Formula 1: Ferrari team boss causes a stir with the alleged exit threat
Ferrari doesn’t want to save even more. If Formula 1 lowers the spending limit further because of Corona, the Scuderia could look around for alternatives. That could also influence Sebastian Vettel’s future.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has continued the explosive cost dispute in Formula 1 with delicate sentences. Amazed at the force of the statements, which were initially understood as a threat to exit, the Scuderia struggled to clarify on Thursday.
The racing team assured that it was “a misunderstanding”. Binotto’s words that Ferrari would not have to look for “other options” apart from Formula 1 in the event of a further drastic reduction in the budget limit, but sounded ominous.
The first suspicion: The Scuderia now wants to publicly demonstrate its resistance to further emergency austerity programs and uses the sharpest sword, the warning of a withdrawal. The Italian racing team actually wanted to celebrate its 1000th Grand Prix in the premier motorsport class this season. So far it was 991.
No other team has been there since the first World Cup year in 1950. Ferrari is the most dazzling Formula 1 brand. Should there actually be a break, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel would have to rethink his future after the end of his Ferrari contract at the end of the year.
The heart of the highly explosive conflict is the cost limit, which was set at around 161 million euros in 2021 after long debates. But that’s not enough for most people anymore. After the first round of the crisis, an informal meeting has already set the target for $ 150 million (€ 138 million). But the small teams and the international association are pushing to an even lower limit because of the Corona emergency.
Ferrari is against it. The racing team “does not want to be pushed into a position”, to have to look for alternatives to Formula 1 in order to use the “racing DNA” of the company, team boss Binotto was quoted by the “Guardian”. Ferrari fears that hundreds of jobs would be endangered by a drastically reduced limit.
How serious the Scuderia could be about changing its involvement in motorsport is open. According to the specialist portal “the-race.com”, the sports car manufacturer would consider starting in the long-distance world championship or the American Indycar series. It is questionable whether other racing series would offer the manufacturer such a strong platform as Formula 1.
The fact that Binotto is currently also in negotiations for a new contract with Vettel after this year suggests that Ferrari plans to continue in Formula 1 beyond 2020. Teammate Charles Leclerc, who is under contract until the end of 2024, would be “definitely happy” if Vettel would do another lap in the red racing car after six years at Ferrari, the 22-year-old Monegasse said in a video conference on Wednesday.
But before you can drive again at all, Formula 1 must first ensure the survival of all teams. How the Binotto statements at Williams, McLaren or Renault, which sent their employees in short-time work, can only be speculated. McLaren is even advocating $ 100 million as a future limit.
Mind you: the driver’s salaries were not included in the expenditure limit that was valid for the time being, further exceptions are also possible. In addition to Ferrari, Red Bull is also opposed to a further cut. Industry leader Mercedes is said to be not against a moderate further reduction.
“We are all aware that Formula One and the whole world are going through particularly difficult times as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Binotto. “But it is not the time to act hastily, because then you run the risk of making decisions in this emergency situation without having thought through all the consequences.”
It was not for the first time that he made reference to the different interests and strategies of the ten racing teams from pure manufacturers to private teams. And he is afraid of a further reduction in the budget for the reputation of the series as the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of technology and performance.
But the sophisticated Formula 1 against the corona pandemic is also powerless. The compulsory break, the end of which is not really foreseeable at the beginning of July despite plans for a season start in Austria, has dramatically exacerbated the emergency situation for some teams. It is therefore unclear how long Ferrari can afford its Basta stance against even more radical austerity measures.