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Ferrari to pull out of F1 if rules aren't changed
Ferrari to pull out of F1 if rules aren't changed
Posted By:   |  12 May 2009   |  3:41 pm GMT  |  89 comments

Ferrari today decided to test Max Mosley’s assertion that “Formula 1 can survive without Ferrari”

Montezemolo: Raising the stakes

Montezemolo: Raising the stakes

It issued a strongly worded statement following a meeting of the Board of Directors which said that it would not enter the 2010 F1 world championship if the rules voted through by the FIA world council on April 29th are not changed.

It noted that the April 29th meeting was convened to hear a disciplinary matter (the McLaren lie-gate scandal) and that the decisions taken there brought into being a two tier system of rules “based on arbitrary technical rules and parametres.”

It goes on to say that “if this is regulatory framework for Formula 1 in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari’s uninterrupted participation in the world championship over the last 60 years..would come to a close.

“The board also went on to express its disappointment about the methods adoped by the FIA in taking decision of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams.”

Ferrari argues that the rules of governance that have contributed to the development of F1 over the last 25 years have been disgregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.

But Ferrari’s beef goes beyond just saying that they want the rules on budget caps to be dropped. They want to use this episode to get a review of the way the sport is governed by the FIA.

Bernie Ecclestone worked hard over the weekend in Barcelona to get the teams to think about a way forward on this. Basically the manufacturers are all lined up behind Ferrari. Toyota’s John Howett paved the way for today’s announcement by saying effectively the same thing and now we will see if BMW, Mercedes and Renault follow Ferrari out of the trenches and declare that they too will quit if the conditions don’t change.

They probably don’t need to. Ferrari saying that they will quit F1 is a massive statement which will resonate all over the world. It is a real shame for all parties that it has come to this. As they say, their participation in F1 has lasted an unbroken 60 years and although they have threatened this in the past behind closed doors, to come out with such a strong public statement is in itself damaging for the credibility of the sport, even if the threat is not ultimately carried through.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was due to meet Max Mosley later this week in London, but he has decided to massively up the ante ahead of that meeting.

In the interests of Ferrari and the sport, both men will have to climb down from their current positions. But there is more to this than merely hammering out a deal on budget cuts/caps. Ferrari has gone further and questioned the governance of the sport and the last two lines of the statement are heavily loaded,

“The chairman of the Board of Directors (Montezemolo) was mandated to evaluate the most suitable ways and methods to protect the company’s interests.”

This has several meanings in one. It means that they are looking into a legal challenge because they believe that ‘binding contractual obligations’ have been breached. These refer to a veto right which Ferrari negotiated into its deal when it broke ranks with the other manufacturers in early 2005 and signed up to stay in F1 until 2012.

Also it means that they are evaluating other sporting series, wither joining an existing one, like Le Mans, or starting a new one, with the other manufacturers.

This then is a test of which is the stronger brand. Is it Ferrari or is it Formula 1?

As a side note, it would be very interesting to know whether some broadcasters and promoters have a condition in their contracts with Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM that certain specific teams have to be in the field, one of which would surely be Ferrari.

When the manufacturers were thinking about that breakaway series in 2004/5, I know that this was discussed as a way of TV companies being sure they were going to be showing the right series..

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I see this as the teams starting to negotiate the rules with the FIA rather than having them dictated, which is no bad thing.

For the good of F1 the teams have to have some input into the rules, and although sensationalism journalists (not James his story title is 100% accurate) will be jumping up and down I can't see Ferrari pulling out. They really would be shooting themselves in the hoof.

I fully expect the rules to be amended probably with a higher budget cap and Ferrari, Red Bull and Toyota remaining. I'd love to hear your hypothesis James!

The other aspect of this I'm mulling over is how can the FIA back down without losing too much face? It's become fairly apparent that the Teams, Sponsors and Broadcasters have most of the power.


People neglect to mention that Ferrari already participate in a global open wheller series.

It's the one with their name on the sides of every car.


Of course, it's not Formula 1, but as far as putting the brand around the globe, what would happen if Ferrari put its full marketing muscle into it rather than F1?

In other words, F1 may not need Ferrari, but does Ferrari still need F1?


