Ferrari weigh in on 2021 engine rules

The talk all week has centered around the proposed engine changes for 2021 as well as cost-caps and other decision new owners of F1, Liberty Media, have announced. Mercedes and Renault were quick to voice their opinion about deviating from the engine format as it would be a new engine and possible start and arms race or at least, be very expensive in R&D.

They are right, of course, it would be expensive to re-design an entirely new engine but none of them were that concerned about that back in 2013. They spent a fortune on the current hybrid engines and then cast their R&D cost off on engine supply contracts that double and nearly tripled depending on who you ask. Three teams are now pushing up daisies over the issue.

True to form, Ferrari have now weighed in on the issue and not surprisingly, they also aren’t happy. There weren’t happy back in 2013 either but now that they’ve invested heavily in hybrid technology, perhaps they aren’t keen to walk away from it either. Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said:

“The fact that we now appear to be at odds in terms of the strategic development of this thing, and we see the sport in 2021 taking on a different air, is going to force some decisions on the part of Ferrari.

“I understand that Liberty may have taken these into account in coming up with their views, but I think it needs to be absolutely clear that unless we find a set of circumstances, the results of which are beneficial to the maintenance of the brand, and the marketplace, and to the strengthening of the unique position for Ferrari, Ferrari will not play.”

It’s not the first time Ferrari have threatened to leave the sport and there are some fans that would like it if they did but the last time Ferrari threatened to leave, it was helmed by a different man. Marchionne doesn’t seem to have quite the attachment to the F1 world that Luca di Montezeolo had. Luca had never know anything different than F1 and Ferrari but Marchionne comes from Fiat and he’s more than happy to stop the expense that F1 represents.

“It would be totally beneficial to the P&L [profits and losses],” he said.

“We would be celebrating here until the cows come home.

“What I do know is that it [F1] has been part of our DNA since the day we were born.

“It’s not as though we can define ourselves differently.

“But if we change the sandbox to the point where it becomes an unrecognisable sandbox, I don’t want to play any more.”

Marchionne said he would have no problem terminating the program.

“I’d be working on an alternative strategy to try and replace it,” he said. “A more rational one, too”.

Ferrari also have a veto option baked in to their bilateral contract with F1 and could threaten to use that should they not like the direction F1 is heading. A meeting is to be held next Tuesday to discuss the matter further and Ferrari say they are heading into the meeting with the best of intentions.

We’ve been talking about this moment since last Fall when it was rumored that Liberty would be buying controlling ownership. The fact is, they’ve spent the first part of the year allowing more social media, adding a “fan zone” and talking about NFL-style events and have been praised for their openness and new approach to F1. To be honest, that’s the low-hanging fruit, the really tough part of their ownership will start now.

As we’ve said in the past, retaining the manufacturers, finding parity in performance between the teams, cost-caps, engine regulations…none of this is easy and it will test the resolve and compromise of Liberty Media. This, then, is the main reason they hired Ross Brawn. Few people know the sort at a granular level and this is where Mr. Ecclestone used to earn the big bucks.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Maybe I’m just not that up on F1 technology as I thought I was. Someone needs to explain why the proposed formula is all that different. From my view I’m not seeing a justification to the quit threat. Is it because they do not want to loose their advantage? I don’t think they are in as great a shape as they think with RBR and McLaren possibly in the hunt next year.


No, it’s the money. With Ferrari, it’s always the money.


I obviously don’t know their balance sheet, but I wonder how much of their own money do they pump into the F1 program… it may be less than people assume.

Tom Firth

Think its Ferrari setting up their stall ahead of the 2020 commercial deal contract negotiations with Liberty.


Yea, I just read another article that they loose their veto right in 2020… typical negotiating tactic

Negative Camber

That’s when the bilateral agreements with the teams end.


In 2016 they earned $180m in prize money, supplemented by around $50m for engine supply and technical help to two teams. They also get around $150m a year in sponsorship – the Philip Morriselrment is the largest, at close to $100m in its own.

Their spend in the same period was around $440m, so the true cost to run the team was circa $60m. Not cheap, but a lot less than you might have thought.

Salvu Borg

Some calculations people in the know could conclude: 18K RPM. 120KG/H fuel flow. 6-8 engines per driver. some energy goes to making engine laud. additional frictional losses due to higher combustion count. loss in total thermal efficiency. sound a shade lauder as turbo “corcking” will still be present.
Most of the parts that make-up the PU will be standardized, rendering the PU/engine more or less a standard series engine.
And, both Aston Martin, RBR and McLaren will be able to stick any plastic sticker on the valve covers of their chose.

Salvu Borg

“I don’t want to play NASCAR GLOBALLY” meaning racing a standard car with a mostly standard engine and the use and employment of artificial means to keep the racing close.
One question, why keep calling Liberty “OWNERS OF F1?”.
Another question, since when the “COMMERCIAL RIGHTS OWNERS OF F1” have the right to make or change engine rules or regulations?>


Please, for the love of all things holy, can you STOP SHOUTING?



I would say whoever owns the commercial rights to F1 are the owners. I think people are just trying to play semantics to further their agenda.

By artificial are you talking DRS? It depends on what the owners of the sport want, do they want to showcase the technology or the driver talent. The driver gets all the credit these days, but quite frankly most of the current crop of drivers could have won at least 2 championships in the Merc.

Salvu Borg

Whoever owns the commercial rights of F1 are the owners of the commercial rights of F1 and not the owner of F1.
What was stolen from the teams and sold to MR F1 was the commercial rights, of which they were then sold to CVC, and CVC then selling them to Liberty.


