mosley and Ecclestone. Not so many years ago, the rules weren't changed so often and a great many F1 developments were to be found in ordinary cars. Today this is no longer so.

      If Tesla can have passenger cars out there which actually cost less than some silly SUVs, I'd say EVs are extremely mature. Mind you, for a racing category, you would have needed far less than something than a Tesla out there, because a formula allows for development.

      How are the hybid teams to apply their developments to the cars you and I drive? Recall also that it was a hybrid team which stole the Ferrari spec in 2007. I think we really should get rid of the hybrids and have only manufacturers onboard, and a lot more than are there today. With an EV formula Honda could justify their expenses as EV research, and so too a lot of other manufacturers.

      If Mosley and Ecclestone hadn't dramatically changed the F1 rules every year (and the Kers-diffuser example is way beyond ridiculous) Honda would never have left and your extra 3 teams would already have been there 10 years ago. The GPWC alternative was proposed several years ago, when Mosley and Ecclestone hadn't even destroyed the sport to the extent they have today. It is time Ferrari and the others bite the bullet and do what's right! This is a lose-lose situation for everyone, the spectators, the manufacturers, green research... everyone!! (except Ecclestone and Mosley). F1 is supposed to be leading car developments, not trailing them....
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem with the high costs is due mainly to Mosley and Ecclestone drastically changing the F1 rules year in and year out. On top of that this year you have the extremely high extra KERS and diffuser costs, which are again due exclusively to Mosley-Ecclestone mismanagement (aka MEM, which is why MEMS had to add the extra s on the end). Consider also the Singapore circuit flop and the handing of aaaaaaaall the Hamiltom accidents. You could argue that in fact MEM are the main CAUSE of the Hamilton accidents, as he has been let off the hook at least 20 times for serious offences in the last 3 years.

      Ferrari shouldnt leave F1, which they are obviuosly reluctant to do. Instead they should, with the other teams, do what they have been talking about for years now, and create a new version of F1. Without the teams Mosley and Ecclestone will no longer have any blood to suck on.

      What would the advantages of a new F1 be? Well they're actually too numerous to list, but here are a few for starters:

      -a formula which truly encourages research in car technology as well as competitive sport. The is now the era of electric vehicles and the new F1 should be an EV event (hybrids, as we have already seen, are not the answer). As the pinnacle of research into EV car racing there should clearly be no cap on expenses. The US and Japanese are currently spending billions on battery development for EVs and would be all too happy to compete in an event where the reserch would go into somthing useful anyway.
      -distribution of the TV revenues among carmakers and not just for Mosely and Ecclestone. Only carmakers should be allowed, and among these the dirtiest manufacturers should not be allowed to compete. Today this means mercedes and bmw etc. Such a formula would allow manufactueres to claim to be at the pinnacle of clean racing technilogy and as the formula would be there to encourage green cars, it should not be open to the dirtiest manufactuerers jsut so that they can make "green" claims.
      -no rule-changing every year, at least nothing like what we are accustomed to today in F1
      -some kind of meritocratic system for the selection of F1 drivers

      F1 has been ridiculous for many years now. It's time for Ferrari and the other to bite the bullet and do what's right.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If Ferrari want to Win le Man outright it would have to be a diesel to compete with the Audi's/Pug's. Come on people! Le Man does not have the same cache as F1 ferrari need F1.

        Ferrari are a little annoyed at the moment because of the defuser issue and Kers. They thought they would have an advantage with kers but it doesn't really help when the rest of your car us not up to scratch. When they attack Brawn personally in a courtroom about a technical issue you are never going to win infact you know you've already lost. They spent to much time last year developing the 08 car to win they dropped the ball in 09.