James, I have to say that i am absolutely loving this power play from Ferrari. They are reminding the FIA who's box office in this sport. I'm sick and tired of the autocratic way that the FIA have governed the sport in recent times and it's about time they got a wake up call. The budget cap is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt on behalf of the FIA to wrestle control of the sport from the big teams. You can open the sport up to as many independents as you like but the manufacturers always hold the keys.


While I absolutely disagree with the idea of a two tier formula, I think it's important to stress that the sport should, could, and would be able to survive with Ferrari. They are not bigger than Formula One (no one should argue this) and they're certainly not the only reason I tune in every couple of weeks. Perhaps with their absence this relatively young sport might benefit.


There are two points to make here:

Firstly, Ferrari won't pull out. This is just a threat to get what they want: throwing the toys out of the pram!

Secondly, Ferrari would not be missed. They have shown the fans and the other teams total contempt, and have flagrantly broken the rules on a regular basis. I hope without Ferrari, we can see some proper governance from Ferrari International Assistance!


If F1 starts pandering to Italian politicking they may as well stop F1 at the end of the season.
Ferrari need to be told where to go - they definitely need F1 more than F1 need them.


I think the FIA need to listen to the teams and fans. This whole medal system that was going to be brought in is a perfect example of the FIA not listening to what WE want.

If it wasn't to close before the start of the season the medal system would be in by now and Button would only have to win a handful more races to be WDC.

To FOM and the FIA - we, the fans, are the reason why you have a sport so maybe you should listen to what we want rather than thinking of your own personal fortunes!

I think the teams need to boycott a GP to be taken seriously!


I'm confused as to why Ferrari (and the other manufacturers) are so adamant about a cap. Is it the amount? Is it the fact their hands are being tied?

If I was a Ferrari/Fiat share holder, I'd be asking why do they want to have the option of spending an unlimited amount of money?

If there was the possibility of ring fencing budget for F1 activities, I can't understand why you would not want to accept it?

Is it because F1 is considered R&D by the manufacturers? Therefore, expenditure on F1 offsets R&D expenditure in the rest of the organisation?

Can you explain it to me please?



This is fascinating. I cannot see either party backing down. This could collapse F1 like a house of cards to spawn a new series with new rules. The teams (manufacturers) have to stand together as the series is a manufacturing showcase. But who will lead it?

A green, Branson led non FIA F1 ? Or will they all bang their heads together and compromise?


Where the FIA got it completely wrong was in giving more technical benefits to new teams with no tradition and who will operate on the "cheap", than to those that have been committed to the sport for decades, spent a lot of money this year alone developing these silly KERS systems, have the best drivers and ultimately draw the crowds in every fortnight.

Why should Ferrari, Renault, BMW, Toyota, McLaren be bullied into sacking half their F1 workforce within the next 6-7 months - just so that mickey mouse teams like USF1 and Lola can join in?

It should be the other way round - the new teams enter under a budget and get extra long-term financial incentives from FOM so they can thrive, not a technical advantage. And then in 2011/2012 they bring everyone in line in a more progressive way.

It's almost like the FIA want to cause controversy, split the teams and get rid of the big manufacturers. If that is what they (i.e Max) want they are doing a good job of it. Sadly.


No one in their right minds will sign for a series and invest countless millions if there are not stable regulations and some sort of interaction between the teams and the governing body. To announce the two teir regulations at a world council meeting [which was called to hear the Mclaren/steward problem] and then say that the FIA will change the regulations as and when they like and raise or lower the budget cap, not to mention sending in their accountants at any time to inspect the teams accounts shows how scared the FIA is of FOTA. I hope they all go and set up their own series in 2011 and then hopefully in the future we can enjoy a series of the the best cars, driven by the best drivers, designed by the best designers and made by the best engineers, with sensible regulations and reasonable prices for the fans. I hope this is not wishful thinking, I have a very depressed feeling that it is.


I'm afraid the FIA under it's current leadership has time and again railroaded decisions without consultation with implications for many. As a former FD of a motorsport business I have first hand experience of being on the receiving end of a fax from the FIA describing the outcome of a meeting that we were not involved in where our annual costs were increased by multiples of millions as a result of the desicions taken at that meeting. The FIA needs to have a hard long hard think about the merits of involving the stakeholders in the descision making process before it inflicts more damage onto the sports it is supposed to represent.


Bummer! I hope the negotiations give a positive outcome. F1 certainly wouldn't be the same without Ferrari - I only watch to see them get beaten!


