Ferrari is the only team to have participated continuously in Formula 1 since the first Formula 1 World Championship in 1950. For many, Ferrari is synonymous with Formula 1. Its loyal tifosi, the evocative rosso corsa and the instantly recognisable Prancing Horse logo come together to build a huge brand that cannot be rivalled, much to the chagrin of some other F1 teams. It has been argued by Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone themselves that the presence of Ferrari is vital to the health of Formula 1.
But today, Ferrari threatened to quit F1 if Max Mosley continues with his madcap plans to systematically dismantle the sport as we have all grown up to know it. Today the Scuderia issued a statement which contained a section that will have many fans nodding sagely:
Whilst reiterating its wholehearted commitment to a substantial and needed reduction in costs in Formula One, starting with propulsion, the Ferrari Board of Directors expressed strong concerns regarding plans to standardise engines as it felt that such a move would detract from the entire raison of a sport with which Ferrari has been involved continuously since 1950, a raison d’etre based principally on competition and technological development.
The Board of Directors expressed the opinion that should these key elements be diminished, it would have to re-evaluate, with its partners the viability of continuing its presence in the sport.
This came in the same day that Toyota boss John Howett confirmed that the manufacturer would have no interest in participating in the version of F1 that Max Mosley envisages for the future. That statement in itself came on the back of rumours that Toyota is looking to pull out of F1 in order to concentrate on sportscar racing.
On the same day the FIA also reiterated that its invitation to tender for the supply of a standardised engine remains open. Each of the six manufacturers involved in F1 — Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, Toyota and BMW — has confirmed that it will not submit a tender.
If it wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Max Mosley’s grand scheme for the future of Formula 1 does not appeal to anybody. It doesn’t appeal to the fans and it clearly doesn’t appeal to the teams. Grand prix motor racing is not supposed to be about identical, and when manufacturers are not even able to design their own engines, really what is the point? They are bound to walk, and a Formula 1 without any names like Ferrari, Renault or Honda will be a pale imitation of its former self.
Let us not forget something that Max Mosley said at the height of the sex scandal earlier this year. In his letter that set out the reasons why he should remain in the job, he said that: “there has been a struggle for control of Formula One that goes back to the original Concorde Agreement in 1981.” Implicit in this was the notion that Max Mosley himself was the only person able to put a lit on such struggles for control.
Put aside the fact that Mosley has been FIA President for the majority of this period, and therefore is manifestly incapable of putting a lid on such power struggles. It seems to me that Max Mosley is the person who creates all of the division that gives rise to these power struggles.
As every week goes by, I increasingly hope that all of the teams just say, “enough is enough” and leave Formula 1 so that the poisonous meddlers at the FIA can find something else to stick their unwanted noses into.
I am not loyal to Formula 1. I never have been. I am, however, loyal to grand prix motor racing. I yearn for Max Mosley and his cronies at the FIA to have their power removed from their grubby hands.
By all accounts, the teams have never been more united. They have formed FOTA at the suggestion of Bernie Ecclestone, and apparently things are going incredibly smoothly. Here’s hoping that the teams can muster up the courage to leave Formula 1 and set up GP1.
People wring their hands about how bad a split would be. But let’s face it — such a Formula 1 might have the brand, but it would have little else. In fact, you could argue that F1 is an irreparably tarnished brand for a whole host of reasons — a lack of overtaking, dodgy stewards’ decisions, the various adventures of Max Mosley and so on. If it becomes a spec series, as Mosley apparently intends on making it, the best teams will leave and grand prix motor racing fans will struggle to maintain an interest.
My only real worry is that Formula 1 becomes the awful glorified slot car championship that Mosley plans on turning it into, and there is no alternative series for me to watch.
Keith at F1 Fanatic has more on Ferrari’s statement.