Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari, 2017

Marchionne repeats threat to pull Ferrari out of F1 despite Liberty concessions

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne has repeated the team’s threat to quit Formula One despite Liberty Media offering the manufacturer concessions in its proposal for how the sport will be run from 2021.

F1 2021 article
F1 2021: Liberty’s masterplan for Formula One’s future uncovered
RaceFans revealed earlier this week Ferrari stands to lose its unique Long Standing Team payment, worth $68 million last year, under the proposed restructuring of how F1 distributes its prize money. It will be replaced by a $40 million payment which Ferrari must write down to group profits.

No other team will receive a similar payment. Engine manufacturers, of which Ferrari is one, will each receive an additional $10 million payment under the plan.

“If there are any proposals that distort F1, I think Ferrari will pull out… we are working with Liberty Media to find acceptable solutions,” said Marchionne according to Agence France-Presse.

“We had a proposal from Liberty 10 days ago, we expect to know the details and then we will make choices in the interest of Ferrari,” he added. “We could look for alternative solutions, it’s not a threat, but it does not mean we stop shopping.” Marchionne said the team had “limited interest” in Formula E.

The technical changes to the sport proposed by Liberty include removing the MGU-H from power units to simplify them and reduce costs.

Speaking in the FIA press conference in Shanghai yesterday Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene referred questions on Liberty’s proposal for 2021 to Marchionne. However on the question of whether the $150 million budget cap proposed by Liberty would be acceptable he said “we are discussing and we will see in the future if it’s achievable or not.”

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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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66 comments on “Marchionne repeats threat to pull Ferrari out of F1 despite Liberty concessions”

    1. A deal for Ferrari will be made, they are far too important. Merc are with them as well so if push comes to shove better to lose Williams, Red Bull etc they can be replaced with customer cars if necessary.

      1. @Markp Your vision of F1 as two or three manufacturers supplying customer cars and letting all of the independent teams fall by the wayside is not my vision of what F1 should be. It would essentially be a spec series similar to Indycar except we would have three engines/chassis specs instead of two engine choices and one chassis. It’s hard to understand an F1 fan wanting that to be where we end up.

        1. Do t worry that will never happen but to Liberty it will be better than the alternative of losing Ferrari and Merc. These are just negotiations where both parties start at extremes and will agree on a compromise. Those commenting bye bye to Ferrari will be frustrated as when its all done the point of equilibrium will be more in their favour however they will lose a little on what they get now. Everyone is fighting their corner and Marchionnes comments all point to this.

        2. But to some extent we HAD that in the 60s and 70s, with people running ex Lotus, March, McLaren cars and the like.

      2. hahahhhahahaha….add another vote for ferrari leaving. if i watched f1 just because of ferrari, then by all means lose my viewership. if f1 is ONLY ferrari, then i dont deserve to watch it.

    2. Who’s going to fill the half empty grandstands if Ferrari leave? Bye bye to you.

      1. Who’s going to fill the half empty grandstands if Ferrari leave?

        The $195m Liberty saves in year 1 will buy you enough seats (discounts) to fill every single grand stand seat in 2021 ;)
        And give all new fans a cap in another team’s colour and they might come back the year after.

  1. If they don’t want to compete on a more level playing field then good riddance.

    1. So, the “level” playing field loses Ferrari, Haas and Alfa Romeo/Sauber. Fourteen cars on the grid. Mercedes could drop out, their “glory” is tied closely to being able to say that they can beat Ferrari. Honda, even if they have a decent engine, do not have a chassis. Renault will duck out of a dying series. Maybe Cosworth and Dallara will return to “off-the-shelf” racing?
      F1 has never been a level playing field. It’s already so dumbed-down, that most of us “old-timers” (and we’re the ones with the budget to spend on the expensive products advertised) are much less enthusiastic — ten years ago, we had a local group of nearly forty fans getting together for every race, but we’re down to half a dozen regulars now. Why? — we all remember WWF/WWE, “TV spectacle”, loss of a sport.
      I sincerely trust that the younger generation enjoy and will support the Liberty vision, but it won’t be the F1 that many of us loved and respected. R.I.P. the days of Moss, Fangio, Clark, Senna, BRM and Lotus, the smell of Castrol R, the _unlevel_ field of brilliant success and failed dreams.

