Ferrari braces for ‘long, complicated’ talks with Liberty over F1 future.
Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene says the Italian manufacturer is open and willing to negotiate its current deal in Formula 1 with new owners Liberty Media while as a quit threat overhangs the squad.
President Sergio Marchionne issued a threat to withdraw Ferrari from F1 following the release of the potential engine blueprint for the 2021 regulation changes, as well as its financial distribution share which would be potentially altered in a new deal with Liberty.
Speaking before Marchionne’s quit statement at the Mexican Grand Prix, Arrivabene says Ferrari is keen to discuss its future financial package with Liberty but doesn’t expect any quick fixes.
world constructors’ championship, a figure boosted by an estimated $60-70million payment as a ‘long-standing team’ as the only squad to contest every F1 season in history.
“At the moment we have a contract with the commercial owner of Formula One and it’s quite clear on how we have the distribution, the financial distribution in the future,” Arrivabene said. “It’s something that we need to discuss.
“Distribution also means commitment to Formula One. The first thing is to commit to do this sport and to do it well and not to come in for one or two years and then disappear and close the factory.
Arrivabene also laced a small dig at Liberty and the FIA by insisting it is they who run the sport rather than Ferrari after the Italian manufacturer had been accused of wielding too much power in F1 with a potential veto against rule changes.
“Our job is to build cars and to manufacture the engine,” he said. “Their job is to run the business so we don’t have to mix this up otherwise it’s going to be a nightmare.”
That’s the view of former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
Ferrari is the most successful team in F1 history with its 15 drivers’ titles to its name but have struggled to achieve victory since 2008.
Ferrari have struggled since F1’s switch from a 2.4-litre V8 to a more environmentally-friendly 1.6-litre V6 turbo in 2014.
Earlier this week Ferrari unveiled plans to use a cheaper and simpler version of the same engine when their contract expires at the end of 2020.
And Ecclestone fears the Italian team could follow through with their threat to quit the sport if F1’s American owners Liberty Media don’t listen.
“If they can’t win, they will put forward new regulations,” he told the Independent.
“If the regulations come out where Ferrari think it is going to be a struggle and they can’t support the money then they will leave.”
Ecclestone boosted Ferrari’s prize money when the team threatened to quit in the past with £160m awarded annually and £80m of it guaranteed before a single race even begins.
Liberty Media are expected to announce next week plans to introduce a budget cap and balance the prize money to level the playing field that would put a stop to Ferrari’s bonus.
“They don’t want budget caps and all that,” Ecclestone added.
“They want to spend what they can afford to spend and I’ve always said the same thing.
“If people can’t spend they have to go.
“If there are then only three or four teams something would have to be done but until that actually happens nobody is going to do anything.
“All the teams that say they can’t afford it shouldn’t put an entry in.”
Ferrari is the only team which has been in the F1 since the championship as created in 1950.