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.