I've followed F1 since I first heard turbos thundering around the Adelaide parklands. The DNA of F1 is excess, ingenuity and accessibility.

People can't afford to go to races anymore and races are increasingly outsourced to bits of the world most people would rather not go to, let alone afford to if they wanted to. So F1 has lost its accessibility.

F1 designs have been quite literally boxed in by layers and layers of regulation - to the point where championships are decided by lawyers clarifying the regulations as much as drivers. So much of the ingenuity is hidden from fans, more kaizen than banzai.

F1 is big, because it's so excessive. Mass creates gravity, it's self fulfilling. Reduce the mass of something and it loses gravity. The FIA is trying hard to cut costs and reduce the garish excess. All so Bernie and CVC can pay their loans off. Take away the excess and what are we really left with? Ferrari is a prestige brand, do we want Kentucky Fried Chicken F1 or Martini F1.

Sadly every generation needs a war to remind everyone why it's a bad idea. I think F1 has forgotten just how bad it can be and as such I don't see Max - who is thinking about his legacy - backing down. Di Montzemelo, having called Mosley's bluff, too, cannot back down.

What we have are two immovable, two irresistible forces on a collision course. It remains to be seen what will be left after they collide.


The clue is in the name Formula 1, not Formulas 1. [moderated] If there are teams that want to race under budget caps why don't the join some of the more affordable racing formulas?

I think the budgets will come down as FOTA were trying to do with discussions and let us not forget the size of your budget is no guarantee of success with testing bans in place. Testing bans or further limitations of the types of testing in the off-season could ensure even less benefit from the overall budget.



I'd bet any money that Ferrari will be on the Melbourne grid in a budget capped car come 2010. It's unimaginable with that amount of history tied up in the sport that it would be acceptable by anyone who cares about F1 (in the paddock or out of it) that they didn't enter. Not to mention the damage to their own brand.

Needless to say that once all the pouting and teeth gnashing subsides and the sensible pills are swallowed we can then hopefully get on with the next F1 '[Insert_Scandal_Here]-Gate'

Ricardo Gianvilla

Luca clearly states it in simple unemotional language- well done.

Hold on to your hats for the tortuous ramblings in response from Flav!


I think Ferrari+Indy Car would be a brand that could well beat a Ferrari-less Formula One with budget caps and so on...


Ferrari need to be racing to maintain the prestige of their brand, they benefit enormously from being in F1. F1 need's teams to compete in races, and benefits enormously by having Ferrari as one of those teams.

Its not a question of who needs each other the most, its mutualy benefical, but both could survive without the other. The A1 series dont seem to have been given a massive boost by running with Ferrari cars, and the lack of Ferraris success doesnt appear to have hurt f1 tv figures.

If they leave the sport they would have to take at least 4 or 5 other teams with them to start a new series, which would enivitbly bring the others along and become the de facto world championship. Ferrari are the key to this, and a breakaway championship is only possible with them

As for racing sports cars, It really cant see ferarri making it work, it simply doesnt have the profile or understanding around the world. NASCAR was able to profit from the IRL/CART war and attract teams and personell, but it was already well established and had a substantial fan base, this doesnt exist in any sportscar series. Le mans is popular, but the series means little to the man on the street.

If Ferrari have their bluff called and decide to go ahead and leave, I cant see them being away for more than a season.


Good. I'm glad that Ferrari have drawn a line in the sand. Quite honestly I hope that they call Max and co's bluff and either turn up at Le Mans or start a new F1 series (perhaps with races at Silverstone, Montreal, Long Beach, etc - sounds rather good actually).

The governance of this sport has lurched from bad to worse over the last few years. The F1 teams appreciate that competing in F1 needs to become cheaper but they cannot suddenly make half their workforce redundent, it would decimate the motorsport industry. What the FIA has proposed is similar to the Premiership inviting Wycombe Wanderers to join and then allowing them to field 13 players. If Man Utd and Chelsea don't like it, they can leave....bonkers!

It really is time for the blazer brigade at the FIA to realise that the man in charge has not got the best interests of the sport at heart and that it is high time he retired. Its become about egos not sport.

Oh and I'm going to Le Mans this year and shall be delighted to see Luca wave the flag....take note Max and Bernie, this may be one game of Poker you aren't going to win


What I cannot understand about this whole debacle is why on earth the teams were not involved more in the cost cutting measures. The FIA just came out with an apparently random figure, after apparently little consideration on the matter. That's an irrational dictatorship and it's a stupid way of doing things.

