Ferrari logo, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Analysis: Why Ferrari’s latest quit threat is different

2017 F1 season

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There was a time when Ferrari threatening to quit Formula One provoked gasps of despair rather than guffaws of derision.

But though this is the first time Sergio Marchionne has threatened to take Ferrari out of F1, it is far from breaking new ground for F1’s longest-running team.

Enzo Ferrari habitually skipped races when the team wasn’t competitive or had suffered some other slight. By the time Luca di Montezemolo was in charge teams were compelled to compete in the entire championship or not at all. Under him, Ferrari threatened to walk out on F1 with tedious regularity.

When they wanted more money Ferrari threatened to quit. When a budget cap was proposed Ferrari threatened to quit. When they wanted to be allowed to test more Ferrari threatened to quit. And very often Bernie Ecclestone gave them what they wanted.

Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
“Ferrari will not play” if Marchionne don’t get what he wants
What is their latest objection about? Yesterday Marchionne made headline-friendly comments about not wanting to “play NASCAR globally”. Joining Mercedes and Renault, he also raised objections to the future engine formula.

And then he gave the game away by revealing that this is about what these things are usually about: money. Leaving F1, said Marchionne, “would be totally beneficial to the [profits and losses].” If they left, “we would be celebrating here until the cows come home.”

This might raise eyebrows among its rivals. Ferrari is the sole annual recipient of a special payment for being a ‘long standing team’ which last year was reputed to be worth $70 million. They consistently received the most money from Formula One irrespective of how well they perform. Their prize money payments alone is worth more than some rival teams’ entire budgets.

But if Ferrari-versus-F1 is a familiar story there are crucial differences on both sides of the equation this time. Not least because both companies are listed on the stock exchange and a split would have immediate implications for their shareholders.

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The faces behind the names are different too. On the F1 side, Bernie Ecclestone never challenged Ferrari’s assertion that it was bigger than the sport and indulged them however he could to keep them on-side. This is why Ferrari have the power to veto over rules they don’t like and prize money distribution is tilted steeply in their favour.

Now Ecclestone is gone. Will Chase Carey prove as eager for F1 to keep feeding the hand that bites it? Has Liberty Media’s research into the sport they bought last year told them not to make the same assumptions about Ferrari’s importance to it that Ecclestone did?

On the Ferrari side is Marchionne. He appears to have undergone a sudden change of heart about the value of Formula One, for not that long ago he was making positive noises about bringing another of his brands, Alfa Romeo, into it.

In the automotive world Marchionne has shown great zeal for merging and consolidating with rivals to bring down costs. On the face of it, Liberty Media’s aim of slashing budgets in Formula One should align with his priorities.

But Liberty Media’s goal of making Formula One more attractive to new teams and increasing the competitiveness of the championship was always going to be bad news for the team with the most to lose.

For all the extra money Ferrari receive their return on the last ten seasons has been one championship victory. If they struggle to win when the game is so heavily rigged in their favour, of course they will resist a levelling of the playing field.

Ferrari have been so indulged for so long this collision was inevitable. Whether Liberty can resolve it is surely the biggest test F1’s new owners have faced so far.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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125 comments on “Analysis: Why Ferrari’s latest quit threat is different”

  1. I am starting to understand why is it Ferrari International Assistance. How on earth do they win the most money regardless of how they perform? Last 2 years, they were 3rd in the constructors. How does that merit more prize than Red Bull and Mercedes?

    1. @krichelle

      How does that merit more prize than Red Bull and Mercedes?

      ‘Merit’ is exactly the word. As in: ‘Is F1 a meritocracy?’

      1. It’s a business. They bring in more money in terms of merchandise and views than other teams.

        1. Exactly. This is a shameful biased article. Laughable. As cliche as it sounds, there it goes for those who have forgotten: There is no F1 without Ferrari. Period.

          1. F1 will survive without Ferrari. Period. No competitor is bigger than the sport, especially when said competitor is nowadays mainly recognized for his whining.

            I think that Ferrari gains from F1 more than it contributes and I think they know it too. If Ferrari leaves F1 their supercar business will suffer a massive blow, and their revenue will slowly fall to the levels of Lamborghini, Bugatti or Koenigsegg. Some people will still buy Ferrari just because it’s Ferrari, but without Formula 1 this sentiment will fade with time. Formula One will stay the pinnacle of the motorsport for years to come, and if Ferrari can’t keep up, it’s a shame, but it will send the message that you can’t fool around here. F1 should really require a top level of commitment. In a long run it would be good for the sport and my guess is that sooner rather than later we would see Ferrari coming back, albeit with a slightly bruised ego.

          2. Guybrush Threepwood
            6th November 2017, 8:59

            I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and I couldn’t care less if Ferrari were in it or not. If taking money away from Ferrari and some of the other big teams, and cutting costs, etc. means more teams involved in F1 and a better competition, then Ferrari can go jump in a lake and drown a slow death for all I care.

            If anything it could be argued that Ferrari has done more harm for F1 than good over the last 10 years.

    2. How on earth do they win the most money regardless of how they perform?

      Its written into their contract. They’re classified as a “historically significant” team, so they get a flat payout each year for just showing up. If there isn’t a clearer example of privilege, I don’t know what is. :-)

      1. Yeah and to be honest, I don’t see how McLaren and, I’m some extent Williams, shouldn’t be regarded as historically relevant as much as Ferrari is. They’ve also been in the sport for many decades now.

