Ferrari threat: Marchionne is serious about that threat to leave

Iv’e read all the “don’t let the door hit you in the &*$ on the way out” comments from Formula 1 fans who have no love of Ferrari but while that may be the knee-jerk reaction from non-fans, it ignores the impact Ferrari has on the sport’s brand and livelihood. Some consider the threat to leave as an empty threat but CEO Sergio Marchionne says that’s not he case:

“We have a dialogue that is evolving, and we still have some time to find points of contact between our differences,” said Marchionne.

“Our position is clear, though: the agreement that we made with Sauber expires in 2020, just in case [after that date] Ferrari is not in F1.

“This possibility is serious. The differences are not small, but Chase and I share the belief that we should find a meeting point for the good of the sport.

“We have been very clear on the points that Ferrari cannot give up: the importance of the development of technology is essential for us. We cannot make the cars equal to the point that they can no longer be recognisable on the technological front.

“The heart of Ferrari is technical development. If the direction is not this, then Ferrari will find other contexts to demonstrate its skill on track – and maybe at that time we will also be with Sauber.

“We have doubled the efforts to find a solution with Chase, but we have no way given up our goals.”

As odd as it may seem, Ferrari went into the new hybrid era dragging their feet under Luca di Montezemolo but with Sergio, if there was a reason the sport will stay with the current format, it will be with Ferrari’s strong recommendation.

The challenge, as Sergio rightly points out, is that a cost cap is nearly impossible to manage and that would leave standardization as a way of mitigating costs but he isn’t keen on that either as it loses the bespoke and individual nature of F1 and he doesn’t want Ferrari to not be a Ferrari. I am sure Mercedes feels very similar.

So what’s the answer? Well, it has to be addressed because Ferrari only signed a Alfa Romeo deal with Sauber through 2020 meaning that if Ferrari leaves, so will Alfa.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Salvu Borg

Not only Mercedes feels very similar but also Renault and Honda does, even so they seems to have no chance at least at present of beating FERRARI and Mercedes, the four manufacturers present in F1 knows that the only future left for the ICE is it’s electrification which leads to the maximum possible efficiency.

charlie white

I’m putting my money on Liberty Media on this showdown. Every 3 days, there’s a new angle or quote from Sergio Marchionne on this threat. But we hear very little from Liberty’s chosen 3 Wise Men(Chase, Sean & Ross). Sergio may be sawing on the very tree branch where he sits as this blustery talk could very carry over to impact FCA’s primary business and market: selling cars in the USA and search for a potential merger partner in North America. I think the 3 Wise Men have already projected a Formula-1 business plan that does not include Ferrari and… Read more »


They say it’s better to stay quite and let them believe you are a fool rather than open you mouth and prove them right.


I don’t want to see any teams go… Even a Manor leaving has a lasting impact on the sport. I do feel for Sergio though and this is a bit mean spirited, but it’s almost as if he feels he’s not being heard… hey, guys… it’s me… I’m going to quit unless I get my way… hey… hello… can you hear me… I said I was serious… steering wheel! ;)

Paul KieferJr

No bet, you’re probably right.


Option 1: Status Quo… Ferrari keeps the lucrative advantages (and the sport will stay forever harmed. Option 2: Ferrari accepts that the sport is changing with or without it. They need to give up the veto ability. They, and other teams, need to give up the legacy payments (payments will step down over a period of time and go into the general prize pot). I love Ferrari very much want them to stay. F1 and Ferrari will both be better off with them in the sport but not at its current state. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and probably… Read more »


I’m solidly in the ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ camp, and I do like Ferrari (not big on the finger guy though). I don’t take the consequences of their threat lightly, but also look at history to tell me how serious they are on execution of the threat. What percentage of the sport do you consider Ferrari to be a part of (25, 50, 100%….)? I would say somewhere under 50%, probably closer to 25. It seems Ferrari think they are in the 75+ range and that is what most fans, Ferrari fans or not,… Read more »

Salvu Borg

What has been pushed out by LM up to now as regards the 2021 PU is all about limiting technological development.


You proved my point, the arguments to this point have been nothing but generalizations. What specifically are the team’s upset with that is preventing technological development in the ‘proposed’ regulations? Which proposals are good and don’t need to be discussed further? Which ones need compromise? Which ones are a definite no-go, even with compromises? I’ll start… 1) 1.6 Litre, V6 Turbo Hybrid -> Build what you want, just make it 6 cylinders and 1.6 liter, with a turbo and hybrid. Seems fair and very open to development and could be argued as road car relevant in the short term until… Read more »

Negative Camber

You’re right in that generalizations are all we’re hearing about but perhaps there are much more detailed discussions between Sergio and Chase that we just don’t know about?


Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. These are big boys running big companies with more money on the line then I will ever see. I guess there will always be a posturing side to it as well as a ‘behind the scenes’ side to it. I hope cooler heads prevail as what is being said publicly seems to be over the top at the moment. I’m sure there is agreement with the majority of the points with a few tweaks being what needs to be hashed out. Even at this point the tweaks could be major but we have at least… Read more »

Salvu Borg

The aim/scope behind the points pushed out up to now by LM as regards the 2021 PU are 100% intended to arrest/limit the PU technical advancements/developments, not only that, but plus drastically reducing what has been achieved.
And, any present power unit out of the four being produced can be bolted direct to any of the present chassis, so goes for any of the present gearboxes, can be bolted directly to any of the present power units. these mounting bolts patterns have been standardized since the 2.4l NA V8.

Salvu Borg

As I said elsewhere on here, history shows that every time FERRARI threatened to quit the other side backed-off. All we have to do is wait and see what will happen this time round, I was one of the first to state on here that what LM has pushed out up to now as regards the 2021 power unit is just one part of LM’S power struggle the aim of which is to be able to milk the system as best they could. But up to this point we can only talk about what LM has pushed out so far,… Read more »

peter riva

oh, good God. How many more problems are they going to face us with? We must not lose Ferrari. Or Alfa (which was darned good news).

Tom Firth

Marchionne had no option but to go back to the press and say we are serious about our quit threat, right? Given that after the Alfa Romeo announcement, the view of most of the F1 press was that Ferrari’s threat was an empty threat because of the increased commitment from sister company FCA?

If he’d kept quiet, the press and Liberty would have considered that to be the truth of the matter. Reiterating the threat, simply puts Ferrari back in the bargaining position for 2021?

Salvu Borg

Agree, that was what I thought Carry and Totd believed when they promptly went to the Alfa/Sauber presentation, in fact LM’S present pet (the spiceman) was the fastest of the lot going out and spelling just that. and that is why Marchionne wanted them right in front of him to repeat to their face and remind them that his quit threat still holds.

Paul KieferJr

Do not let the inmates run the asylum! ASSERT YOUR AUTHOR-A-TAY!!! :P


I swear, and this is not an insult in case you are not one, but I swear your an ex-navy nuke! Any chance of that?

Paul KieferJr

Not quite. Air Force brat. Several generations in military or civilian service, all the way back to the US Revolution. Late grandfather was Army Air Corps in WW2. I probably got it from him.


Maybe he should focus on bringing reliability and engineering to Chrysler and Fiat….