      1. @paul-a If Ferrari leaves, the grid would only be down by two cars, and they would be replaced by a new team or even two if F1 is more affordable for newcomers. Haas and Sauber will have plenty of warning and will simply change engine suppliers. Haas will not always be dependent on Ferrari for parts, and they could be building everything in-house by the 2021 season. F1 is already not the sport it was we loved and respected decades ago. Taking steps to bring about closer competition and better racing will restore much of what has been lost.

      2. @paul-a if the whole sport hinges on one team staying or not then it needs an even bigger overhaul than what Liberty’s proposing. I really don’t get why people consider that what Liberty is proposing equates to dumbing down the sport – seems to me they want to reverse that very trend.

        1. Ferrari has the largest F1 fanbase – maybe not here at F1fana…er…Racefans, but has double the number of fans as the next team, Mercedes. If the Prancing Horse leaves the barn, would have the largest impact on F1. Liberty’s share price would drop. Even more.

          While F1 could survive, at least for a few years if Ferrari pulled out, Liberty would struggle financially. Without Ferrari to compete with, Merc might be less keen to remain. If both Ferrari and Merc left F1, that would be a vast competitive void to fill. Aston couldn’t fill it – not even with all their hot marketing air. Neither could Porsche or other brand from the VW family.

          Could Renault and Honda provide engines for all the teams? Would watching RBR win the next 5 championships post 2021 improve the show? Would F1 still be the pinnacle of motorsport?

          Interesting times ahead for F1. And fans of F1 politics.

          1. I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of their fans are the casual fans who support Ferrari because it’s the only name they recognised when they started watching, and will hook onto another team immediately because of the colour, or a name they recognise (Aston Martin & Red Bull, Force India for the pink and Mclaren would be my bets who who mops up their support)

      3. so is f1 about the brands or the technology? i dont care the color of the car, i care about the development race and the sporting. as far as im concerned you dont need to have a ferrari or merc brand to do that. it helps, but it ISN’T F1. and if it is, then what is f1 besides a marketing vehicle?

      4. petebaldwin (@)
        14th April 2018, 12:49

        Short term pain, long term gain if Ferrari goes. I feel about Ferrari as I did about Bernie – they both caused as much damage to the the sport as each other.

  2. will my reply be approved if i say ” whatta fool” ?

  3. Lets see what happens when the Ferrari International Assistance comes to the rescue

  4. I think he is simply doing his due diligence as the CEO of Ferrari. If someone came to your company and said “Hey , we are going to cut your profits by $20 million dollars” and you did not at least try to keep the same deal, you would most likely get the boot.
    I don’t make to big a deal out of this. Machionne is just doing his job. He can say whatever he wants to try and make the best deal he can get. 2021 is a long ways off, there is tons of time for things to be worked out. Besides, what other series can offer the exposure and prestige of F1? If Ferrari did quit and try to create a new series, how much $ would that cost just to get it going? I say let the boss talk and we will see what actually happens in a few years.

    1. @twiinzspeed Well said and I agree. I think what Liberty will likely be reminding Ferrari of as well, like they haven’t already, is that if they have their way (Liberty) they will be making a better product on the track and growing the audience, which Ferrari can also play a role in with co-operation and small compromises, so any few tens of millions Ferrari don’t get directly from F1 any more, might easily be made up by them existing in a better healthier product overall, that will see Ferrari make up for less money thru higher marketing value globally via a new and improved F1.

      If Marchionne is more concerned about F1 not going too spec, that is something I can respect moreso, and I don’t think Liberty wants to take anything away from F1’s core DNA. It’s that decades long tough balancing act of allowing teams room to segregate themselves through design and innovation vs. exorbitant rising costs and lesser, newer teams, shut out from any hope.

