In the most doubt-inducing way possible, Ferrari wants everyone to know that it is really, really serious about its threat to quit Formula One. Ferrari doesn’t like what F1’s new owners are doing, and now the company’s temper tantrum is getting so big that it tossed up the idea of creating its own rival racing series.
Ferrari’s recent round of quit threats started about two months ago amidst F1’s owners making a lot of changes, including potentially big changes to the series’ regulations. F1’s next rules overhaul will come in 2021, and its owners said at the end of October that they wanted it to include louder and cheaper engines.
The owners plan to get there by simplifying components and having stricter design parameters, keeping teams from getting too extreme or certain teams from getting too far ahead—something F1’s long been associated with, and something that’s favored Ferrari’s team.
Considering that it’s regularly one of the highest spenders in the series, all of that doesn’t sit well with Ferrari. Fiat Chrysler CEO and head of Ferrari Sergio Marchionne got involved almost immediately after the news about 2021 came out, saying Ferrari would be out if F1 became “unrecognizable.” He doesn’t want “to play NASCAR globally,” he said, referring to the cars being too alike.
And Marchionne’s still at it, making a big fuss about what he could do if F1 doesn’t accommodate his wishes and keep things the same as they have been in the past. This time, Motorsport.com reports that he got going about how people are “playing with fire” about this one at Ferrari’s media Christmas dinner.
“The previous contract [between teams and F1] made it impossible for the team to evaluate an alternative outside of the circus. Now we can analyse the possibility to create something similar to Formula 1 in terms of a show.”
Marchionne believes creating an alternative series to F1 is a feasible option if the teams get together to make it happen.
“There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020/2021,” he said. “We can’t ignore this possibility, but I prefer avoid it if we can.
“I would like to continue with Formula 1, but we have to find compromises that don’t leave Ferrari without the possibility of showing its DNA in every race. ...”