Ferrari ‘encouraged’ by change in F1 attitude

Mat Coch

Friday 4th May, 2018 - 11:10am

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Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has admitted he’s been left encouraged by what he sees as a change in attitude from Formula 1 as it formulates the sport’s rules for 2021 and beyond.

Having previously threatened to leave F1 should the rules not be to Ferrari’s liking, Marchionne’s opinion has softened slightly in the wake of ongoing discussions.

“I’m encouraged by the change in the attitude that we are seeing from Liberty in terms of the extent of the changes that they’re forecasting in 2021,” Marchionne said.

“Probably the biggest indication has been the recognition of the fact that the engine regulations need to reflect sort of the nature of the sport, and we can’t really dumb down engine development just to accommodate new entries, right?

“So the stuff that’s on the table now is potentially workable as a system.”

Key among the unresolved topics for Marchionne remains the use of standardised parts, a point he has routinely baulked at.

“I think we now have enough of a basis to try start having meaningful discussions. And hopefully, we’ll get it all resolved by the end of this year one way or the other,” he ventured.

Along with technical changes, the sport’s commercial rights holders, Liberty Media, are also looking to implement a cost cap system in an attempt to level the playing field between the front and back of the grid.

Teams at the front are thought to be spending in excess of $330million a season, with Liberty Media looking to introduce a cap just below $200million.

The sport’s longest serving team, Ferrari has typically received preferential treatment in deference to its historical position on the grid.

That has come in the form of a veto on regulations it doesn’t like, and additional prize money payments that see it earn more than any other team directly from the sport.

While in favour of reducing the cost of aerodynamic development, Marchionne is concerned that its introduction would stymie development in areas that are core to Ferrari’s business, primarily the powertrain, “because that is at the heart of what Ferrari does for a living,” he reasoned.

“I think we need to continue to work with Liberty with the commercial rights holders and with the (governing body) FIA to try and bring about a sensible equilibrium. If we can’t, as I said before, we’ll just pull out.

“But we’re not there today. I think we owe the sport a phenomenal effort to try and bring about closure of these items. We’ll try and get that done before the end of this year.”

Ferrari currently heads the constructors’ title by four points over Mercedes, while Sebastian Vettel sits second on the drivers’ standings behind Lewis Hamilton.

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