    2. Very nice take on it, @twiinzspeed

    1. Lol! Ferrexit! :D
      In all seriousness though, I really hope it doesn’t come to that.

  5. I think Marchionne ought to just man up and state clearly and simply what he wants from F1. A recent BBC headline referred to how Ferrari and Mercedes together were holding F1 hostage, and that’s exactly what we are seeing. Liberty Media, apparently with the blessing of the FIA, has not issued an ultimatum but has made a proposal. Ferrari, once again, has responded with an ultimatum without making a counterproposal or clearly delineating what they are demanding. Speaking about preserving the “DNA” and saying that “any proposals that distort F1” will result in Ferrari pulling out, are clear statements that what Ferrari really wants is the status quo. Ferrari want no changes at all, and we all know that’s the one scenario that is definitely NOT going to happen.

    Many important players in F1 are saying that time is already tight for making fundamental changes and attracting new partners to supply power units. By delaying any resolution and refusing to commit to F1, Ferrari and Mercedes are working for their own self interests while weakening F1’s ability to survive and be financially sound. They are trying to push Liberty Media into a corner where LM has no choice but to roll over and give in to their demands. In fact, what really happen is that Liberty Media will ultimately be forced to harden their position and issue a real ultimatum.

    Ferrari has repeatedly threatened to leave F1. There is no guarantee whatsoever that Mercedes will continue after 2020, especially if they have won seven consecutive championships by then. It would be a mistake for F1 and the FIA to tailor the structure of the sport to suit two teams that may very well not continue to compete. What F1 needs to do is come up with a proposal that the other eight (count ’em, 8) can agree to and then investigate whether or not it is possible to coax Ferrari and Mercedes to sign.

    I doubt very much that Ferrari will ever leave F1 because it is essential to their image and their classic business plan. Mercedes will stay or go for their own reasons. Liberty and the FIA need to concentrate on retaining the eight teams that will work with F1 and on making it economically viable for new players to enter the sport as competitors and suppliers. Kowtowing to Marchionne and once again allowing Ferrari to dictate terms to the sport is not in the best interests of the sport or in the best interests of the other corporate entities participating in the sport, namely, Liberty Media and the other teams. Liberty should treat this threat to quit as a bluff, and be prepared to go forward if, in fact, Ferrari does leave.

    1. Ferrari are to important. Marchionne holds many strong cards and a compromise will be found. The factvhe is not rolling over at the 1st offer is probably wby he is who he is and we are who we are.

    2. Ferrari, once again, has responded with an ultimatum without making a counterproposal or clearly delineating what they are demanding.

      Easy: they want the same or more money. And Liberty will take all the money from the smallest team and give those money to Ferrari so they won’t leave.

  6. Most of us know what happens when the boy cries wolf once too often. Nobody takes the call seriously anymore.

    Ferrari, either put up the shutters or shut up and get racing.

    1. This boy can rip the wolfs head off. Liberty are soft and have to answer to shareholders. They will not want to be known as the idiots that threw out the crown jewels thus devaluing their investment. They will bend over backwards to keep Ferrari and Merc when all is said and done and Marchionne knows this. Ferrari will get a great deal here and if a fizzy drinks company pulls out thats much easier to explain.

      1. Don’t forget that Ferrari is a also a traded stock(NYSE: RACE) if they pulled out of F1, their stock would be hit as well to tank as well as they also have shareholders to answer to!

        1. Sorry my friend, but RACE would race higher if they quit F1 because their earnings and cash flow would soar without the losses from F1.

          1. So…why haven’t they?

      2. I cant think of any sports league or organisation that lets the participants rule the roost. If Ferrari insist on the payment and other teams leave (due to unfair payment distribution) both Liberty (F1) and Ferrari are up the creek.

        With a bare 20 cars on the grid, the whole show balances on a knife edge of relevance as a sport or entertainment spectacle. One team leaves and the whole show collapses as a viable spectator sport.

    2. True. They’ve been threatening to pull out every time regulation changes are discussed. I don’t think they will… as Ferrari needs F1, as much as F1 needs Ferrari. This is just them trying to be difficult and squeeze Liberty in to giving them more benefit and power.

      I’d just ask Ferrari to leave … and to take their veto vote with them.