        1. Ferrari has way more fans

          1. So? even more reason to say bye-bye and see them explain a lack of a Formula 1 team to their fans. I’m sure they’ll find whatever spin Ferrari’s bosses give much more entertaining than seeing their team actually compete.

          2. From what I’ve seen many of the Ferrari ‘fans’ at live races are locals that don’t follow a team and go for the default ‘big’ team at the race to get in the spirit of the event. Losing Ferrari will just mean they go to a different tee shirt stand.

          3. …Ferrari has way more fans… Ferrari OWES more to the sport of F1
            and not ( most decidely NOT) the other way around. As has been
            mentioned already there have been quite a number of teams ( most
            of them no longer extant ! ) who deserve to be revered as ‘historically
            significant’. Few, very few, remain. But I for one have never understood
            why red cars made in Italy should be regarded as ‘exceptional’….
            ,,,.’special case’…..’unique’. And yes, I do know quite a bit about their

            In fact, considering their very strong connections with Fascism
            and other less than savoury historical links, not to mention their
            extremely arrogant sense of superiority in many ways it might be
            all the better for F1 is they ceased to exist. I fully appreciate
            that my attitude will not be popular, but that does not concern
            me in the slightest.

          4. @Loren “In fact, considering their very strong connections with Fascism”….

            …and you tell us you know quite a bit about Ferrari’s history?

            Please, don’t embarass yourself more than you already did. Ferrari didn’t care about politics at all and if any, he was more keen to leftist parties.

        2. There are CCB bonuses – paid to Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and a smaller version to Williams – as well as the “long-standing team” bonus paid to Ferrari alone. As such, multiple teams’ historical relevance is rewarded. But some are rewarded a lot more than others…

          1. All team are equal, but some are more equal than others.

      2. They actually get the “flat charge” (which is a cut before the revenue is distributed to the teams) and a “Constructor’s Championship Bonus”. The attached table is based on the payments for 2014 so the figures are out of date but the structure of payments is still the same now.

      3. @phylyp, was it not alleged at the time of the last negotiations in the Concorde Agreement that Red Bull used their leverage within the sport to extract more favourable financial treatment from FOM as well (i.e. getting enhanced payments for being a previous WCC winner)? It’s not just Ferrari who face accusations of tipping the balance in their favour.

        1. You are correct, but, with the favouritism shown to Ferrari you can understand other teams wanting a slice of that action. Level the playing field and they, Red Bull in this case, loose all leverage.

      4. @phylyp They get money for being a historical team like McLaren and others, but they also get around $90 million (or perhaps lowered to $70 million by now) from another “jar”. FOM and FIA each pay half of that from a special Ferrari budget.

    3. I agree that the “I’m going to take my toys and leave” act is getting waaaaay too old, especially as they won’t leave. F1 is Ferrari and vice versa, it’s too much in their identity as a company, as a brand for them to just walk away. However, if they left, I would suspect that F1 profits as a whole would suffer far more than $70M, and so far, they are the only team to give the current Mercs a run for their money.
      So I’m no statistician, but if you look in the stands at virtually any F1 race, I would bet you see more Red than just about any other color. Does Ferrari merit additional payment for being the oldest team in the sport, probably, given the number of fans they bring in and the fact that they’ve been there since the beginning. Do they merit $70 + million? Well, that’s another question all together.

      1. I would say red bull is improving a lot later this year and also last year, so I think they could give mercedes a run for their money even if ferrari left, and hopefully mclaren too next year.

      2. It’s the tactic (threat of separation) Quebec has used for decades. It works.

    4. Now that F1 will not cheat to help Ferrari win, how long will they stay in the sport?

    5. Armin Sher (@)
      3rd November 2017, 16:29

      Can F1 exists without Ferrari, yes of course. Can Ferrari exist without F1, not so sure.

      1. @armin Actually both of them can exist without the other, no problem. Ferrari’s road car company is a hugely profitable business and the Ferrari cars are sought by people who’ve never once been to an F1 race. So yeah, no problem on both counts. It’s just a question of what’s the most profitable way forward for both sides.

      2. @armin

        Can F1 exists without Ferrari, yes of course.

        I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Where would the excitement be, the value? Many racing series have come and gone over the years, those very few that stay do so because of a cultural anchor, and for F1, that is Ferrari. Without Ferrari, it’s just an exchangeable racing series.

    6. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      3rd November 2017, 17:30

      It doesn’t. The logic is flawed, as is the general goal of getting manufacturers involved. F1 does not benefit from their involvement, they do. They should be treated accordingly.

      If all of the manufacturers left F1 might suffer short term but in the long run, specialist engine and chassis builders would return along with many other types of specialist component suppliers. This would reinvigorate F1 as a sport.

      Each team would have to survive as a business and not be propped up by the manufacturing gods. The sport would be much fairer and more entertaining for it.

  2. If I were them and the FIA were planning to force me to spend millions more on new engines, Liberty Media were shrinking my audience with ever more PPV campaigns…I’d walk.

    Especially since FE is far cheaper, growing in popularity, arguably more road-relevant (think long-term) and already has London, Berlin, Hong Kong races.

    These hybrid engines haven’t made very many people happy.

    1. Especially since FE is … arguably more road-relevant (think long-term)

      In general, yes, I’d agree with this point for engine manufacturers like Honda, Renault and Mercedes. However, given the exclusive segment that Ferrari sell their road cars in, I’m not sure this relevance matters.

      Ferrari released their first turbo road car of this generation in only 2015, so electric powertrains are for their road cars are not on their roadmap for some time.

    2. “These hybrid engines haven’t made very many people happy.”

