Scuderia Ferrari met this morning at their Maranello headquarters to discuss the team’s future involvement in Formula One. The meeting came about after the FIA introduced a voluntary £40m budget cap in order to reduce costs and bring the level of entry down in the sport. However, like Toyota and Red Bull, Ferrari are not happy with the two-tier formula this would create have have finally stated that if the proposal remains unchanged they will not enter the 2010 championship.
Ferrari are the sport’s oldest and most successful team, having entered cars in the inaugural 1950 season when the World Drivers Championship was first run. Eight years later, when the World Constructors Championship was introduced, the formation of the team was complete and the company began to grow into not just a racing team, but also a sports car manufacturer, developing and building luxury cars for use on the public roads.
The company is one of the most recognised brands in the auto industry and their products are sought after by almost anyone who has even a passing interest in cars. Posters of Ferraris adorn the walls of many young children the world over and they always gain attention when driven around in public. Gestione Sportiva, the Formula One side of the company, is one of the most popular teams in the sport, and their drivers are adored by fans not just in Italy by the Tifosi, but in just about every country on the planet.
The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA’s endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula 1 are the priorities for the future.
If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship. Ferrari Statement.
However, the debate continues as to whether or not Formula One can continue without its most prestigious team. Some say, and I agree with, that Formula One can survive and flourish without Ferrari. There have been other big name and high profile disappearances of teams in the past, Lotus, Brabham and Tyrrell being just three. The point isn’t necessarily about the future of Formula One in relation to its competitors. The point should be about the future of Formula One in relation to its rules and management.
From a commercial perspective, Bernie Ecclestone would like for Ferrari to remain as they make him a lot of money, bringing in fans and helping to put bums-on-seats at the races. But Max Mosley isn’t one to buckle under this pressure and feels that the sport can and will continue should the red cars not enter.
I guess only time will tell; the deadline for entry for the 2010 championship falls at the end of May, and currently only those teams whose businesses rely on Formula One will be entering (ie. Williams). Talks are due to be held between FOTA and the FIA, and in all honesty this issue will very likely be resolved. For the mean time though, it doesn’t look particularly pretty, nor does it look calm and peaceful. The 2009 championship may be exhilarating on the track, but in the boardrooms it is an entirely different story.