The teams on the other hand, went away and decided together some cost cutting measures. Now, the FIA obviously thought that it wasn't enough so they did as described above.

Now it is blatantly obvious to any rational individual how this should be done: all the teams and the FIA sit down and negotiate as equals. The FIA holds some power, however when the teams have unilateral agreement they cannot be overruled.


hi james i was wondering what your own personal thoughts are on whats going to happpen next, clearly theres alot to be resolved and max said he wasnt going to budge much on the current rules???? increased budget cap? or scrapped enitrely? thanks

Andrew McKendry

Toys and prams come to mind.

Unfortunately for F1, the toys Ferrari are flinging are running chainsaws.

I somehow have the feeling that if Ferrari were winning this world championship and hadn't lost the diffuser debate, they wouldn't be quite so aggressive about this.


Good riddance to Ferrari. I'm sure the damage they did to the sport in the Schumacher years will be greater than them not being involved.


Formula 1 is bigger than Ferrari. Simple.
Manufacturers have abused their power for many seasons. I am no fan of Max but agree that;
a) costs must be kept under control or the sport will cease to offer 'value for money'
b) independent teams and engine manufacturers (e.g. cosworth) offer a baseline in the sport which protects it from political change in the shape of manufacturers joining and leaving based on marketing concepts or poor business models.

My take is that the FIA concept of a two-tier sport is only there because of a strange agreement preventing the FIA from offering only one solution given the concorde agreement etc. The FIA want a cap but HAVE to offer this alternative because of Ferrari's veto.

Think back to the 80's with the independents against just TWO manufacturers (Ferrari and Renault).

F1 wasn't too shabby then was it...I remember it being thoroughly entertaining.....Ferrari's performance then was somehow similar to today...interesting.

What are they going to do....go rallying with a 430..!!!!

FIAT will decide in the end and I suspect they won't object to a budget cap given 12 months of trying to manage Chrysler....


I wish these teams that are threatening a boycott would offer some sort of alternative that would make them happy as well as attracting the new teams that the budget cap seems to be promising. At the moment they just look like they are throwing a tantrum!


Dear james,

what will happen to Massa if Ferrari do pull out???
Doesn't he have a contract till 2010??
Which team do you think will be interested in him, if there are any left!!


Unfortunately when it's all done in secret with non-disclosure clauses it's very difficult to say what is in anybody's individual agreement or in the infamous Concorde agreement.

Remember when Ron Flav and co ganged up on Bernie because he owed them money, he just faced them down. Pity they caved!
Bernie is a major meddler with far too much direct influence on the rule makers, and (it is now known) bribing the teams unfairly and showing huge bias which blows away any supposed impartiality. (One must ask what hold he has over the FIA members )

Max is riding/has ridden, roughshod over the existing procedures for changing the rules; the published 2010 rules changes are very obviously illegal anyway by both the sporting and the tech regs.

A1 does not offer the pursuit of technical excellence and innovation all the cars are supposed to be the same, half of them are. You may as well turn up and hire one on the day.

No its now only in what used to be called Group C sports prototype (Now called LMP1) Le Mans series that there is latitude to build the best, and speeds far in excess of F1. They already have diesel/biofuel/elect hybrid and seem to be light years ahead of the FIA mindset.

Jose Arellano

why not keep pushing on cost cutting more and more and more, and thats it,, cap makes it to complicated...


So here we are...approaching the final pivotal moment in which the future of Formula One hangs in the balance.

I understand the FIA's stand point in conflicts with teams in recent years, Max Mosley is right in noone likes change.

However, this time he has gone to far. It is a travesty that they are forcing a budget cap down the teams throat, whilst at the same time I am led to believe almost 50% of the sports revenues disappear out of the sport.

It is also very strange how these rules were passed at a Mclaren hearing without proper consultation with FOTA who are now a unified organisation working to make things better...and have made significant progress already.

We do need cost cutting to stop things getting out of control and we do need new teams in the sport. But a budget cap with a seperate set of technical regulations making capped cars potentially 2 seconds a lap quicker is simply not going to work and makes a mockery of the sport (the so called F1 DNA)

I have never been a Ferrari fan in the past, but I applaud their leadership, and standing in the face of this. I only hope it doesn't tear apart the sport I love so much.