      They made me very happy. For the first time in over a decade, F1 was moving significantly forward. The PUs, while complex, represented something truly special, unique, and modern. I know a fair number of people who agree with me.

      1. +1000. I’m only sorry if they decide to reduce the energy recovery component of the MGU-H. If it’s costly and tricky that’s only because it’s the most novel part of the whole powertrain and the most relevant. Talk of taking it off and, therefore, reducing efficiency and increasing fuel requirements is a backward step.

        As for Ferrari, I hope their threats are ignored but as Keith says, “If they struggle to win when the game is so heavily rigged in their favour, of course they will resist a levelling of the playing field”. Well, they won’t be at home in FE, as @phylyp says, so I’ve no idea where else they’d go, but don’t really care.

      2. +1 @drmouse – I look forward to a time when engine parity has been reached, so Mercedes can reveal a few more details around the challenges they faced in this engine design process – I’m sure it’ll make a blast to read.

        I’ve often said it before – every time I miss the howl and wail of V8s and V10s, I think of how these V6s have boosted efficiency to such incredible levels.

        I’m only sorry if they decide to reduce the energy recovery component of the MGU-H. If it’s costly and tricky that’s only because it’s the most novel part of the whole powertrain and the most relevant. Talk of taking it off and, therefore, reducing efficiency and increasing fuel requirements is a backward step.

        +1 to this as well, @picasso-19d-ftw – this is one portion of energy recovery that I don’t see offered on mass-market road cars, so I was eager to see if this would bring about a change on the road. Sadly, FIA seem to prefer accepting defeat.

        1. +1 . Excellence in managing complexity, including PUs, is one thing I really like about F1 teams. “Simple” goal too – win races.

        2. +3

          It might be RB’s dream come true, losing MGU-H tech – but a nightmare for the ‘pinnacle’ of auto racing. If the FIA/FOM wants to take the low and slow road, why not just re-badge Indy engines because you can never have too many spec series on pay TV.

      3. +1
        I’m happy with these technological marvels!

      4. @drmouse
        +1 I’m also aligned with you on this one. The tech of these modern beasts totally brought me even more into F1.

        1. +1 Yep, add me to the list too @drmouse, you said it well.

    3. We just had an incredibly competitive season and the cars are the fastest they have ever been? Why the hell WOULDN’T you be happy with the current engines?

      1. The sound
        To technical, computer supported not the driver
        To ….

        1. Blue is the best color! Are you daft? Everyone knows red is the best! No way, the best is green!!!

          Everyone has an opinion. Many of us love the tech and could care less about the sound.

        2. The sound

          Have you heard them at the track?

          Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but I prefer the sound at the track.

          To [sic] technical, computer supported not the driver

          As things stand, the driver has to manage all the settings. It’s very technical, but all on the driver (with the support of the team). Again, only my opinion.

  3. @joshgeake I wonder, are the people who continually hype up FE the same ones who predicted WEC outgrowing F1 by 2015 just a few years ago? Of courde FE is growing, if you’re not popular at all becoming more popular is relatively easy

    1. It is becoming popular because it is actually quite good. It is also quite accessible for fans and people just mildly interested. It is also obviously the future as we thankfully move away from the Internal Combustion Engine.

      1. I can’t think of anything more exciting than hearing the loud whisper of a race car passing by. Only the sound of the tires and the cool breeze generated by it passing by gives away its presence.
        Exciting stuff for sure.

    2. @mrboerns Formula E may be growing in terms of manufacturer/team support but worldwide it’s TV audience has shrunk each year & it doesn’t ever sell out trackside attendance either & usually ends up giving a significant portion of it’s tickets away for free.

      In the UK ITV were fully behind it when it launched but low ratings quickly saw them lose interest & drop it. Channel 5 picked it up at a reduced price & while ratings were up slightly they still were nowhere near what Channel 5 were expecting which is why it too began to lower it’s support by bumping races from the main channel later in the season. To try & get more support Formula E have done a deal with eurosport for next season to broadcast race alongside channel 5 in the UK (Probably featuring ad-breaks & eurosport’s own commentators).

      Formula E is in a weird position in that it’s gaining a lot of support very quickly from the motor industry but all of that positive news & hype hasn’t translated to attracting & keeping fans.

      1. – In 2014/15, live coverage on ITV and ITV4 averaged 216k
        – In 2015/16, live coverage on ITV and ITV4 averaged 138k
        – In 2016/17, live coverage on Channel 5 averaged 280k

        If BBC had picked this up it would be a much bigger audience. (ITV4 is hardly a go to channel!) Also 2016/2017 season saw many more clashes with F1 than any other season with 66% of FE races clashing compared to 50% FE clashes in 2014/2015 and 30% in 2015/2016.

        Not sure of global figures, but in the UK the last season had the highest figures.

        1. I always wonder why the BBC or someone else doesnt make a play for Formula E and tie it in to a long contract. It is growing but the tv coverage needs to be much better for it to really take off. Itv4 did put effort in originally but that soon dropped. Channel 5 can only be described as dreadful. Cutting to adverts as soon as the winner crosses the line is a joke. If anyone is forward thinking enough they should tie it into a long term contract now while theyll get it cheap. If it grows as I expect then in 5 years I’d the rights holder will have to pay much, much more. Why not pay less and grow it. I’d love to see it on the BBC to be honest especially as their MotoGP and F1 coverage has now gone.

  4. @mrboerns WEC isn’t cheap, crowd friendly or especially relevant to road cars…FE is on all three and it’s doing a better job at getting in people’s faces.

