Mattia Binotto, Albert Park, 2020

Ferrari: Binotto did not say team could quit F1 over lower budget cap

2020 F1 season

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Ferrari has issued a statement denying a claim team principal Mattia Binotto said it could leave the sport if the budget cap is lowered further.

“We would like to clarify what Mattia said in his interview with The Guardian published yesterday night,” said a statement issued by the team.

“He never mentioned about Scuderia Ferrari quitting F1, on the contrary, he said that we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at further options, besides continuing racing in F1, for deploying our racing DNA, in case the budget cap would be even more drastically reduced, putting at risk hundreds of workplaces.

“The misunderstanding was raised by the misleading headline of the article which was published at first and was immediately corrected.”

The piece was originally titled “Ferrari prepared to quit F1 if budget cap imposed, warns Mattia Binotto”, and subsequently renamed to “Ferrari to evaluate F1 future if budget cap imposed, warns Binotto”.

Binotto told the newspaper that a reduced budget cap of $145 million which some teams have proposed “is already a new and demanding request compared to what was set out last June.”

“It cannot be attained without further significant sacrifices, especially in terms of our human resources,” he added. “If it was to get even lower, we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at other further options for deploying our racing DNA.”

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2020 F1 season

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35 comments on “Ferrari: Binotto did not say team could quit F1 over lower budget cap”

  1. No no Mattia, you’re wrong.
    Apparently having to fire hundreds of people to accommodate certain teams (who didn’t raise their voice or opened their pockets when Manor and HRT fell) is all justified in the eyes
    of your average “Let’s turn F1 into a spec serie” fans.

    1. +1 it just wasnt those two but also teams like Force India, etc… who did their best to maximise from small budgets. Also it didnt take long for the person heading Limping Donkey to turn on their statement and make another empty threat.

  2. So “said that we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at further options, besides continuing racing in F1, for deploying our racing DNA” isn’t threatening to leave, good to know.

    I am sure that on a side that has a UK domain, some people have seen others that talk about leaving ‘clarifying’ statements recently. Not sure this really changes much at all about the message, though it does somewhat,eh, improve the wording to be less a threat and more a take pity on poor us for what we will be otherwise forced to do to ourselves and you.

    1. Play on words. Actually good to see even Ferrari understand they’re not winning by saying they will leave

    2. @bosyber Strictly speaking, “other options” could include redeploying people into other series in addition to F1, not only the “quit F1” option. In which case it makes perfect sense, because this is a pretty lousy time to be trying to join series. I can see how the newspaper got from that to believing Ferrari could leave, however.

      1. I can really see how a newspaper that knows the sport makes the sensible conclusion that what he meant to say was exactly what they put in the headline @alianora-la-canta.

        Sure, they phrased it with enough uncertainty to be able to now pull out of it, but reality is that we are back to exactly what Dieter Rencken predicted would be on the table in his article from yesterday. Ferrari are telling the F1 world that if they don’t get what they want, they will take their toys and go play somewhere else.

        How carefull they are to say it out loud also shows however, that Ferrari themselves are aware how hollow a threat it is, especially at this moment.

        Since they deduce part of their R&D from the F1 staff (see Dieters article) they would have to keep a significant portion of this to keep innovating their cars. Making it less likely they would walk off, since it would cost them a lot of money without the PR benefits.

        1. Indeed @bascb; @alianora-la-canta I almost wrote a long comment about why investing in WEC (more than their regualted GT effort) or other series is a possibility, but given you are always well informed, I don’t think that would give you more than you already know.

          In the end, it’s pretty clearly meant as a threat/warning, and this clarification doesn’t really change much apart from making clear the reality of what Dieter wrote, that who has the balance of power isn’t clear cut (and might be something neither side wants to find out).

  3. James Coulee
    23rd April 2020, 10:52

    That’s what I read the first time round: the “further” is quite unambiguous. If the budget cap is lowered even more, instead of firing people, they will look into racing in other categories too.

    That would be great for me, actually :) but I understand Ferrari would rather not do that… they’re having a hard time already to return to championship wins without having to split their attention with other endeavours.

    1. I don’t think that’s what they’re saying. After all, having a second racing program doesn’t pose a problem, as long as it doesn’t eat resources from the F1 team.
      But, Scuderia Ferrari not being an exclusive F1 operation? That opens a whole new can of worms for Liberty and Formula1. Having to share your flagship brand and most notorious competitor with another (cheaper) racing series is a disaster.

      1. @aetost Ferrari already has a second racing option (more like 12) through its F1 Clienti program. But if redeploying ex-F1 staff becomes part of its function, then it will need to be rather less choosy about which series it joins and with whom it associates than is currently the case.

        1. Yes, Ferrari has client programs, but no official ones, apart from F1. Even when they dabbed in top level sportscars during the 90’s, for example, they did it through Momo.
          A full factory Ferrari program, outside F1, will damage the series’ exclusivity. That’s what I’m saying.

          It probably is more complicated though: Ferrari wants to keep their talent (and their secrets), so they have to find employment for them, if F1 is not an option. Still, an F1 engineer, may want to stay in F1 and a healthier field of competitors may be able to employ him/her.

          1. @aetost I don’t see how it would do so, since those privateer teams are often mistaken for factory efforts by casual fans already.

      2. As @alianora-la-canta mentions, Ferrari operate many racing venues already @aetost. Just look at who was on podiums in endurance racing in WEC with the more “serial” production based cars. And how many Ferraris were racing all over the world in all sorts of competitions.