I think a higher budget cap and one set of rules is the answer here. Why can't the FIA see this?


Ferrari's statement does not surprise me at all. They are using their bargaining power to influence the FIA. Nothing new under the sun...


Dieter Rencken has a written a good piece in autosport where he argues that all of the manufacture backed teams could hi-jack the A1 Gp infrastructure and create a breakaway series. Pretty bonkers stuff, but it makes for good reading.

Patrick Head made the point at the weekend that there also exists a fierce competition between teams to raise cash and secure sponsors. Competition should exist right through out the sport which is why the budget cap should be slightly out of reach for new entrants. I reckon 60 million bucks would strike a nice balance.


I agree with Chris.

60 million would seem a fair cap...Flavio said today that F1 is not about every millionaire coming in as he pleases - and its very true.

To me, Formula 1 is the definition of exclusive. It is something that's so hard to get in to, so hard to maintain, so hard to do well in...for the FIA to take away exclusivity (at least in a significant part) would destroy the sports modern edge.

All you have to do it go to a GP, which I did for the first time this year in Australia, to realise this. The fans crowded around drivers for autographs, busily finding holes in fences to sneak glimpses of the paddock, drivers, team bosses. This is the show of F1, it costs a lot of money...and the sooner the FIA realises that, the sooner we can all get on with racing.

Jake Pattison

I reckon its time for a shake up. Bin F1, its lost its credibility a long time ago. Ferarri should leave Bernie and the rest of the dinosaurs behind and start a new series.
As long as we have good racing who cares what the series is called.


Good riddance. I fervently hope Max sticks by his guns. Ferrari have effectively admitted that, as we knew perfectly well, the dinosaurs of the sport can only prevail in their leaden-footed way by a deploying financial muscle on a scale which is inappropriate in an era of recession, and frankly ridiculous even at the best of times. Unfortunately they have been mollycoddled too such a degree in the past that they have become F1's spoilt baby. Hardly surprising that the spoilt baby is throwing its toys out of the pram at the thought of not having its own way for once. Boo, Hoo.

Ferrari has has hardly figured at all this year, but the racing has scarcely suffered from it. However they have managed to make a laughing stock of themselves as a result of a combination of appalling unreliability and quite ludicrous qualifying cock-ups. And the driver superstars of all the big spending teams have been revealed to be mere mortals who are no better than any in the mid-field now their cars aren't performing. How terribly surprising! Now that Ferrari haven't got Ross Brawn at the helm they seem to be reverting to the Ferrari of old, the Ferrari that couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding at a toddlers' picnic. I am inclined to think that is the real reason they want out, they know perfectly well that they can't hack it any more, so they're going to use the budget cap as a smokescreen while they slink off and sulk. I just hope the FIA don't fall for the ruse.

The great thing about this development is it removes one of the major reasons for the thoroughly nasty and inelegant two tier regulatory structure, which probably had to be devised because of Ferrari's inability, together with one or two others, to operate within the sort of financial discipline which is second nature to the majority of F1 teams. Just hope this will result in agreement of a sensible, single set of regulations for everyone to go forward with, before it's too late. Or will Ferrari push the sport over the edge where the abyss beckons?

Northern Munkee


Luca has only just ratcheted up the volume thats all. Brinkmanship. This is a staring contest between Ferrari (with the support from bigger budget manufacturers plus say McLaren on spending power) and FIA with Max Mosley holding the F1 brand (and with the reluctant independent racing teams with nowhere else to go, and chance to compete with the bigger teams) on the other.

Ferrari is too big, has too much resource and infastructure, particularly spending power, which will scare off its competition from any other championship, it steps into, if it brings all its resources unless it is either regulated to stop it, which it won't like (cos thats where we are now with these proposals) which would put a big doubt against the ACO coming to the rescue, can't see Audi or Peugeot wanting to increase its budgets 3, 4, 5, 6 times?

This sabre rattling (and thats what Mosley should see it for) will probably end in some other fudge, beyond a phase down to 40m, which will be as bad as a two tier champ and a 40m cap, if Mosley does not stick to his guns forces everyone into a 40m cap.


I'm no Ferrari fan but I respect them for standing up to Max regarding the budget cap/two-tier rules system.
The two-tier rules will not work and it isn't only Ferrari who have said they don't want to race under them. Toyota and BMW have both said they will review their participation and Red Bull beat Ferrari by a day or two by saying they will not enter 2010 under the rules as they stand.

