Marchionne: Extreme conditions key to innovation in motorsport

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TURIN, Italy – Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes there should be more freedom for experimentation in motorsport in order to encourage innovation in the automotive industry.

A constant battle being faced by many championships including Formula 1 is that of balancing innovation and road-relevance with cost control.

Speaking in his opening statement ahead of the FIA Sport Conference in Turin on Tuesday, Marchionne stressed the importance of freedom in regulations to encourage innovation.

“The success and strength of Ferrari has always been closely linked to the world of Formula 1 and racing has always been the laboratory where the leading edge, innovative technologies for its street cars are developed,” Marchionne said.

“The character and potential of Ferrari is constantly tested on the track. In any event, I firmly believe that there should be more freedom for experimentation.”

Marchionne believes that the more radical technical regulations set to be introduced to F1 for 2017 are a step in the right direction to encouraging innovation.

“Jean Todt and the other members of the Formula One Commission have been trying to find a balance between ensuring access to the sport by limiting the costs of participation, and the need to innovate,” Marchionne said.

“I think that with the introduction of the 2017 regulations we have found an acceptable point of equilibrium, but we must be mindful that pushing cars to the limit and testing them under the most extreme conditions is the only way to guarantee the maximum yield in innovation.”