  7. i think sometimes we just need to call their bluff… who will watch a series led by all Ferrari made cars.. leave F1 and see who cares about Ferrari as a brand.. if F1 gets a huge dent without Ferrari, Ferrari gets a much much bigger one without F1.

    i never hear ferrari, if not about F1.. but mercedes, BMW, porsche and even Mclaren (to a certain extent) they don’t “need” F1 and people in the world already know them pre/post F1.

    now if Merc join ferrari in holding LM hostage that’s a whole new dimension. im tired of this constant bitching by Ferrari head. done like it. get out and see who will come to watch an all-Ferrari procession around the tracks (yes F1 will get screwed too, but Im sure it will recover if its a more fairer system).

    just my thoughts

    1. An all Ferrari series is a joke. The only bright side for Marchionne in this series is that Ferrari will finally win a championship.

    2. leave F1 and see who cares about Ferrari as a brand

      A lot still care about Lotus. Ditto for WRX’s and even Lancer Evo’s (though out of production).

      who will watch a series led by all Ferrari made cars

      who will make one to begin with though?

  8. Ferrari won’t leave. F1 is a critical marketing platform for them.
    Don’t stress. This is all posturing.

  9. Close the door on the way out

  10. Gary Simmons
    14th April 2018, 0:30

    Forget about the extra payment and the engine rules… That’s not what this is about. The sticking point here is that Ferrari will never agree to a budget cap to level the playing field…

    If the field is level, Ferrari could be last one year. Do you think they will ever let that happen? Right now, they can outspend everyone, and worst case finish 3rd or so.

    Interesting times now…

  11. Nobody takes his useless threat seriously.
    Liberty have acted in good faith and still presented Ferrari with 40 million dollars for just showing up, which is 40 million too much if you ask me, given that none of the other teams receive a similar payment.
    If Ferrari still refuses this good will shown to them, then good riddance.

    1. And no other team receives $200 Million a year in tobacco sponsorship. From the reports I’ve seen, F1 is not only a great marketing platform, unlike every other team, they actually make a net profit from racing.

      Where Enzo used road car sales to fund his passion for racing, the modern Ferrari use racing to supplement their road car sales income. Very clever.

  12. I want them to leave!

    If Ferrari and even Mercedes leave, there will still be heritage in the form of Williams, Sauber and McLaren. Red Bull and Renault may stay. We will have an Aston Martin engine, a Honda engine and possibly a Renault engine. This is the same number of engines with which the hybrid era began. And it doesn’t even matter if someone dominates like Mercedes- if they do well, they deserve success.

    Let’s get rid of the whiners and get on with the show! I won’t stop watching F1 if Ferrari leaves.

    1. @forcef1 – Do you really believe there will ever be an Aston F1 engine – made by AM? They can’t make one for their road cars.

      1. @jimmi-cynic a possible collaboration with cosworth was on the cards a few months ago.

        1. @forcef1 – Uh-huh. Key word ‘possible’. It’s also possible I’ll build my own F1 engine and sell it to AM.

          Cosworth have stated numerous times they won’t consider developing a F1 power unit unless some large entity gives them massive amounts of money.

          Aston doesn’t have that kind of cash- they’re barely out of their red ink phase. Maybe AM/RBR/McLaren/Williams/Stroll consortium might. Then many teams in F1 could have F2 engines to make the sport more fair.

          1. @jimmi-cynic haha..F1 will welcome you if you can build your engine. Red bull would have tried your engine but they already have options.

            The point is simple. If Ferrari is so disappointed with decision making in the sport that it’s chairman has to threat quitting every few months, something is fundamentally wrong. Why should the sport stoop to every wish? We all know why they were granted veto. We all understand why they are important. But no one is irreplaceable.

          2. @forcef1 – Agree no one team is irreplaceable. That principle also applies to racing series.

            It could be that both Ferrari and Merc, even RBR already have decided to exit F1 after 2020 regardless of Liberty’s plans. The ‘public’ negotiations are just part of the show. ;-)

  13. Is there any other racing series that would pay Ferrari $40m just for showing up?

    1. Sure, remember A1 Grand Prix, “powered by Ferrari”? It only took one sheikh.

  14. I feel for Liberty (actually I don’t).

    They spent 8 billion on a very risky venture that has every likelihood of unraveling.

