Ferrari, Interlagos, 2019

Ferrari confirm they are considering a move into IndyCar

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed the team is evaluating a future move into IndyCar racing.

Binotto previously warned the team may consider racing in series other than Formula 1 if the budget cap slated for introduction next year fell below $145 million. As RaceFans reported last week, teams are closing on a deal to lower the cap to $145m next year and reduce it further over the following seasons.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Binotto said the team would “review its organisation” as a result of the reduction in the cap, which originally stood at $175 million plus exceptions.

Binotto indicated a move into IndyCar would be in addition to their F1 programme and allow them to reduce job losses as a result of the cap.

“As Ferrari we feel strong social responsibility towards our employees and we are concerned about their future,” said Binotto. “Which is why we are also looking at other alternatives besides Formula 1, such as IndyCar for example, and we will try to make the best choice. In addition to F1 which is part of our history.”

Start, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2019
Ferrari could return to the Indianapolis 500
Ferrari is the only team which has competed in every season of F1, though not every race, since the world championship began 70 years ago.

IndyCar is a much more technologically restrictive category than Formula 1. Teams use single-specification chassis supplied by Dallara.

Two competing engine manufacturers are involved in the championship at present – Honda and Chevrolet. They use 2.2-litre V6 twin-turbo engines with no hybrid component. Hybrid systems are due for introduction in 2022.

In the mid-eighties Ferrari team founder Enzo Ferrari famously threatened to enter IndyCar racing – then run by CART – in a dispute over the future Formula 1 rules. The team built a car compliant with the regulations, the 637, but it never raced.

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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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  • 65 comments on “Ferrari confirm they are considering a move into IndyCar”

    1. Great! It makes sense for them to look into this, but I think it’s highly unlikely they will return to Indy (after Ascari in the 1950s).

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        15th May 2020, 10:23

        More likely than you think.

        It’s likely Indycar switch to a new chassis and hybrid engines will happen in 2022. Perfect timing for Ferrari to supply the new spec chassis and. Along with F1 that would employ plenty of staff.

        Indycar would L-O-V-E it and stranger things have happened.

    2. Good for Ferrari. Unlike some of the other F1 teams, they offer their workers a job for life. I believe they reward their best engineers with a job in the race shop. If FIA/FOM cut F1 team numbers, Ferrari are not going to put them back in the factory or sack them.

      It’s all very well for Brawn to rattle on about costs, but sacking trained staff is the hidden cost of LM and CVC creaming off the profits to repay debts created to make them ridiculous amounts of money.

      1. Kinda easy to keep workers for life when you earn 70 million annually just for existing and have a veto to decide what rules get or do not get passed to your liking.

        1. Ferrari sell a lot of road cars at a massive profit too.

        2. @yaru LOL that’s not how companies work. All the profit goes to the owners, not the workers!

    3. Sure they are…until they realize that Indycars doesn’t allow factory teams, engine manufacturers must supply other teams and all teams run a common chassis. And the series won’t pay them $100million a year to play on their field.

      1. @photogcw Im sure, that you, some dude on the internet… somehow know something Ferrari doesnt…

        1. I know the rules of Indycars. I actually follow the series. Tell us what you know.

          1. @photogw It’s not about what he knows, it’s about what Ferrari knows.

            1. @mashiat Unlike the FIA, Indycars is fairly open about their rules and regulations. This is just another bluff by the Scuderia to get their way with F1. You can see their last Indycar program at their museum in Marenello.

            2. @photogcw I think it is ridiculous to suggest that Ferrari has mentioned having a look at IndyCar but that they somehow don’t know the lay of the land there. They obviously must. As to rules, I think we are as aware of F1’s rules as we are of the IndyCar rules. They’re available to read. As to bluffing F1, not sure why F1 would care. If Ferrari is staying in F1 as they have said they are, and obviously abiding by the new cap, how is that a bluff by Ferrari towards F1, and why would F1 or FIA care if Ferrari wanted to do IndyCar at the same time? That’s their business.

          2. Here’s what I know, they are well aware of the rules. They were ready to join as an engine manufacturer in 2018, then Sergio Marchionne died and joining was put on hold. Highly unlikely that IndyCar would allow chassis competition with the Covid issue. It’s a smart move for them to join, the US is Ferrari’s biggest market, and give them a chance to win the biggest race in the world.