        These are all either ran by works teams or by customers that get various levels of support from the company. It could and would increase levels of involvement for many of those programs if they had to offset leaving F1

        1. As I mentioned above, these either are either not official/factory programs, nor top flight ones. Imagine a factory run LMP1 program, or a FormulaE one. Now, that could be problematic for F1.

          1. *neither

          2. An FE program wouldn’t be a solution to Ferrari (yeah, not really their market, electric cars) bir would it really pose a problem to F1.

            If Ferrari chose to do a full fledged LMP1 program, they will either be running alone as a manufacturer, or effectively alone since the cost are still prohibitive, that is why they all pulled out. More or less the same situation F1 finds itself in, but more escalated, since the manufacturers and privateers have already left @aetost.
            And on top of that, WEC wouldn’t do anything to boost their PR, otherwise we would all know how many Ferraris from both factory ran teams and customer teams are alredy winning in endurance racing. So Ferrari would have to spend a LOT of money to make that seem enticing and glorious enough to fit their brand as main racing activity.

    2. @jamescoulee @fer-no65 I agree, the “other further options” was pretty clear at face value, but the writer seems to have fallen into the trap of repeating past narratives. It happens.

      As a race fan, I’d love to see Ferrari building a hypercar or an IndyCar hybrid engine, too!

    3. That’s what I read the first time round: the “further” is quite unambiguous. If the budget cap is lowered even more, instead of firing people, they will look into racing in other categories too.

      Indeed James Coulee, overlooking the ‘further’ changes the interpretation of the quote quite dramatically.
      From a threat, it suddenly becomes an opportunity.

      Of course, choosing a sexier headline increases the audience; even this site did it in today’s round-up.

      1. even this site did it in today’s round-up

        And the comment pointing that out has now gone.

  4. @JamesCoulee that’s what I understand now too.

  5. To my understanding they can’t “look at further other options”, their contract with F1 doesn’t allow them to race in other categories apart from those where they can use some version of their street cars. So he is threatening to quit.
    But this might be a good opportunity for Liberty: Present them a new contract, without the exclusivity clause AND without the veto clause. Let’s see what they do when faced with the ugly reality.

    1. @J_Oliver There are a lot of series where Ferrari can race various versions of its street cars, and if that clause is there, how can the likes of Mercedes be in Formula E? The F1 team may not be able to partake of other series directly, but for a manufacturer able to spawn other subdivisions more or less at will (I say more or less because I’m not sure the offices to process that are necessarily open in Italy right now, the way they are in the UK), it’s a formality.

      1. “How can the likes of Mercedes be in Formula E?”
        My undertanding is that the clause, if still exists, is exclusive for them,, is what Bernie asked in exchange for giving them veto power and extra money no matter how they performed in the championship.

        1. And can be removed (if it still exists) as they have not yet signed a new Concorde Agreement for 2021 and further.

          It might even be mandatory for them to stay in F1 with the new budget cap, so they can shuffle their employees to other categories, like WEC.

    2. Heres the problem though ferrari’s deal with f1 runs out in 2021 so even if f1 do have an exclusive deal with ferrari they can’t stop them joining another series in 2021

      1. That’s why is a good time for Liberty, Ferari doesn’t want to leave, they only want their way but Liberty can use their tantrum against them.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    23rd April 2020, 12:30

    But they did suggest leaving if the cost cap is reduced further? And if they’re now ‘amending’ that to they’d entertain racing in other categories if it did, then GOOD! Compete in F1 AND go to Formula E, go do Indycar, go do so many other things! Obviously Ferrari have the money to do it, and clearly the manpower that they’re insistent on not losing, so go do it? Like their threatening position isn’t much threatening when it’s actually a good thing! I like Ferrari but honestly they sometimes need to be quiet and focus on actually winning something for once.

  7. This is a loop, it is like the 2nd time In a couple years.
    Journos doing their thing and dragging other journos into it.

  8. Ferrari double speak again. “ I didn’t say what you said I said,but I meant what you thought I meant but didn’t say it.”

    Clear now?

  9. While I think it was reasonable for the journalist to reach the conclusion that Ferrari were once again threatening to quit F1 over budget issues, I think they should have asked a clarifying follow up question to ensure that was what they were indeed saying. The art of the follow up question seems to be a lost journalistic practice these days.

  10. Isn’t this normal though, for Ferrari to threaten to quit every year.

  11. I don’t think Ferrari would ever quit F1. As was pointed out in yesterday’s article they have too much to lose.

    I like Ferrari and I admire their history and their commitment to F1. They cannot have it all their own way though. If truth be told though I am pretty sure they would have support in their line on this from the likes of Red Bull.

    Equally though, F1 would not want to lose Ferrari. It would be a huge blow to the sport. So the truth is in a compromise as ever. I think Liberty should take quite a tough line though and insist on some reduction. Split the difference perhaps and target $160 million?

    1. When you consider the huge amount of debt that countries will be getting into, and the fact they will raise taxes to pay back the debt, it does prudent to be trimming the F1 budget cap. Really the budget cap should be lower than the $145M. In Dieter’s (@dieterrencken) recent article he mentions $125M, which I think is a good starting point.

  12. Paul Rodriguez
    23rd April 2020, 17:20

    That’s EXACTLY what he said.

  13. please for once,, GET THE F U CK out . i like ferrari but , this threat BS has got to stop

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