Ferrari: We’re not bluffing over threat to quit F1

Sergio Marchionne says that threats to quit Formula 1 are serious

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne claims that suggestions he is bluffing about potentially quitting Formula 1 are “playing with fire.”

Marchionne is threatening to pull Ferrari from F1 if new regulations, to be introduced in 2021, are not to its liking.

While there is scepticism about his comments after a number of threats to walk out of the championship over the years, Marchionne is adamant that it is a live option.

“Some people say that our threat about the 2020/2021 regulations is a bluff, but they’re playing with fire,” Marchionne said at Ferrari’s traditional pre-Christmas media dinner on Monday.

“The situation has changed since 2015. Starting from that moment, everyone knows that if we threaten to do something, we do it.

“One of the greatest advantages is that the current Concorde Agreement (between teams and F1) is very different from previous ones and ensures a greater contractual freedom, even during the agreement with Liberty Media.

“The previous contract 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.

“If we can’t find that, then Ferrari has to go away.

“If Ferrari can pull out other teams, we have to see it from an economical point of view, but I think that we are able to do it.”

Marchionne said he remains “bothered” by F1’s new owner trying to simplify the technical side of the cars for the future.

“The main thing that bothers me is that inside Liberty Media there is a person with great experience in F1, which is Ross Brawn, who is trying to giving a direction that is not in the DNA of the sport,” he added.

“We have been part of F1’s history, so we understand bullshit and we understand F1.

“We have a race department that works only on F1, so we know F1 well.

“We have to try to balance (Liberty’s) interests with ours, but I think that we can arrive to that in time to avoid Ferrari’s exit from Formula 1.”

In other Ferrari news, the Prancing Horse will launch its 2018 car online on February 22.

Pre-season testing begins in Barcelona on February 26.

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