Formula One Responds to Ferrari's Unenthusiastic Reaction to New Rules

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
formula one responds to ferrari s unenthusiastic reaction to new rules

Last week, Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne expressed his distaste for what he perceived as a less-than-desirable update to Formula One’s engine rules. He even suggested the brand might remove itself from the sport if Liberty Media doesn’t reconsider some of its proposals for 2021.

“I understand that Liberty may have taken these into account in coming up with their views,” Marchionne said. “But I think it needs to be absolutely clear that unless we find a set of circumstances, the results of which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand, and the marketplace, and to the strengthening of the unique position for Ferrari, Ferrari will not play.”

Still in the midst of discussions, Formula One took time to defend itself against Ferrari’s claim that the new rules would make it the global equivalent of NASCAR.

“Actually I don’t think we have a differing view to Ferrari,” F1 CEO Chase Carey explained to Motorsport. “I’m not trying to be derogatory to NASCAR, but we don’t plan to be NASCAR either.”

“We don’t want to standardize the cars. We don’t want 20 identical cars going round the track, and the only difference is the driver,” he continued. “F1 is unique, and it marries up competitive sport to state-of-the-art technology. We want the teams to have the ability to do what they do to create cars that are unique to them — unique engines to them, unique bodies to them. But we want to make success dependent on how well you spend your resources within some constraints, versus how much you spend. I think that’s a healthier sport.”

Under Liberty Media’s ownership, Formula One has repeatedly expressed an interest in appeasing its fan base, but has been less enthusiastic when it comes to the participating teams. It also makes more money when more people watch, and thinks closer races with louder, less complex engines would be a good way to bolster viewership.

“We want teams to compete to win, but we want all the teams to have a chance,” Carey said. “It’s never going to be equal, there are going to be favorites that evolve, but we want the teams to feel that they all have a fighting chance. Sports are built on the unexpected, and we do want a sport that can have the unexpected.”

“If somebody wins every race every week, at the end of the day, the sport’s going to suffer,” he continued. “You need competition, you need the unknown, you need great finishes, you need great dramas. We’ve got to create that. That attracts more funds, and realistically that benefits all the teams in the sport. Our first priority is to make this sport much better for us, and the existing teams in it.”

Carey didn’t say so explicitly, but it appears Formula One is calling Ferrari’s bluff on quitting in 2021 if it doesn’t get its way. Of course, Ferrari isn’t alone — Mercedes and Renault have also expressed doubts regarding the updated regulations. On the upside, rumor has it that Aston Martin, Ilmor, Cosworth, and Porsche have all been sniffing around Formula One since the new rules were announced.

[Image: Federation Internationale de l’Automobile]

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