Ferrari and other Formula One manufacturers are unhappy with proposed changes to the racing series’ engine rules, which are set to come into play from 2021.
Sergio Marchionne, outspoken head of both Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler, has even threatened to withdraw the brand from competition if the proposed changes are pushed through in their current state.
As reported by CNN, Marchionne told analysts during a conference call, “If we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognisable sandbox, I don’t want to play anymore”.
Above: Sergio Marchionne.
Marchionne’s key objection is “powertrain uniqueness is not going to be one of the drivers of distinctiveness of the participants’ line-up”. He flatly stated, “I don’t want to play NASCAR globally”.
The proposed changes are intended to simplify and reduce the cost of the series’ turbocharged V6 hybrid engines, which, it’s hoped, will entice new manufactures and engine makers to Formula One, as well as reduce the costs for teams purchasing engines from their competitors.
Additionally, the new rules would see engines rev higher and, hopefully, make a more pleasing noise for spectators.
The changes were proposed by the FIA (International Automobile Federation) and Liberty Media, the US-based company that bought Formula One from Bernie Ecclestone and his financial partners in 2016 for US$4.4 billion ($5.7 billion).
Cyril Abiteboul, chief of Renault’s Formula One efforts, is more supportive, saying the proposals are a good starting point, but noting many details, especially regarding chassis and revenue sharing, are still missing.
Red Bull, which has struggled in recent years, has been more positive about the proposed changes.
The current contract between Formula One and its 10 participating teams expires at the end of the 2020. At that point, existing teams can walk away without penalty.
Discussions between the Formula One teams and Liberty Media are set to continue.