F1: Ferrari’s Marchionne Liberty’s Malone to Stay in His Own Lane
Ferrari’s boss does not want to see F1 ‘diluted by commercial and entertainment factors’
Ferrari Chairman/CEO Sergio Marchionne wants F1 owners Liberty Media to back off and let Ferrari get on with the business of making F1 cars.
Recently, Mr. Marchionne said he disagreed with some of Liberty Media’s ideas for the sport after Y 2020.
Liberty has floated notions such as slower cars and builder/racer budget caps.
Mr. Marchionne said at the Geneva motor show this week that he believes a compromise will be found, but he did not discount Ferrari’s threat to quit if the rules do not fit with The Scuderia’s vision of F1.
“We want a clear protection of the DNA of this sport,” he said. “We do not want it to be diluted by commercial and entertainment factors. We are engaged in the technical side, while I believe Liberty does not understand a thing about this. So let us work this out.”
On the F1 testing track in Spain
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel kicked off the 2nd week of F1 testing in Barcelona with a field-leading 1 min, 20.396 sec lap Tuesday.
Mr. Vettel’s time was 2/10’s of a sec quicker than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (1:20.596). Max Verstappen of Red Bull was 3rd at 1:20.649.
Back to the Geneva Motor Show and Mr. Marchionne
“If one competitor cannot be distinguished from the next, if Ferrari cannot stand out from MercedesAMG then we will do something else.”
When asked if the Bernie Ecclestone era was better, Mr. Marchionne said: “Liberty’s commercial commitment is very serious, but Bernie had a unique strength, he was not going to interfere in the technical choice.”
Mr. Marchionne ruled out moving Ferrari into Formula E, saying the category is “too funny to watch on TV with all those car changes. For Alfa Romeo, we thought about it but we are not ready to talk about it. I do not think the technology is suitable.”
As for the rumor about Maserati teaming up with Haas, Mr. Marchionne said: “We have thought about it and there is that possibility, but first I want to see how it goes with Sauber and Alfa.”