    I’m sure F1 will remain, but it’s going to be very different, could well be missing some big names and appeal only to a very few.

    I’m wondering who did their due diligence

    1. @dbradock – Heard it was Bernie’s friend’s nephew who is a whiz with numbers.

      Agree. Liberty bought the most expensive, not very well-maintained used car, from the world’s greatest used car salesman.

      1. Liberty bought the most expensive, not very well-maintained used car, from the world’s greatest used car salesman.

        @jimmi-cynic – ha ha, nice one! And you aren’t allowed to perform maintenance on it for the next 3 years.

    2. No doubt Bernie paid off whoever did the due diligence, but that’s OK, because he’ll pay off the judge when it gets found out.

  15. This is just clickbait. They didn’t threaten to pull out, just said they are reviewing the proposal and discussing with Liberty. What else would you expect them to do at this stage?

    1. They didn’t threaten to pull out

      Yes they did:

      If there are any proposals that distort F1, I think Ferrari will pull out

  16. “If there are any proposals that distort F1, I think Ferrari will pull out”
    I should have thought that giving one team a $68 million head start is something of a distortion in itself…

    FWIW, I don’t think they’d be much missed & that’s my 330 in my avatar.

  17. Mark in Florida
    14th April 2018, 2:27

    Did you say something Sergio? Same old song and dance from Ferrari. This got old a long time ago Sergio try to say something different once in a while. No one team can be bigger than the organization that it participates in. That only leads to inequitable treatment of others that participate in circumstances that they can’t control. If Ferrari leave, Liberty will make a 68 million dollar profit. So go ahead Ferrari and make my day.

  18. I think if half my country’s men actually did what Sergio threatens to do so often, we wouldn’t have such an overpopulated nation on our hands.

  19. Bye Felicia…

  20. We should remember Ferrari isn’t only losing 28M, they also losing CCB money so add 35M on top of that (I know other big teams also losing CCB and Bernie deal money but I doubt Ferrari cares about that). From Ferrari POV, they losing more than half of their free money. However from POV of anyone but Ferrari, does the free $40M offered now is actually worth it? Ferrari always banking on they’re the soul of F1, blah blah blah, so F1 can’t afford Ferrari leaves them. However, it seems many of us here don’t care if they go, which a view I also agree with.

    Personally I do really want Ferrari actually leaves F1, even for only a year sabbatical. Then we can see how true the Ferrari is F1 claim is by seeing the numbers of people still following F1 and for the executives the stock prices. More importantly the only tangible claim they have for the special treatment is because they’re there from the very beginning. Leaving F1 will destroy that claim and when they want to get back, no more reason to pay them extra.

  21. “If there are any proposals that distort F1, I think Ferrari will pull out.”

    It sounds like he’s suggesting that Liberty should completely take away the $50m unfair advantage that they’ve offered Ferrari, as surely that would distort the fair, sporting pecking order…? :)

  22. He’s only saying what is probably being talked about internally at Mercedes, Renault and Honda. Liberty have stated that they want to make sweeping changes to the sport and for an organization that has interests other than racing, the response will be, we’ll see what’s in the details and make our decision then. If the sport is no longer in line with what the business wishes to achieve the response will likely be to leave or make significant changes to how the organization participates in the sport.

  23. Formula 1 does not exist without Ferrari, whether the fans like it or not. Ferrari is synonymous with Formula 1 throughout the world and the day it does not run more in that category millions of people will stop following the category. It’s that easy.

  24. I wish Liberty would call their bluff.
    Remove the offer of the reduced payment completely now & let them get what every other team gets.

    Ferrari need F1 far more than F1 needs Ferrari.
    The show will go on without them, & any fans lost will eventually come back if the racing is decent, or be replaced by a new generation who isn’t in the habit of seeing Ferrari there.
    Ferrari on the other hand needs to sell cars, & they have no better tool for their image than F1. Without the F1 marketing platform Ferrari will need to spend what they spend on F1 anyway, all above the line, & with zero income like they receive from their F1 activities.

  25. I’m wondering if Ferrari will want a severance payment to compensate for the humiliation of not competing in F1.

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