Formula 1 and the FIA announced on April 20th that they had assembled a vision of what the regulations could look like regarding the engine formula for 2021. You’ll recall that Ferrari boss, Sergio Marchionne, had said previously that he was not in favor of standardization and a reverse in powertrain technology. If F1 headed down that road, to appeal to potential entrants, Ferrari would leave the sport.
It seems those announcements on the 20th were met with s modicum of optimism from Marchionne as he said:
“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,” he 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. The economics are not,” he added. “I think that’s something that we need to go back to Liberty with.”
Agreeing to an engine format is one thing but the budget cap is something altogether different and Marchionne believes there is a lot of discussion to take place around that topic. Capping costs would make the sport more appealing to smaller teams who may want to enter F1 but just how they get to a lower cost is another matter.
In the end, Ferrari make engines that have been the anchor to their success and Sergio isn’t keen to mess with that technology innovation trajectory.
“The important thing for us… is that we don’t touch the nature of the technical development of the powertrains because that is at the heart of what Ferrari does for a living,” he emphasised.
“I think we need to continue to work with Liberty with the commercial rights holders and with the (governing) 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.”
Perhaps there is room to negotiate for 2021 and if some of the details get ironed out, Ferrari may be staying after all. If I’m honest, I felt like the biggest initial hurdle would be the powertrain but perhaps F1 and the FIA have arrived at a manageable solution with their proposed hybrid turbo V6 with no MGU-H.
The bigger question now is the cost of that engine and capping the amount teams spend on the sport. This is nothing new, it was the very thing that crumbled the Formula One Team’s Association (FOTA) several years ago. It is and has always been a sport of the “Have’s” and the “Have Yachts”.
Hat Tip: Eurosport