    1. @joshgeake It may be getting in people’s faces but Formula E isn’t doing a good job at attracting & keeping fans, TV & paid circuit attendance has been decreasing since it’s 1st season which is why it’s lost a lot of it’s initial TV deals & sponsors.

      1. In Italy they got a deal with Mediaset (Berlusconi’s TV) and for the first time all the gp will be broadcast to a potentially vast audience and they already started to advertise it. Plus with the confirmation of the Rome gp for the next season, there was a lot of exposure in news in press and tv.
        Then, one more season and we’ll see new cars and batteries, with the elimination of the awful change of car. I guess more people will be interested in it

  5. It goes without saying how much Ferrari has contributed to the F1, but it’s becoming clear Ferrari is losing sight of what F1 has contributed towards them. I gained a lot of respect for them at the start of this season having bounced back from the drab 2016 campaign and taken the fight to Mercedes. Unfortunately that respect seems to be slowly going down the drain…

    Nobody is bigger than the sport and, while every team should have the right to be competitive, none have the right to win championships.

    Personally I’d miss having the ‘panto-villain’ around and would genuinely feel sorry for their fanbase but the sport should stop wasting their time and effort pandering to these evidently entitled brats.

    FORZA F1!

    1. “the sport should stop wasting their time and effort pandering to these evidently entitled brats”

      Here Here!

    2. Ferrari became dead to me after the crazy Indianapolis debacle…

      1. Are you talking 2005? what does Ferrari has to do with what happened back then? Blame Michelin for their incompetency, not Ferrari.

        1. Don’t blame Michelin; they accepted that their tyres weren’t good enough.
          Blame FIA (yes them again) as they created the debacle by not allowing any of the options to ‘save the spectacle’ for the fans.

          1. Blame who you want, definitely not Ferrari. That was none of their business if Michelen tyres started popping like champagne corks at new year’s eve…

        2. He’s probably referring to this: “Faced with a dilemma over whether to risk racing on unsafe tires, nine of the teams — including Jordan and Minardi, who along with Ferrari ran on Bridgestone tires — agreed only to compete if a chicane was added to the final turn to lessen the tire load.
          But Ferrari and motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, vetoed the plan. From there, the GP descended into farce.”

    3. “the sport should stop wasting their time and effort pandering to these evidently entitled brats”

      Are you talking RB/Christian Horner?

      1. @Bio Whilst I don’t deny RB/Horner’s tendency to moan and complain about regulations when things aren’t going their way, I wouldn’t put them in the same bracket as Ferrari.

        Let’s be honest, RB’s frustrations are ultimately the result of being a customer to the 3rd best engine, that aside they know they can compete for and win championships. Ferrari’s frustrations stem purely from a series of internal failures over the past decade and are using the debate around future regulations to try and cover up their own shortcomings.

        Indeed, RB receive around $35m for signing the bi-lateral agreement, so FOM have an obligation to keep them happy in that respect, but you didn’t hear them threatening to quit the sport if they weren’t happy with the payment like Ferrari did when they weren’t happy about their far larger heritage bonus.

        1. I think there’s been some lost in translation here. Can you please tell me when Mr. Marchionne threatened to quit the sport because he’s not happy with the money? I’ve read the original statement in Italian and he never talks about money let alone bonuses. The only man talking about money is this so called “journalist” to grab some attention and see how many fishes will bite… or clickbait. His only concern is that he doesn’t want to lose the MGU-H and doesn’t want common parts including batteries and electrical engines, essentially the same things questioned by Mercedes and Renault, that’s what his rant was all about. Nothing involving money. He doesn’t want a NASCAR/INDY 2.0, F1 has different chassis/aerodynamics, It needs different engine configurations as well, not a common PU as suggested by these new proposed rules.

          …and btw complaint wise, the trio Horner/Marko/Mateschitz is far worse then anyone at Ferrari will ever be.

          1. @Bio Might I suggest that of course he’s not going to highlight in his recent quotes as of the new engine proposals, the fact that right off the bat they have an unfair advantage from the extra money they get.

            And with Ferrari ‘s veto power on the rules, which I take even further into meaning they don’t even have to veto anything as they are consulted first and foremost before regs are even made, means that Ferrari has little they can complain about, whereas Horner et al have no choice but to voice their concerns after the horses have left the barn, which is why they appear more vocal.

          2. Can you please tell me when Mr. Marchionne threatened to quit the sport because he’s not happy with the money?

            @Bio I thought it would be obvious given the link in the article to di Montezemolo and that I haven’t specifically mentioned Mr. Marchionne, but I was highlighting the wholistic attitude of Ferrari in recent times, not Marchionne specifically. His comments are just an extension of the frustrations and spoilt attitude that the team have expressed over the last 10 years.

          3. Let’s just keep the focus on today, not some 10 or 20 years ago…

          4. @robbie, like Keith, you seem to have fallen into the trap of overestimating the power of Ferrari’s veto – they can’t simply veto whatever they don’t like, and in reality their veto powers are weaker than most people seem to think they are.

            Basically, they can only veto a limited set of technical regulations only if they can demonstrate that the proposed rule would cause substantial and real damage to Ferrari if it were to pass – and, even then, there are circumstances where the veto could be ruled null and void by the FIA. I know that there is the popular image of back room deals being cut with them, but in reality the power of the veto is oversold by the fans.

            @ninjenius, Red Bull aren’t entirely above criticism either – they have previously used the voting rights that came with buying Toro Rosso to help block proposals by the FIA to reduce costs by restricting certain areas of aerodynamic development, so there have been times when they have thrown their weight around in the sport in a similar manner to Ferrari.

