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Ferrari call Max’s bluff

May 12th, 2009

Massa, Spain, 2009Ferrari dropped a massive bombshell today.  After a meeting of the Board of Directors, Ferrari issued a statement saying they would not compete in the 2010 Formula One World Championship unless the new regulations are changed.  This makes Ferrari the fourth team, after Toyota, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, to announce that they will not compete in a two-tier Championship.

When Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo first expressed his displeasure with the new regulations Max Mosley said “the sport could survive without Ferrari”,  an inflammatory statement that Bernie Ecclestone has been trying to smooth over ever since.

Could Formula One survive without Ferrari?  I suppose it could, in some form, but it wouldn’t be the same.  Ferrari are the only team to have competed in every Formula One Grand Prix in the Championship’s 60 year history and they are the most popular team, by far.

This is a warning shot, fired ahead of di Montezemolo’s meeting with Mosley set to take place later this week.  I hope that some kind of compromise can be reached, but whatever happens, it will have to happen soon.  The deadline for entries to the 2010 Championship is a little over two weeks away.

In their statement, Ferrari also made criticism of the way the sport is being run, specifically the way the FIA have attempted to force through rule changes without the consultation of the teams.  I have to agree.

Under the leadership of Max Mosley, the FIA has become an adversarial organisation that seems hostile to the very sport it is meant to support.  While Bernie Ecclestone is obsessed by the almighty dollar, Mosley seems obsessed by power.

If Mosley will not compromise and Ferrari were to leave Formula One, I’m sure other teams would follow them.  What would happen next is anyone’s guess but whatever it was, it is the fans that would be the losers.

What do you think?  Could F1 survive without Ferrari?

The Ferrari statement in full:

The Board of Directors examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the FIA during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April 2009. Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter, the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula One, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.

The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula One in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari’s uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years – the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 – would come to a close.

The Board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams.

The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula One over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.

The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula One are the priorities for the future.

If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula One World Championship.

Ferrari trusts that its many fans worldwide will understand that this difficult decision is coherent with the Scuderia’s approach to motorsport and to Formula One in particular, always seeking to promote its sporting and technical values.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors was mandated to evaluate the most suitable ways and methods to protect the company’s interests.

Image: Ferrari

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