            1. Ferrari have won the biggest race in the world several times- the 24 hours of LeMans. Did you mean the biggest race in North America?

      2. If internet halfwits know this I’m sure one of the most successful racing teams and sports car manufacturers with almost a century in racing have some idea about the rules of another series.

    4. Bill Shorter
      14th May 2020, 21:44

      I’d love to see this happen. Especially if Ferrari decides to become an alternate chassis and engine supplier. The current rules don’t allow it but that doesn’t make it impossible. Rules change, Roger used to make his own chassis and I’m sure he’d love to see and influx of money and innovation come into the sport.

    5. Is it the ’80s again? At least last time Ferrari said this, Indy actually allowed multiple chassis, so the bluff want such obvious nonsense.

      1. They would join as an engine mfg. It was going to be announced they were joining in 2018 and Sergio Marchionne died, and it was put on hold. Exciting news!

        1. They were going to join with Alfa branding as they were just re-entering the US market.

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        15th May 2020, 10:26

        The tender for the spec chassis is due, 2022 I think. Indycar could swap one Italian chassis builder for another.

    6. My prediction: if they do this they will be doing it first and foremost as an engine supplier. Then they’ll have a sort of semi-official team (possibly an existing team) which runs with a Ferrari sponsorship and livery.

    7. And with a reduced budget cap maybe some top indycar teams will race in F1.

      Having the same race teams in multiple series is awesome. Reminds me of the 60s.

      McLaren V Ferrari in Indycar? Yes pls.

      1. Yes, a very tantalizing prospect! This should have happened long ago (which it almost did in the 80’s). Bring on Mercedes too.

        1. And the Brabham name back at Le Mans. The world is finally correcting itself haha.

          1. @macca if you are talking about the team itself, it’s wrong to say the Brabham name is “back at Le Mans” – because the original team, as best as I can tell, never entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    8. Great move, long overdue! Why they haven’t been involved (Merc too) a long time ago is a mystery. The States have been their biggest market since they started selling cars. Tremendous value for money, and a chance to win the worlds biggest race. A no brainer.

    9. Two comments. LOL and LOL.

    10. I’m all for Ferrari wanting to have a go at racing in Indycar as well as in F1, but I can’t see the point of them going there instead of racing in F1. Do they really want to plaster “Honda”, “Chevrolet”, and “Dallara” on their car?

      1. Correct me if I am wrong but Indycar used to have 3 engine suppliers did it not. Ferrari may be negotiating with Indycar to become a third engine supplier.

        I would not be surprised to see them enter Formula E as well as that is where the majority of there market rivals are racing.

        1. @drycrust @macca Or even negotiating to become a chassis supplier, as Mario Andretti suggested. Seems the old man wasn’t just taking a shot in the dark when he spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport, but was clued into something going on. As is usually the case with Mario!

          1. Provide a chassis and not put a Ferrari engine in it?!

            …assuming what little I know about is that they couldn’t put them both together?

        2. @macca they briefly did have a third engine supplier in the form of Judd (aka Engine Developments Limited), which was commissioned by Lotus in 2012.

          Unfortunately, it underperformed so badly – don’t forget that Alesi and de Silvestro were eventually black flagged from the Indy 500 because their cars were so slow and underpowered that they were becoming a hazard to other drivers – which resulted in Lotus pulling the plug at the end of that year.

          Since then, nobody else has wanted to join because, right now, it’s a loss making activity – I believe the regulations IndyCar have means that the engines have to be sold below the cost of production (i.e. the engine manufacturers are being made to subsidise the series).

          Honda and Chevrolet have said in the past that they wanted additional suppliers – not for competition, but because it would mean they weren’t making as much of a loss on the series as they are right now. With that in mind, it would only work for Ferrari if it was the case that the marketing benefits are quite large – because, as a means of keeping people employed, it’s not particularly efficient given that they would be losing money on every engine they made.

      2. Pretty sure they would join as an engine mfg, not chassis supplier.

      3. pastaman (@)
        15th May 2020, 13:44

        @drycrust “Binotto indicated a move into IndyCar would be in addition to their F1 programme

      4. Indycar is looking for a 3rd and 4th engine supplier as we speak so they could come in and run a car in their name. They can just call the team Ferrari they don’t need to label it anything but that. That’s how the Indycar rules work. Also in 2022 they could try and push to build and sell their own cars when the rules are due to change. So there would be no problem being a “factory” Indycar team. If McLaren Built their own engines they could have done the same

    11. Why does the article say binotto ‘warned’ they may enter indycar, like its some threat? He’s said it will be in addition to F1 and given a valid reason.