          5. +1000 saddens me to see the website owner also buying into this made up nonsense…
            Ferrari does not need F1 to sell cars PERIOD.
            Without Ferrari F1 will lose a significant portion of their fans.
            Marchionne said nothing groundbreaking at all but of course the british press as usual will spin it into some anti ferrari drivel….The owner of this site is included in that group of people.
            Facts and truth dont matter just spin.
            Marchionne said NOTHING about payment. of course the usual mercedes fans aka british journalists have to put their spin on it

    4. @ninjenius I agree in principle, however there’s a problem. Their said fanbase you said you’d be sorry for, are a significant portion of the F1 fanbase overall. At a time F1’s fanbase is shrinking anyway, can it afford to lose such a significant chunk of fans in one go? That’s the problem Liberty is faced with, and that, in a nutshell, is the leverage on which don Marchionne intends to base his blackmail.

      I don’t have an answer to this question. Do you?

    5. Honestly, Ferrari should be ashamed of themselves. Despite rigging the rules in their favour, getting handsome payments regardless of performance and using every bit of political strength they can, they continue to lose. They are probably the most inefficient team in Formula 1 today, so it comes as no surprise that they would cry and complain once the rules are being aimed at tougher competition between all teams.

      Personally, I’d love to see Liberty call them out on their bluff (or not). Ferrari will be forgotten and replaced by a new car manufacturer as one of the greats, and after a temporary slump faced by their exit, everything will be hunky dory in Formula 1 again. Ferrari might have heritage, but they aren’t anywhere as important as Formula 1 itself.

      I think Ferrari knows where the door is, so they should show themselves out. P.S. Take Sebastian Vettel with you.

  6. If they struggle to win when the game is so heavily rigged in their favour

    Yep, exactly.

  7. Happy to call their bluff and let them walk.

  8. Yup, furthermore, Ferrari can find sponsors easily, money comes to them by default and they have a heavy influence on the sporting regulations.

    But all of their default advantages need to be removed. They get what 150-100 milion per year by just showing up? For that kind of money 1 decent midfield team can be financed.

    Would F1 be boring without Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari? Kick them out give money to 3 new midfield teams and we would have an exciting battle for the championship with 3-4 teams ready to win.

    Unless Liberty drastically changes the regulations and team finance, there will be no performance convergence.

    Mercedes right now is as dominant as last 3 years, only Ferrari and Red Bull have raised their game. Championship is still won 3 races to go, WCC is closed for few races now, etc.

    1. If Ferrari and Red Bull have raised their game, then by definition Mercedes are not as dominant as the last 3 years.

    2. I highly doubt Ferrari will ever leave F1 due to the high marketing value F1 offers, will be quite disappointing if they do,

      but I must say your idea seems very interesting indeed, it may even encourage new teams from coming in just like the old days who knows.

  9. Bluffs need to be called Id think

    they still cant win with the overall best car

    the only time the did have success is when Todt imported the benetton team enmass in 1996 MS/RB/RB

    1. You are delusional if you think Ferrari had the best car this season…

    2. One could say that in the past 25 years who won in f1 was:
      Adrian Newey: Williams 92-93 and 96-97, McLaren 98-99, Red Bull 10-13
      Ross Brawn: Benetton 94-95, Ferrari 00-04 and 07, Brawn 09
      Mercedes power unit: Mercedes (based on what Brawn, him again, constructed) 14-17
      Only exception Briatore with Alonso 05-06, McLaren 08 with Hamilton (after in 07 they steal the Ferrari project).

      1. More Rory Byrne than Ross Brawn…

    3. Have to agree with bio, ferrari was at times better than mercedes this year, like monaco, hungary, singapore, malaysia but the advantage usually wasn’t huge, see how close bottas was in qualifying monaco, see hamilton was gaining in hungary in the race; mercedes was otherwise better or similar, examples where mercedes were a lot better are austin, silverstone, canada, monza, while the first races and belgium are examples where the battle was quite even, so overall there’s no doubt mercedes was better than ferrari and no doubt ferrari was better than red bull, even though the latter recovered a lot lately and in singapore it was probably more competitive than mercedes, just didn’t have its top driver, at sepang it was clearly better than mercedes and even with ferrari, and even in mexico it seemed very good, so they are now in fight with the other 2 teams but were too far off the pace early on and let’s also say, a lot less reliable than ferrari and mercedes.

    4. Andrew Purkis, Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne agrees with you: “We regret not having done better, the car is there, it is in my view probably the best car on the track today.”
      I agree Ferrari had the ‘fastest’ car this season. I have depended on lap-times during the pre-season tests and the first few races to come to this conclusion.
      To me, ‘best’ car is a bit of a retrospective label you give at the end of the season and connotes not only speed but also qualities like reliability and drivability. I am not sure you can completely divorce driver and team performance from ‘best’ car label. So when I want to talk about the care alone, I focus on its speed.
      IMH Hamilton & Mercedes beat Vettel & Ferrari in 2017 even though the former combination did not have the fastest car this season.

  10. For all the extra money Ferrari receive their return on the last ten seasons has been one championship victory. If they struggle to win when the game is so heavily rigged in their favour, of course they will resist a levelling of the playing field.