What worries me is how entrenched into their postions are both sides? (the teams and the FIA)
Will either back down? Have the teams played their strongest card too soon? Where do they go from here if Max digs his heels in?


James you were with ITV who would you have gone with MAX & BERNIE or the maufacturers?



At least now we are getting some serious game playing on this issue. I say game playing as unless you're good at it you get nothing in the den of politics known as F1 - it must be tolerated to get action.

THE BUDGET CAP IS AN IMPOSSIBLE SOLUTION to a very real problem. It's a real problem because of spiralling costs and, quite frankly, costs on unexpainable items. Why it costs nearly 20 times as much money compared to 10 years ago to finish 5th in the WDC is beyond me. Why it takes team to employ 800+ staff - WTF!!!!

BUDGET CAPPING WILL NEVER WORK because you cannot enforce it, you cannot monitor it effectively and therefore it will only continue a suspicious den of politics in a sport that could do with cleaning its image a little

LETS REMEMBER THE OBJECTIVE - to reduce costs and increase competition. There are, however, other ways to skin a cat

The negotiotion style of Max and Bernie as always been to stake up stretching ideals and back down to a compromise. I expect this to be no different. Ferrari know this and are only using the tactic in reverse.

The fact that the FIA and FOM give Ferrari preferrential treatment in terms of financial share means Ferrari have the most influence over them. F1 without Ferrari is unlikely because of this - regardless of what words are being mouthed at present by senior figures. It's a contradicton to say F1 can survive without Ferrari when the authorities go to great lengths to preserve the premium Ferrari have established because of their heritage and length of time in the WDC. Therefore it's excellent that Ferrari have weighed into this debate

THE BOTTOM LINE is the FIA want to control costs and want to get F1 back to the max number of defined teams and max number of tracks on the calendar. They should reach the latter by 2011 and have vacant spots on the grid for more teams covered in the same timeframe if they reduce barriers to entry. Of course that means more independant teams as manufacturers have had their heyday and frankly realise now it's a bottomless pit to compete (the overall cause of the cost spiral has been the manufacturers driving up competition - if we had not had that revolution we would not be where we are today)

WHY CAN YOU NOT MANAGE A BUDGET CAP?..... well who will police, audit it? How will you do that? How willl you stop teams hiding costs in sponsorship deals (when goods and services are supplied for free the deal) What about the driver bringnig in additional goods and services as part of their contract (this is a not a proposed budget cap item)? As companies have 9 months to file their accounts AFTER the end of the year you could not even rely on basic accounting. It quite frankly is IMPOSSIBLE!

Therefore, using regulations to control spending indirectly is far more likely and far more possible...

- The testing ban is excellent
- The no refueling rule next year will force more reliability, better fuel consumption and better tyre management - all great
- Limiting engines and gearboxes could be made stricter to impose more cost savings

Other ways of reducing costs will be...

- Enforcing centralised standard parts for say KERS, ECU, Brakes and other items will reduce costs and take R&D costs out of the sport
- Standard engine spec (customer engines) or extending engine freezes
- Limiting the income of the F1 teams - by tighter regulations on what types and amount of sponsorship can be sold
- Encouraging more teams into the sport with incentives as more teams = less to go round
- Limit wind tunnel use etc

BASICALLY - the budget cap cannot be used, it will make the situation worse and the teams clearly do not want or are very sceptical about it.

Using methods that they are familar with, like regulation changes to limit use or items or methods etc, are more likely to suceed and still achieve objectives


For me it's almost more important that Red Bull have said they'll be stopping then Ferrari saying it. The budget cap is supposed to pander to teams like RB, and they don't want any part of it. You'd think that if they don't, nobody would.

Who's next to declare ?

Is Max's bluff going to be called ?

Watch this space. James we're counting on you ...


I'll give credit to Ferrari because this is one ballsy move.

I'm watching F1 for 16 years now, and while i would still watch it if there would be no Ferrari, I'm not really sure if i would mind to watch the so-called F1 if BMW, Toyota and both Red Bull teams follow the suit and don't participate in next season.

That's why Ferrari will win this, and FIA will change the rules once again.

Maybe Ferrari isn't stronger than FIA, but Ferrari + other manufacturers + Red Bull + Bernie E. is stronger than FIA, so FIA will have to back down and change the rules.