      1. If he said it will be done regardless of the cost cap then its fine. But he said that they would do it IF the cost cap was kept.

        1. Exactly, to prevent sacking a lot of good engineers that won’t be able to work in the F1 team anymore due to the cost cap, can’t you read the article? Indycar will be an addition to their F1 program not a replacement and the deal with Sainz make a lot of sense in this respect since the 40 millions saved from Vettel’s contract will pay for the Indycar program, so nobody should be feel threated or warned about anything.

    12. If Ferrari cant work with a budget over 100mi in F1 how would it do with a Indycar team budget.

      1. Easy all they would be spending on is the dampers and shock setup bc that’s all that’s open for development and their budget to build motors would not be that high compared to a F1 budget. I bet one F1 power unit costs as much as a full season of Indy motors

    13. If Ferrari joins IndyCar, they will have negotiated some rule changes. They will want to make both engines and chassis, it’s part of Ferrari ethos to do so. Keeping in mind one reason they would join IndyCar is to keep people employed, they will also agree to supply other teams, but only if they can run a Ferrari engine on a Ferrari chassis.
      IndyCar would benefit greatly from the arrival of Ferrari, so these “demands” or “concessions” as they will be called by some, should be a no-brainer for IndyCar.
      And as a fan, I would have little interest if there isn’t a Ferrari engine on a Ferrari chassis.

      1. Maybe they should make their own racing series, where everyone races using the same Ferrari engines and chasis.

        Could be fun, to showcase the power of Ferrari against ither Ferraris.

        1. Given their recent history they’d still find a way to lose..

          1. Very likely it is a game and series that Ferrari would not be permitted to win.
            If they build a better engine, the rules will be tweaked to equalize. Same for the chassis. If I recall, in the past when Indy Car had two chassis suppliers, one was forced to take on “Success Ballast” to equalize their performance.
            paint a Dalara RED, does that make it a Ferrari.? I think not.
            Saving jobs for personnel based in Italy is window dressing.
            Design and aero development, not permitted
            Testing, doesn’t exist.
            Fabrication, see Design
            Team operation and logistics … all in the US. Not in Italy.
            Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the idea. And would I watch it ??… you bet.
            Under the current rules, not going to happen. Changes in the rules.??, slim chance and likely there would be 20 teams fighting against that.

    14. I wonder why they would move to Indycar?

      It’s a spec series, so a Ferrari would look just like a Penske or an Andretti or an RLLR car, and it really limits development opportunities. I feel it would de-value the Ferrari brand quite a bit.

      I feel a move to the LMH/LMDH category would be better for them.

      It would allow a Ferrari to continue to stand out as a Ferrari, they can continue to develop new drivetrain systems while promoting their exotic hypercars, maintaining their state of the art, luxury status in the market.

    15. Something that was been discussed last year was the next Indycar ruleset due for 2022 allowing multiple chassis builders.

      Some teams are against it as it would potentially raise costs but others are all for it as its felt been largely spec is hurting its growth. They believe opening things up to something closer to CART would bring growth that would make a cost increase worth the risk.

      And TBH if Ferrari said they wanted in if they could be a chassis supplier I think its something Indycar would do as having Ferrari involved would be seen as a big deal.

      And Honda & Chevrolet are also desperate to get additional manufacturers involved as they were never meant to be supplying as many teams as they each are (Indycar promised 4 suppliers by 2014 when current engine regs came in) & with the subsidies in place its starting to hurt them quite a lot.

    16. No please don’t do this Ferrari. It will sully your brand.

      1. pastaman (@)
        15th May 2020, 13:47

        Yeah, I mean why would they want to showcase their brand in their biggest market? Jeez, they’re so silly

      2. People who this stuff like that are the reason some Americans have such a negative view on European people because they seem to feel like they are above everything an snub their nose up. Tell me how this would hurt them? They would be at the largest race in the world every year and would be in America’s top open wheel series promoting their brand in their largest market. So where’s the issue?

        1. @racerdude7730 as others have noted, the Indy 500 isn’t necessarily the “the largest race in the world”.