    It’s almost as though Ferrari are sulking because Mercedes didn’t let them win this year…

    Constant threats are tiresome. Nobody doubts Ferrari’s value but Formula 1 can survive without them. Ferrari not in Formula 1? It would do them good. Their sense of entitlement really doesn’t fit with an equal playing field ethos. Let’s face it, Ferrari are a toxic influence that led Formula 1 down a lot of wrong paths with the cosy (some might say corrupt…) relationship with the previous owners and the ethics-free-zone called Ecclestone. Close the door on the way out Marchionne. Maybe if you beg enough, you’ll be let back in some day.

  11. I think Liberty might be calling Ferrari’s bluff on this one. Ross Brawn spent years inside Ferrari at a high level, and will have good insight in to just how much value Formula 1 adds to the brand, and whether Ferrari can afford to lose F1. Whilst F1 obviously does hugely benefit from having the iconic red cars, I don’t think it’s one way, and I can’t believe Ferrari’s prestige for their customers wouldn’t suffer if they were to leave Formula 1. Surely part of buying a Ferrari is buying into that history and they proudly claim, (with a lot of their cars), that you are buying something that features some street legal formula 1 technology.

    And there don’t seem to be any realistic alternatives of where they could show-case this tech. FE wouldn’t fit their brand. Like others I thought a few years ago when the WEC LMP1 class featured Porsche, Audi, Toyota and Nissan (before it became obvious their car was a flop), that LMP1 looked like it was entering a golden age, and Ferrari at time made noises about how it might explore options there, but now WEC for manufacturers in LMP1 has sadly imploded, and doesn’t look like it’s going to recover soon. Where’s the prestige in only competing with one other manufacturer?

    Finally, if Ferrari did quit and then choose to re-enter years later, that they’d never again get such favourable terms as they have now. So if they went they’d have to be sure they wouldn’t want to come back for a very very long time. I suspect F1’s popularity would take a hit in europe and a massive hit in Italy in particular, but maybe Liberty would be able to compensate for this, by breaking big in new markets by having a more competitive series?

    I just hope Liberty don’t let Ferrari stall changes that are designed for the good of the sport the way Bernie and Mosley did.

    1. and I can’t believe Ferrari’s prestige for their customers wouldn’t suffer if they were to leave Formula 1

      The value of Ferraris might drift over time, but there would be many, many owners who wouldn’t even notice that the Scuderia had departed from F1. I wrote about two specific examples that I know of, but decided to delete them to avoid complications.

  12. As long as F1 continues to be the pinnacle for the best single seater drivers in the world, what teams they drive for is irrelevant. I’d watch Hamilton, Vettel and Verstappen race in lawnmowers if it came to it. It would be sad to lose the villain team but things change, someone else will inevitably fill the void.

  13. As long as a new team can take their place, I say lets not even discuss this and let them go.

    Bye bye Ferrari, thanks.

    We´ll take the money that we gave to them and throw it out as a grant to one or two new teams and help them to get a mercedes engine deal too.

  14. “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. Yet, it seems here in North America, Sergio is pushing for some type of consolidation or partnership with either General Motors or Ford which steadfastly refuse him.

  15. No one team, should have the veto power that Ferrari has.
    Bye Bye Ferrari; don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  16. Honestly, I’m not totally against the idea of special payment to entrants for being “long standing teams”, though it bothers me that it’s just Ferrari. Why not give all the teams a scaled payment based on their loyalty? I don’t think any one team is critical to Formula One, but this form of payment would encourage teams to stick through hard times, rather than quitting on a whim like BMW and Toyota in 2009, or Renault who have ducked in and out as it suits.

    Ferrari deserve to be given some form of cash benefit for being a historic team, slightly less so do McLaren, slightly less so do Williams, slightly less so do Renault and even teams like Red Bull, who have been successful and are now ending their 13th season are gradually becoming an important historical team to the sport.

    The main payment should absolutely be performance based, but I see no harm in a supplementary “long standing team” payment.

    1. “Why not give all the teams a scaled payment based on their loyalty?”

      That’s exactaly what thay already have but the writer is clearly seeking clickbait.

      In 2015:
      Ferrari got $95m.
      Red Bull $78m
      Mercedes $64m

      and so on…but I suspect that Mercedes is getting far more these days.

      1. Check the 2017 payments and you’ll see that it’s not all teams.

        And of the 5 teams with some kind of special deal, only Ferrari’s is extra super special (plus the ‘veto’ bonus)

        1. Ferrari is extra super special (as you call it) because it’s not treating F1 at its disposal like any other manufacturer. It’s always been there since the very beginnings in good or bad times. Take Mercedes for example…they came in whenever they want, write the rule book to meet their demands (Ross Brawn made it as he was still working at Brackley) win what they have to win for marketing reasons and, as long as they are not winning anymore, they quit. Too easy, the hardest thing to do is stay/keep fighting when things are not going your way. So far, only Ferrari did it…We saw this path endless times with the likes of Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Renault, Toyota (they didn’t win but it works for them as well).

          As for the veto bonus, Ecclestone (told by himself as newly appointed FOM CEO) let ’em have it when he realized he hed to counteract the british Cartel/Mafia that rules F1 since the early ’60 being it too strong in political terms/votes for a single foreign team even if this team was/is by far the most popular/followed of the F1 circus.

          1. What universe do you live in? Mercedes did not write the formula for their benefit. The formula was negotiated with all the other teams, and they implemented it best. Nothing is wrong with that. Of course, would you be complaining if Ferrari had done better, I doubt it somehow.