So take away the commercial rights and what do you have left…nothing. My point being, without the commercial rights to F1, F1 doesn’t exist.

Salvu Borg

The commercial rights of formula one exists because of F1. F1 can exists without it’s own commercial rights permitting others to milk the system. and make no mistake about it, it is the formula one commercial rights owners milking of F1 of which this fresh problem revolves about.


Ok, but F1 (or Formula 1, or Formula One, or FIA Formula One World Championship, or Formula One Group) is owned by Liberty.
Please Take a look at these links and do your own research outside of forums. I think you’ll be surprised what Liberty actually own.
And I hate to use Wikipedia as a reference, but

Salvu Borg

That Liberty owns a lot there should be no doubt, among the lot they own is the commercial rights of Formula 1 but not Formula 1. Owning the commercial rights of Formula 1 does not give them the right to make or change rules or regulations. if you go back have a look at what was Ross Brawn’s reactions and actions when rules and regulations were attempted to be forced on teams by two buddies, one managing the FIA and the other the commercial rights that included among others engines concessions for new entrants and the enforcement of a set… Read more »


Looks like we agree but using different wording. FIA does not equal Formula 1. Liberty do not own the FIA, but they do own Formula 1 (commercial or otherwise). I agree 100% that the regulations are under the ownership of the FIA (not formula 1). But the FIA are a international organization that has F1 as one of its many affiliates), but neither owns the other (I think that conflict was resolved during the sale to liberty). You need to separate Formula 1 from the FIA once you start talking about ownership. So in affect we are saying that Liberty… Read more »

Salvu Borg

Some corrections. I do not and cannot agree with confused wording and reasoning. Liberty does neither own FIA nor F1. What they own is the commercial rights of F1. liberty the F1 commercial rights owners have no right to dictate/impose or make rules and regulations. This here page subject is about what was pushed out, namely the 9 point new roadmap for the 2021 new engine. what Liberty intends to push out later on we will yet have to see, only after they do can we talk about it/agree or disagree.


What is wrong with NASCAR globally? I only watch the races occasionally, but the sport puts drivers in relatively equal equipment and highlights driver talent over technology. I rather enjoy watching some new guy with loads of talent, in a single car team, with little sponsorship, racing up front with the big guys. Now, that doesn’t happen too often because those great drivers then get promoted to teams with big budgets. I’m not going to say they do not have pay drivers in NASCAR, but proportionally F1 has many more pay drivers because the emphasis is on money and not… Read more »

fk Bobby Turkalino

You might like the NASCAR show, but that show isn’t at all the F1 show.


I’m not saying I like the ‘show’ (I don’t). I do watch nascar but the show is put on by the promoters and the networks. NASCAR provides the racing rights and regulations. It’s the technical part that I like which allows he sport to highlight driver talent.


At times like this I can only be guided by the wisdom of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive:

“Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?”

charlie white

“play NASCAR globally”, an interesting comment from Marchionne
considering FCA’s North American arm Chrysler could compete in two
NASCAR series but they do not. They don’t play NASCAR domestically either.


Where does that quote come from? I don’t see it in the article or the source link.

Salvu Borg

No it is not in this article but the quote “I don’t want to play nascar globally” was part of his statement.

Are Buntz

Perhaps Ferrari actually like the new engine rules but know that if they say they do not then Mercedes and Renault will change their mind just to oppose Ferrari?


Ferrari are as likely to leave F1 as Manchester United are to leave the Premier League or the Yankees are to leave MLB. The FIA needs to have the courage of its convictions when it comes to moving the sport forward.

Junipero Mariano

Stupid Earth going around the Sun! See what you made Ferrari do!


If Liberty is trying to render manufacturers impotent in decision making process, or chase them out of this series, then they are doing a bang up job, regardless how shortsighted (IMHO) that is. Manufactures and their investment is what creates the show which made for so many years CVC financially happy. Well, I too had good run with the F1 for 43 years, from Alain, Michael and now Seb, and one day it had to end. That day might very well be three years down the road, and the only thing is, I was hoping it will be happy good… Read more »


The FIA/Liberty Media statements on the 2021+ power units and the statements of Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari all seem like the ‘big dogs’ setting out their initial positions ahead of getting down to the serious negotiations. It seems they all agree that its going to be a icu/electric hybrid, probably based on a 1600cc V6 turbo charged I.c.u, but after that it starts to diverge. Equally it looks like setting the p.u regulations is deeply tangled up in the process and posturing around establishing the commercial arrangements for the teams. If those arrangements are going to involve cost caps and… Read more »


As well as the Marchionne quotes that were included from the source article, I thought there are a couple of other interesting ones; “Liberty has got a couple of good intentions in all of this, one of which is to reduce the cost of execution for the team, which I think is good,” said Marchionne. So its encouraging to see that even Ferrari are behind reducing the costs to compete in F1. “[But] there are a couple of things we don’t necessarily agree with. “One is the fact that somehow powertrain uniqueness is not going to be one of the… Read more »

Salvu Borg

“I will not countenance this going forward” (permit or tolerate).
Also elsewhere and before this statement, “FERRARI will not share its IP’S with others.


Fighting talk from Sergio! I imagine Tuesday’s meeting is going to be a bit tricky.


Wouldn’t it be simpler to lose the self-important Marchionne than Ferrari?
And, I for one, am tired of Ferrari dictating to F1 what they should do.
Ferrari have gotten more financial benefits from F1 than any other team, based on nothing more that their years in F1. I don’t care if you are a Ferrari fan or not, that is just not fair. Especially to the bottom half of the grid.
If you’re going to allocate money, it should be based solely on performance, not how long you’ve hung around the sport.