Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admits Ferrari’s departure from Formula 1 would be damaging for the sport but says there is a limit on the concessions the Scuderia can receive.
At present, Ferrari gets a large bonus payment simply based on its historical status within F1, meaning it often earns the most money each season despite having not won a constructors’ championship since 2008. The team also has the ability to veto changes to the sport, though it has rarely invoked that option.
With Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne having threatened to quit the sport as he is unhappy about future power unit regulation proposals – a stance he reiterated this week – when asked if Ferrari’s departure would damage F1, Horner replied: “Of course.
“We want to race against Ferrari – Ferrari is one of the most prestigious brands in F1. Would F1 survive without Ferrari? Of course it would. But we’d far rather race in a F1 with Ferrari than without. But the question as well is, would leaving F1 damage Ferrari?”
When it was put to Horner that it could be better for Red Bull if Ferrari left, as it would remove one team’s ability to single-handedly block regulation changes, he admitted Liberty Media has to decide how much it values Ferrari’s presence.
“That is a question for the commercial rights holder, whether they want to give them that kind of [advantage]. Do they want to play on a level playing field or do they want a skewed playing field that is not a level competing playground?”
On Monday during Ferrari’s annual Christmas lunch for the media at Maranello, Marchionne said he was confident F1 will eventually make “decisions for the future that will satisfy everyone” before adding: “Otherwise Ferrari will leave. If they believe that we are bluffing, they are playing with fire.”
The current agreements committing Ferrari to race in Formula 1 run until the end of the 2020 season, when the current power unit regulations are also set to change.