          2. Keep dreaming…The Hybrid Formula was set by Mercedes and Renault together (no wonder they have a commercial bond, see A Class-Megane), Ferrari or any other team had nothing to do with It. Their only mistake was to agree with it not realizing they had been fooled by Mercedes in the process. Ecclestone himself told not long ago that Mercedes knew the engine formula one and a half year in advance compared to the others. Coincidences? I don’t think so. They threatened to leave just like Ferrari is doing and RB has done in the past, in exchange they got to write the engine formula to meet their demands. This Modus Operandi is as old ad the world.

        2. Dear @Bio,
          I notice that whenever somebody points out a mistake in the data underlying your argument, then you counter with a totally different argument.
          You might want to consider running for President of the USofA (unless it is you).

          1. You might want to consider running for President of the USofA (unless it is you).

            Unlikely since Bio can evidently write in proper sentences.

          2. What mistake? There aren’t mistakes, just facts.
            I gave you the figures, you replied me (your words): “of the 5 teams with some kind of special deal, only Ferrari’s is extra super special (plus the ‘veto’ bonus)”.
            I explained you why Ferrari has this “extra super special” (as you call it) and the veto, period.
            Pretty straightforward.
            Other than that I don’t now what you are talking about.

      2. They don’t.

        1 team gets a long-standing team payment (Ferrari)
        5 teams get a payment ostensibly based on having won a relatively recent championship (Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull… …and Williams, though Williams only gets a smaller version because its championship streak finished before whatever arbitrary line got used to measure this)
        10 teams (and it’s only ever 10, no matter how many teams are present) get an in-season performance payment.

  17. Like I said in the roundup comments, Marchionne is investor-soothing. Talking up the value of the brand, the alternatives available, and so on.

    If he ever does get round to actually meaning it… let them go. Of course Ferrari are important, hugely so in certain markets, but no sport should allow itself to be constantly blackmailed by a spoilt, overindulged team.

  18. If they struggle to win when the game is so heavily rigged in their favour, of course they will resist a levelling of the playing field.

    That is a definition of fallacy and you know it pretty well. I am surprised and sad reading that in your column @keithcollantine, but I guess you couldn’t detach yourself from the unsporting comments of singling out Ferrari as the villain of the sport. So long balanced reviews and articles.

    1. That is a definition of fallacy and you know it pretty well.

      They are the only team receiving a special payment worth tens of millions. Based solely on that, they have a head start in terms of resources, yet struggle to win. Which part of that is a fallacy @caci99?

      1. How about you do some research before you post another fallacy???
        Williams…Red Bull….Mercedes and mclaren also receive special payments from Formula 1 .
        of course it makes for lots of clicks on an article when you single out Ferrari.
        the other fallacy is that Marchionne ever mentioned payments in his comments….nope that was the biased “journalist” that wrote the article in question.

  19. If I were Liberty Media, I’d take this opportunity to strip Ferrari of all vetos and excessive payments. It is the inequity of distribution that strangles competition. Then they could leave or stay and get beaten by Renault on a level playing field.

  20. petebaldwin (@)
    3rd November 2017, 16:49

    I trust him about as much as I trusted Bernie when he said he was getting rid of Monza :D

  21. The simple fact is this. Ferrari needs F1, F1 needs Ferrari. Both parties know it. When the sabre-rattling stops and the dust settles they’ll have come to an agreement that works for both.

    The only analogy I can draw to the Ferrari situation is from Rallying. If you ask the man on the street to name a manufacturer who was involved in the WRC, they’d probably say Subaru or Mitsubishi regardless of the fact that Subaru hasn’t won a championship since 2003 and Mitsubishi hasn’t won since 1999. They are intrinsically linked. F1 and Ferrari are the same and, threatening as he may sound, Marchionne knows it too. F1 gives his cars that certain “je ne sais pas” that Lamborghini, Porsche et al can only dream of.

  22. In my opinion rules should be:
    Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points.The most fans want to see close racing among the best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for. I think it isn’t impossible.
    Some possibilities we have to consider:
    1. Less differences between cars in lap times. Some teams are better in PU and others in aero but we need less differences in lap times. I think we should introduce +weight/point system in short term (for example +20dkg/point or ~+0,5 pound/point, less or more) because it is a simple, cheap, fast, effective solution to decrease dominance and differences and we don’t need unification or freeze development. Smaller teams get the same PU (hardware, software, etc) as manufacturers. Decrease money/revenue allocation differences and decrease costs. I think it would be ideal if cars are close to each other in lap times but some cars are faster in straight and others are faster in corners. The slower teams get more test days.
    2. Less dirty air in corners but fast cars: more mechanical grip, less or same aero downforce, the sport needs make it easier for cars to follow each other closely during races
    A, simpler front wing B, (more effective diffuser) C, better tyres D, more powerful and effective PUs (natural development) without token system E, slight changes in technical regulation year by year (differences will naturally decrease) and more freedom in development until regulations allow F, DRS? (open DRS time/race and drivers manage it) G, refuelling? (Cars can be faster and drivers could push harder during races but there would be less safety and more ’overtaking during the pit stops’) H, narrow cars I, less weight
    3. Increasing the role of drivers: A, drivers make decisions on strategy B, less radio instructions from engineers to drivers during races (maybe only safety reasons) C, minimum weight for drivers (for example 90kg with ballast less or more) but no limit for cars D, push on the limit as long as possible, and save (fuel, tyres, PU) as short as possible -> faster lap times during races E, It should be more challenging to drive physically and mentally F, drivers manage ERS instead of a program (like they used KERS earlier)
    And what else…?
    Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of +weight/point system in short term. (+20dkg/point, less or more. It means if a driver has 10 points he has to carry +2kg as a minimum weight for the car.)
    Advantages: 1. Less differences between cars in lap time and close racing. 2. Fast, cheap, simple, effective solution. 3. We don’t need unification or freeze development 4. Finally the best team wins.
    Disadvantages: 1. Unfair? I don’t think (or partly) because finally win the best and if you have the best team and car you have to work harder to remain the best.

