Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has issued a threat to withdraw the team from Formula 1 following the meeting in which the sport’s future power unit plans were outlined.
The meeting on Tuesday saw the FIA and F1 reveal proposals to stick with a V6 turbocharged power unit beyond 2020 but remove the MGU-H and simplify a number of areas in order to reduce the cost and make it easier for new manufacturers to enter the sport. The response from the manufacturers currently involved has been largely negative, with Marchionne warning Ferrari would not remain in the sport if it isn’t happy with the regulations.
Speaking on an analysts call on Thursday, Marchionne warned Ferrari “will not play” if it doesn’t see the benefit of any future power unit direction.
“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 said. “But there are a couple of things we don’t necessarily agree with.
“One is the fact that somehow powertrain uniqueness is not going to be one of the drivers of distinctiveness of the participants line-up. I would not countenance this going forward.
“The fact that we now appear to be at odds in terms of the strategic development of this thing, and we see the sport in 2021 taking on a different air, is going to force some decisions on the part of Ferrari.
“I understand that Liberty may have taken these into account in coming up with their views, 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.”
While Marchionne (pictured above) insists he retains good intentions heading into a Strategy Group meeting next week, he believes any decision to withdraw from F1 would be “totally beneficial” from a financial point of view.
“We would be celebrating here until the cows come home,” Marchionne added.
“What I do know is that it [F1] has been part of our DNA since the day we were born. It’s not as though we can define ourselves differently. But if we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognizable sandbox, I don’t want to play anymore.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is quoted by the BBC as reacting to the new power unit proposals with “strong skepticism,” adding that “it portrays it in a way of, ‘This is how we’re going forward’ and none of the current OEMs (car manufacturers in F1) was particularly impressed.”