Call Ferrari’s Bluff!

Ferrari have issue an ultimatum to the FIA stating “No F1 in 2010 if the rules do not change, Ferrari does not intend to register cars for the 2010 F1 world championship.” – good riddance! Ferrari have gotten their own way far too much over the years because they are the oldest established team in Formula 1. FIA president Max Mosley recently made it clear that “Formula 1 can survive without Ferrari”, let’s hope that Max and the FIA stick to their guns, not allowing Ferrari or Ferrari fanboy and commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone to derail the plans for a cap on spending. Although I believe the two tier system is inherently flawed, I believe that a spending cap is in the best interests of Formula 1s long term future! It is noted that suddenly now Ferrari are having a bad season they threaten to quit the sport much like BMW. If these teams were having a successful season; would they still have the same stance? Ferrari, Toyota, BMW, Red Bull/Toro Rosso and reputedly McLaren Mercedes have threatened to pull out of F1 if the 2010 budget cap goes ahead. It is also noted that many of these teams have previously been in favour of cost cutting in F1, hypocrites!!! I believe the FIA needs to make a stand, either the teams compete under the rules of the sport or look to compete elsewhere. What many people have overlooked is the financial constraints, if F1 doesn’t change then it will lose many of it’s existing teams because of rising costs of competing and dwindling sponsorship resources. The manufacturer based teams compete in F1 because it’s good for their core market, adding motorsports pedigree to a car brand is rarely harmful. But public spending on new cars is very limited right now because people have to tighten their belts financially and large purchases like new cars are simply not on the agenda. Formula 1 wouldn’t be very attractive viewing if only Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota were the only teams competing! Plus I believe teams like Toyota and BMW are looking for a face saving way of pulling out of Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing!

The general consensus on the BBC 606 message boards is good riddance to Ferrari and any other team that tries to hold the sport to ransom. Of course there are others that say we must keep Ferrari in the sport no matter the cost. But the question is how many times do we allow teams to release a statement “we’ll quit the sport if we don’t get our own way” before a stand is taken and call their bluff; let’s see if their actions are a big as their words. It comes down to teams believing they are bigger than the sport. They have no place in the sport, it’s as simple as that in my eyes!

Additional: I have just found an article with a list of expenditure by all the teams competing in F1 in 2008. While reading that, it made me wonder about the feasibility of having a £40m cap. Even the ill-fated Super Aguri team spent $45m (£29.5m) in a handful of Grand Prix. The next lowest budget was Force India spending $121m (£79m) and six of the teams spent more than $300m (£196m). So a £40m cap may not be very feasible in the real world. I am still in favour of a cap but some more thought needs to be put into the cap amount! £120m – £150m maybe?

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