          In terms of attendance figures, the 24 Hours of Le Mans runs the Indy 500 pretty close (it’s been regularly pulling in over 250,000 people over the past few years). In terms of viewing figures, I believe the 24 Hours of Le Mans beats out the Indy 500 as the ACO has a wider international presence, whereas, outside of the US, broadcast options for the Indy 500 are rather more limited.

          As for their “largest market”, Ferrari themselves define the EMEA market sector as being their largest sales sector, with the Americas coming in next. More specifically, I believe that Ferrari sold about 2,900 cars in the US in 2019, but around 3,700 cars in Europe.

          Leaving those points aside, the actual question of whether it is necessarily a good thing depends on how competitive they turn out to be – Porsche and Alfa Romeo are two manufacturers who ended up tarnishing their reputations when they entered IndyCar in the past, only to struggle with uncompetitive cars. In more recent times, the rather open struggles that Lotus and their Judd built engines is another reminder of how an uncompetitive engine could end up actively hurting your brand, rather than enhancing it.

          The expectations for Ferrari to perform will be very high, and I would anticipate that casual fans and spectators would expect a company like Ferrari to be getting podiums and scoring wins. Even if the results were not disastrous – say, regular points finishes, but tending to be towards the middle to lower part of the points scoring – then that would probably still be considered underwhelming, which in turn might have a fairly neutral, or possibly even slightly detrimental, impact on their reputation in the US.

          1. Yes. With such a formula there’s no guarantee they will be successful, and to not win in Indycar will diminish the Ferrari brand. Look how McLaren was almost a laughing stock https://f1i.com/news/341670-brown-admits-mclaren-was-a-victim-of-its-own-comedy-of-errors-at-indy.html – although they could ‘afford’ it as they were practically a laughing stock in F1 as well.

            Being exclusive to F1 elevates the Ferrari brand. Not being in other formula series is actually beneficial. It’s not like Ferrari needs ‘marketing’ outside F1.

    17. A good idea actually , though with the DW 12 being obligated I don’t see it happening.

      @keithcollantine simewhat misleading/sensationalising title for the article. Implying strongly they are threatning to quit F1. Why not something mote like “ferrari considers adding indycar to their roster”

    18. If it were the ChampCar days, sure. International races against other manufacturers and big teams.

      I don’t see the appeal these days. And it would be detrimental to the series if they were to join as Scuderia Ferrari with unlimited budgets. Outside of Penske, nobody could compete with money.

      The tender for the next chassis IS open, but I’m looking at McLaren more than Ferrari to take on Dallara in that front.
      The now legendary Quest for the Third Engine Maker is ongoing as always, and I’m sure FCA is in the discussions but that’s a separate company to the Scuderia

      But that’s not how I read the situation anyway. They are saying in Italy what they’re expected to say, the multibillion company is not planning to fire some its Italian workforce due to external mandates but are instead actively seeking alternative solutions.
      Internal politics.

      1. Not even with new Hybrid engine and multiple chassis rules coming in 2022?

        1. Where does everyone get this “multiple chassis rules” from ? Certainly not from IndyCar

          IF there were alternate designs coming in, they’d already be late since the philosophy is/has been a strictly enforced BOP. It’d have to be running around by now

          Start of 2022 is just 20 months away and no-one has reported testing something, or beyond any preliminary renderings floating around (which I’m suspecting are fan made anyway)

          Even the manufacturing process of 20 or so chassis ready to deploy to the teams takes up most of the 20 months.

          1. It has been talked about you just have to read into the inside stories going around the last few years as we get closer

    19. Meh, I don’t buy it. But it could be a smart, sneaky move, to pretend to participate in Indy and still work with full force on F1. Then find an excuse not to take part in the actual Indy, and you are done, Italian way. But this can only work for 1 or 2 years, I guess

    20. Can we dream of Ferrari joining LMP1, that would be awesome!

    21. Ferrari are the most toxic political force in F1, and they’ve been holding back much needed progress for years.

      Let them go. We’ll have better racing without their constant whinging and tantrums.

      1. They wouldn’t be leaving F1, just adding IndyCar. Something that they were close to doing in the mid 80’s, and were ready to announce in 2018 before Marchionne died.

    22. Makes sense given that a domestic US series has more chance of completing a season going forward than F1. Good chance that F1 becomes effectively a European series.

    23. Yeah. Ferrari have done such a bang-up job in F1, I expect they’ll be kicking ass in Indy the first time out. Perhaps they’ll hire no-driving Vettel as their #1 driver.

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