Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has warned that Formula 1’s most iconic team are “at odds” with Liberty Media’s engine proposals and could quit the sport after 2020 if it is not happy with their plans for the future.
F1’s owners revealed their engine blueprint for 2021 earlier this week but their initial outlines, which include removing the MGU-H, have already been met with scepticism by manufacturers – and Ferrari are the first team to have threatened to stop racing entirely.
Marchionne, speaking in a conference call with analysts to discuss Ferrari’s latest financial results, said that while he agreed with cutting costs, he was not happy with the direction Liberty Media were taking F1.
“It (F1) has been part of our DNA since the day we were born,” he said, via Reuters.
“But if we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognizable sandbox, I don’t want to play anymore.”
It is by no means the first time Ferrari, the only team to have competed in every F1 season since its inauguration in 1950, have hinted at leaving the sport over changing regulations, though Marchionne hasn’t issued such a quit threat in some time.
And asked how he would feel about being the chairman who led Ferrari out of the sport, he replied: “Like a million bucks because I’ll be working on an alternative strategy to try and replace it. More rational one, too.”
Not only are Ferrari F1’s most historic team and a source of Italian pride, but they are also the sport’s most successful outfit with 16 Constructors’ Championships and 15 drivers’ titles, and their current revenue share reflects that status.
However, the Scuderia are approaching 10 years without a trophy after an improved but ultimately disappointing 2017 season, and are currently only signed up to compete until the end of 2020.
Liberty Media, meanwhile, who took charge of F1 in January, have set their sights on leveling the playing field both on-track and off-track and their engine plans include cheaper, louder and simpler power units.
“Liberty has got a couple of good intentions in all of this, one of which is to reduce the cost of execution for the team, which I think is good,” Marchionne, in charge of the Maranello outfit since 2014, added.
“But the fact is that we now appear to be at odds in terms of the strategic development, and we see the sport in 2021 taking on a different air. It is going to force some decisions on the part of Ferrari.