        The rules of F1 are fundamentally changing form a technical perspective and also from a cost base. This is good for the sport not bad three new teams have already expressed interest in joining due to the budget cap (they can still spend as much as they want on PR etc).
        Can anybody say that this season has not been one of the most interesting for years? If not you don't watch F1 and are just a Ferrari Fanboy
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of all the suggestions I've heard on how to fix F1 I think that might have been the worst. Some of the most ingenuous teams over the years in formula one have been the independent ones to prevent them taking part is a terrible idea. An all electric F1 would be a commercial disaster, EV technology is no where near developed enough to create as exciting an event as F1 is at the currently and in the 5 years it would take for it to become so, the audience would have grown bored and gone else where. As for Bernie, people seem to forget that, despite some terrible decisions, the man has done a lot of good for the sport. Before him decisions were made by the teams with the largest budgets, which obviously was great for those teams but bad for the sport, the last thing F1 needs is a return to that.

        Formula one needs 3 things:
        1) New stewards - at least one of which is an ex-F1 driver
        2) Less tinkering - decide on rules for the next 10 years and leave it be
        3) A full grid - which the budget cap looks to ensure
        • 5 Years Ago
        It seems, Richard, that if we follow your train of thought here we should reach the conclusion that all the racing in formula one draws money away from researching EVs and a better rule change would be to get rid of that expensive racing business all together?
        Leading car development is not the primary goal of F1, If your Bernie it's all about the cash (as sparrk said). As for the rest of us, its the the spectacle that is the pinnacle of motor racing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Europeans would never watch electric cars race , that's just ridiculous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Americans like muscle cars and hybrid/electric cars , but don't like diesels , Europeans love diesels and high revving sports cars , we hate hybrids and electric cars.

        look at what Jeremy Clarkson said about supercars, they are supposed to kill the dolphins, burn the ozone, make the world a hotter place , clean cars are not fun. did you ever hear someone say : "man , i love the sound my vacuum cleaner does !" , i didnt , but i hear all the time people who say they love the sound of a Ferrari.

        if F1 goes electric , it won't have any European audience.

        "F1 is supposed to be leading car developments, not trailing them...." no , F1 is supposed to make $$$

        • 5 Years Ago
        Well of course Europeans would watch an EV F1! Why wouldn't they? F1 has devolved from being the pinnacle for automotive research to nothing more than a whim of Mosley and Ecclestone. Not so many years ago, the rules weren't changed so often and a great many F1 developments were to be found in ordinary cars. Today this is no longer so.

        If Tesla can have passenger cars out there which actually cost less than some silly SUVs, I'd say EVs are extremely mature. Mind you, for a racing category, you would have needed far less than something than a Tesla out there, because a formula allows for development.

        How are the hybid teams to apply their developments to the cars you and I drive? Recall also that it was a hybrid team which stole the Ferrari spec in 2007. I think we really should get rid of the hybrids and have only manufacturers onboard, and a lot more than are there today. With an EV formula Honda could justify their expenses as EV research, and so too a lot of other manufacturers.

        If Mosley and Ecclestone hadn't dramatically changed the F1 rules every year (and the Kers-diffuser example is way beyond ridiculous) Honda would never have left and your extra 3 teams would already have been there 10 years ago. The GPWC alternative was proposed several years ago, when Mosley and Ecclestone hadn't even destroyed the sport to the extent they have today. It is time Ferrari and the others bite the bullet and do what's right! This is a lose-lose situation for everyone, the spectators, the manufacturers, green research... everyone!! (except Ecclestone and Mosley). F1 is supposed to be leading car developments, not trailing them....
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not gonna happen. The Italian public would never accept Ferrari pulling out of F1 and they would see it as running away from a challenge.

      But yes, this English vice-grip on F1 needs to be broken. And without Ferrari, F1 is just a EPL sunday match. Most of the exotic tracks are already gone and the cars look like riced tooth-brushes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Formula One is so dependent on Ferrari, and it's loss of Ferrari would bring the series down then that should tell all involved - teams, owners, drivers, fans, and the FIA that the series isn't very good to begin with. If Ferrari's participation in F1 is what keeps F1 going then they are just as responsible as the rest for creating a worthless and totally irrelevant racing series.

      Ferrari need's racing and probably F1 FAR more than racing needs Ferrari. If Max is smart he will call Ferrari's bluff and publicly tell them not to let the door hit them on their way out. After all Max is just as involved in International sports car racing (Le Mans) as he is F1. Ferrari isn't about to piss away a carefully constructed image because their being told to spend less money.
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