Would Formula One be Formula One without Ferrari? And would Ferrari be Ferrari without Formula One? Those are the questions circulating the motorsport press lately as Ferrari has hinted once again that, if the rules are not changed and the spectacle restored, the Scuderia could pack up its prancing horses and leave the series.

The rumors have been fueled by two developments. On the one hand, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo has repeatedly expressed his disapproval with the FIA – presided over by his long-time protégé Jean Todt – over the current regulations that have restricted the teams to using what he views as lackluster turbocharged V6 engines.

On the other, the team's #1 driver Fernando Alonso was on hand at the Circuit de la Sarthe last weekend to wave the flag to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans, fueling speculation that the company could switch from F1 to Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship, where the rules are more flexible. The AF Corse team closely affiliated with the factory finished first in the LMGTE Pro category at Le Mans this year with a Ferrari 458 Italia.

It has been years since Ferrari competed at the top level in sports car racing, and while it dominated Le Mans with six consecutive victories in the early 1960s and continued to notch victories in endurance racing for several more years, Le Mans was won four years in a row by Ford before the Italian team left the field. Le Mans has subsequently been dominated by well-known marques like Porsche and, more recently, Audi. Of course Ferrari could technically compete in both forms of motorsport, but major automakers seldom if ever field works entries in both.

This isn't the first time Ferrari has hinted at leaving F1 behind, first with the threat of forming a break-away series when Bernie Ecclestone proved intractable and more recently with rumors of the team's moving to Le Mans. For its part, Ferrari insists in the statement below that it is in F1 for the long haul, and has indeed remained the one constant on the grid since the formation of the series.
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Ferrari on the front line for the good of F1

Maranello, 15 June – Ferrari has had Formula 1 coursing through its veins for over half a century and that's why it has decided to make a move to turn the sport away from the wrong turn it appears to have taken.

The Maranello marque has decided to do this through the means of a formal act, which is a concrete proposal, in the form of a letter from its President Luca di Montezemolo to the Formula 1 rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone and to Donald McKenzie, the president of the company that owns Formula 1. It is not an ultimatum, nor a threat, but a proposal to call together all the key players in the sport to sit down around a table and come up with new ideas that will see Formula 1 continue to set the benchmark in motorsport, on level terms with global events such as the Olympics and the football World Cup.

The President wants to see a collective brainstorming from the group to act for the good of Formula 1. Contributions from all areas are of value; teams, sponsors, promoters and media, so that the key values of Formula 1 can be reestablished. President Montezemolo would also like to see other high-end players invited, those who are currently not involved or only partially so; new media, social networks and colossi such as Google and Apple.

Formula 1 has to be based on technical innovation, research and development, but this must all be done with sustainable costs and above all, must be moved forward as part of a product that can put on a show. Because it is the show that draws in the commercial partners, the sponsors and, above all, the fans, who are the real end users of the Formula 1 product.

Finding the right mix of these ingredients will be vital for the sustainability and the future success of our much-loved sport.


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  • 49 Comments
      Peter Middleton
      • 6 Months Ago
      Ferrari should man up and do both
      RocketRed
      • 6 Months Ago
      Luca needs to distract from the fact his team is getting beaten down by the likes of Force India, that's all. As far as the formula being lackluster, the current engines make more power over a flatter power-band than the old V8s. The cars are faster, but have less downforce. They are twitchy, as a result, and have to be "driven" more now than before. As for the racing, it's a Mercedes romp now, but unlike in the RBR days, there is actually competition between the teammates doing the romping. Indeed, wheel to wheel action for the lead. Ferrari is not going anywhere. Worst case is that Luca stamps his feet for a bigger extra payout to Ferrari or gets Ferrari an extra-helping of "reliability" mods for its engines.
      NismoR31
      • 6 Months Ago
      So they'll trade "lackluster" turbocharged v6 hybrid engines for turbocharged 4 cylinder diesel hybrid engines?? How does that work? Admittedly LMP1 cars sound a hell of a lot better than F1 at the moment
        Damian Palmares
        • 6 Months Ago
        @NismoR31
        The only 4 cylinder turbocharged lmp1 is Porsche. Neither audi, nor toyota are 4 cylinder. Nissan wont be a 4 cy turbo next year either.
        Damian Palmares
        • 6 Months Ago
        @NismoR31
        The toyota is a V-8.
      ScottT
      • 6 Months Ago
      I could see Ferrari entering the WEC, but there is no way they are leaving F1 anytime soon. Bernie would make pretty much any rule change that Ferrari wanted if he thought they were realistically going to leave.
        dinobot666
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ScottT
        Hopefully Ferrari says that a V8, or even a V10, or even better yet a V12 would encourage them to stay in F-1. I say, put a cap on the fuel limit for a race, and let teams use whatever engine they want!
          no1bondfan
          • 6 Months Ago
          @dinobot666
          I agree about the fuel limits, but keep in mind that when fuel is limited and manufacturers can use whatever engine they want, you end up with a bunch of hybrids and diesels. I don't think anybody ran a V10 or a V12 in LeMans last weekend (though I could be mistaken).
      x19x19
      • 6 Months Ago
      Would love to see Ferrari join Audi and Porsche (as well as MB, BMW and Ford) and compete in the WEC. That would be a great series. The WEC makes much more sense as a test bed for alternative drive systems than F1. F1 should be pure performance. 19000 rpm, V10's and 12's and forget the rest of the alternative technology stuff.
      JanP
      • 6 Months Ago
      The speculation that Ferrari will leave F1 is just sensationalist rubbish. Why would Ferrari leave F1 with all the political and financial preferences it gets there? Granted, if Ferrari wanted to be naughty, it'd consider entering WEC anyways. Heck, even sending its F1 drivetrain, modified for WEC, would be better than nothing.
      Mondrell
      • 6 Months Ago
      They may disappoint there too if they can't get to the heart of why they've been perpetual F1 also-rans since 2007. There's no excuse for the F14T to be as throughly uncompetitive as it is given that Ferrari has one of the largest budget and resource pools, as well as two of the best drivers in the world. About the only silver lining I can see is that their GT cars have a competitive record.
        JanP
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Mondrell
        Maybe all the brains left Italy. Despite the prestige of working at Ferrari, UK is now the Silicon Valley of Formula 1.
      Kyle Chessman
      • 6 Months Ago
      I hope all of the teams pull out of Formula 1, and then create formula zero. Where the only restriction is that whoever gets a person around the track quickest wins. Screw the Luddite, Bernie Ecclestone.
      Moreno636
      • 6 Months Ago
      LOL @ Ferrari taking their ball and going home...
      Cool Disco Dan
      • 6 Months Ago
      F1 has run its course and become a former shell of it self with the constant rule changing and arbitrary rulings. It is a dying venue and endurance racing is where all the great tech is going.
        JanP
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Cool Disco Dan
        Besides, the engine specification change, a first significant engine spec change since late 1980s, F1 had pretty stable regulations. It is the WEC that's a former shell of itself. The balance of performance is continuously and arbitrarily adjusted on all cars, but no one cares about its races besides the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Without clinging onto the LeMans brand, WEC wouldn't even exist. Last year, the "dying" ALMS race at COTA had more spectators than the WEC the following day, while Moto GP at COTA attracts more fans than ALMS/WEC combined.
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Cool Disco Dan
        [blocked]
      • 6 Months Ago
      Getting out before the F1 Ponzi scheme falls apart!
      hokkaido76
      • 6 Months Ago
      All that's going on here is that they are throwing a *itch fit that their V6 sucks, indicating they can't win with it, and are threatening to "take their ball and go home" if they don't get their way. Let them leave........
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