  23. What a strange article. The headline says that this threat is different from the previous ones but there are no reasons given whatsoever. Are you saying that the threat is more credible this time than before, or less?

    In my opinion, this time the emergence of Formula E is the most important factor. Ferrari can threaten to leave to formula E this time. And while it seems shocking, it is real.

    1. I maybe be wrong here, but Ferrari in an all electric racing series just does not feel right. I imagine the reason machionne does not want to loose too much of the hybrid part of the present formula is that most of Ferrari recent supercars incorporate the hybrid element from F1.

    2. The same as most of the others (they’re still zero). The difference is that instead of being a bit scary, they now look silly, a parody of themselves.

  24. I don’t have a problem with a loyalty bonus for staying in the sport but at the very least there needs to be some transparent algorithm to quantify a ‘historical team’ i.e. at least 35 continuous years in the sport entitles you to an equal share of the 70 million(or whatever value) per season.

  25. captain tuna fish
    3rd November 2017, 18:11

    ferexit possibly before brexit ? I think so.

  26. Ferrari are paid money to race from the sale of TV rights, from advertising, and they get money from Fiat. So when they say it cost them money to compete in F1 then presumably this is related to what Fiat pay. One has to say “Yes, it costs you money, you have to pay for brand recognition”.
    Of course, for more than a decade Ferrari have willingly and happily accepted extra and higher payments from TV rights knowing these somehow compensated them for the reduction of brand recognition as the paywall popped up around the world. Maybe, after the paywall has conquered most of the “free world”, people at Ferrari are getting the idea these extra and higher payments were at the cost of their brand name.

  27. Formula 1 without Ferrari does not exist. It’s just one more category.

  28. It will be interesting to see if Ferrari play their “veto” card or not. I think there was some unpopular idea proposed a few years back that, despite the general scepticism of it being good for F1, looked like it was going to be for real until Ferrari played their “get out of silly ideas” card, which killed off the idea. As I understand it, this “new engine spec” is actually a proposal, so the current teams can still put forward their ideas. It would be nice to know what those ideas are.
    I still think there should be more flexibility on engine size, especially with the claim of wanting to reduce development costs. For example, the engine used in the Toyota TS050 Hybrid WEC car is a 2.4 L V6 hybrid engine. At face value that sounds to be similar to the current F1 spec engine, but using a different CC rated engine. When you take into account F1 currently has fuel flow restrictions, what’s wrong with a team wanting to use a different engine size, like that one?

  29. I really don’t understand why fans can not understand why Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault may be just a little annoyed with the fia/liberty forcing new engines on them. These teams have spend hundreds of millions or even billions building these current engines. Only to be told they have to now build new engines that are cheaper. So f1 isn’t too expensive for new teams to join. Yet the fia and liberty don’t seem to be to bothered with making it more expensive for current teams. And we all know that these new engines will be forced through and in 2021 there will be no new teams in f1 (audi & Porsche won’t join. They agreed on the last engine rules and had no interest in joining f1) and cosworth will still be moaning that it’s too expensive and the engines need to be cheaper. Meanwhile teams like force India, Williams, haas, McLaren and sauber will be stuck paying even more for these new engines. Because we all know that engine manufacturers will claw back their cost somehow.

  30. Just Quit, Ferrari act like a spoiled child.
    Veto, more money, preferential treatment.
    Refuse to talk to the press like a little spoiled kid. JUST GO

    1. How will you fill the grandstands? Lol. Please.

      1. Ferrari doesn’t care so why should we? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  31. The quicker Ferrari buries this fake sport the better. Ferrari regulates F1 in support and money. F1 will be buried, just like mma buried boxing.

  32. Move to IndyCar!

    Ferrari and other F1 teams should start IndyCar engine programs. It would cost a fraction of the F1 budget, and get them in the biggest race in the world.

  33. Ferrari is F1’s lungs. They are the Barcelona of F1. Ferrari leaving would bury F1. Just look at the grandstands, look at the merchandise sold. Its ferrari.

  34. Everything comes to an end. Would Ferrari leaving help bring down costs and open the door to new teams?

  35. A motorsports fan
    5th November 2017, 17:15

    formula 1 does not need ferrari nor vettel. i enjoy Ocon in a force india, or even Magnussen the berserker on a good day. in fact – i get sick and tired of that ferrari entitlement attitude. rejoin in on merit in 5 years – with a driver that fans do not need to pretend to like.

  36. Ferrari are quitting F1, is it Xmas already?

  37. Ferrari do this every year, Toto the same and Marko every month or two it seems.
    Mostly its lip service – well opposite really – but as Keith points out the joker players have now changed.

    When we were in Malaysia we did get to have a chat to Chase Carey and he shouted us a drink – expect a night race back in Sepang maybe!!! 3 years time.

    He was obviously way too smart to give too many details but I left thinking the Ferrari bonus is now done. Or at least down to a small 20euro bonus or something. It makes business sense to tighten the competition – I would love to see Bob Fernley hold some more silverware high !!

  38. Ferrari threatened to leave so many times, but they never have. The only team.
    Other teams have left and come back repeatedly.
    So why is Ferrari the bad guy here?

    I for one can not imagine F1 without Ferrari.

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