Ferrari denies speculation suggesting it could quit F1

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Scuderia Ferrari has released a statement rejecting stories about the team’s future in Formula 1, saying that they have been misconstrued and misunderstood.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported comments from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo that suggested the Italian marque could turn its back on F1 and turn attention to an expanded sportscar programme.

“Formula 1 isn’t working,” he said. “It’s declining because the FIA has forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency, come on.

“People watch racing to be entertained. No-one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It’s sport, yes, but also a show.”

Montezemolo also said that it would not be possible to run both the Le Mans and Formula 1 programmes side by side. However, a statement from the team suggested otherwise.

“Some elements of the media have suggested Ferrari would quit Formula 1 to concentrate on the Le Mans 24 Hours and Endurance racing,” the statement read. “This is a bit of a stretch based on President Luca di Montezemolo reiterating that Formula 1 needs to evolve and renew itself, while also admitting that there is a unique attraction to the 24 Hour race.

“To say that after 2020, Ferrari could quit Formula 1 to concentrate on Le Mans and the Endurance championship takes his words to extremes. Plus of course, there’s nothing to stop Ferrari upping the ante and competing in both disciplines. So it’s just pure speculation.”

Ferrari’s recent struggles in Formula 1 has coincided with a revival for endurance racing. The formation of the World Endurance Championship has made it a more cohesive series, and the arrival of Toyota, Porsche and – as of next year – Nissan to challenge Audi has given it new life.

Montezemolo has flirted with the idea of entering the LMP1 class again with a works team, and the new regulations in Formula 1 have not been to his liking; in his eyes, it is “taxi cab racing”.

This is not the first time that Ferrari has threatened to quit Formula 1, but the sport does appear to revolve around the team to some extent, with the Concorde Agreement having Ferrari-specific clauses.

For now though, it appears to just be another empty threat. That said, a Ferrari LMP1 project in the future is by no means out of the question.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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