This is the end of the FIA and F1. I firmly believe Bernie and all his contracts with Tracks, BBC, etc etc will have clause relating to the participation of teams, including Ferrari, Mclaren, Toyota etc etc I find it hard to believe, the BBC would not have a clause mentioning Hamiltons name in it. It will cost him millions if this is not sorted. And Bernie loves his $$$ and not even Max can break this love. Bernie will tell max to bugger off and the FIA won’t be regulating f1 anymore.

Bernie will need to do some serious negotiations and Max will need to step down stat. He knows there will be more fall out if the f1 crumbles because of him. Thousands of people will lose their jobs, Sponsors will be crucifying Bernie and the teams in the courts and I would not be surprised if the FIA will flick because of it. Who will follow f1 when there is no manufactures. How are all the supposed new teams going to get engines, kers, ecu’s from. It will become a glorified A1 series with every team running Cosworth engines. This is not F1.


I don't get this 'two tier system' argument. Nobody is obliged to be budget capped or vice versa. Financially it makes total sense for everyone to work to the £40 million budget, unfortunately this means you are judged purely on engineering skill and innovation ie. who did the best job with the same resources. These are not things that money can necessarily buy and I think that's what scares the big boys. Not being able to throw money at a problem in order to solve it highlights technical deficiencies. On that basis I have no issue with Ferrari leaving if braver, more creative teams take their place. Besides which the drivers salaries are not part of the cap so the richest teams still get the best drivers! (I think salaries should be included in the cap as this would encourage the search for new talent and make the car/driver/speed balance much more obvious)
Anyone who says that they 'can't imagine F1 without Ferrari' simply lack imagination.


It probably is not a fully relevant comparison (far from it), but in certain way there is some similarity to the "FOTA-FOCA war". And Luca should know from first hand sources, who and where flinched first in that standoff.

Something is making me believe that Max is not going to back off.


why is it a 'shame for all parties that it has come to this'?

personally i think it's fantastic that someone has the balls to stand up to the FIA, and that they have the clout to make a difference. for me this news is the best chance to secure the sustainable future of F1. i totally agree with everything di montezemolo has said.

I don't see max mosely lasting. he has said that he doesn't need ferrari, but most people (including bernie) do not agree. i can't see that bernie will let any of the big teams leave and devalue F1. this 'tough' negotiation style of max mosely has backfired and his proposal for the future of F1 look like failing.


It's sad F1 has come to this... but Ferrari is right... Bernie & Mosley changing the rules, car specs annually and introducing KER's is hardly the way to cap cost.

Bernie & Mosley are accountants... interested in the bottom line... keeping profits high... the way for them to increase profits is bring in more teams... how is this done... offer any millionare with a spare 40 million quid a F1 team... at any cost.

I'm a Ferrari fan since the 80's.. back in the heyday of the sport when Senna, Prost, Mansell etc were racing... in lean, mean turbo v12 and v16 racing machines - happy days... now teams have to race V8 rev-limited engines, KER's ridden eco-friendly cars... what a shame!

I hope Bernie & Mosley see sense and revert the lastesd dopey rules to allow a reasonable budget and (they are good changing rules!)


Good grief. Great blog. So many fantastic comments. I have nothing else to add.... other than could we have a forum please?!


Another yawn!

The biggest shock to me reading all this is how little I care.

And I have hardly missed a race in over forty years........


Ferrari could use A1GP to their advantage- by having races in North America! Ferrari gets little to no expsoure to the North American as the USGP and Montreal are gone.

I don't know how many Ferrari's they sell in the desert (where F1 seems intent on spending most of their time) but Canada and the US could use some more Ferrari exposure - ie: the higher classes of ALMS or bring A1GP over here. Let's not even joke about the IRL though... that's not a racing series.


While the budget cap is getting all the attention today, I'm sure that Ferrari have in the back of their mind something just as important to the long term interests of themselves and FOCA.
Appendix 5-Rule Changes: The TWG and the SWG will be consulted on any proposal for change to the Technical Regulations or Sporting Regulations which did not originate in either group and their comments, if any, will be made available to the World Motor Sport Council when such proposal is discussed.
Basically, this rule change means that the FIA can, unilaterally, make any change it likes, without getting the consent of the teams. Can you say one standardized engine, or anything else Max or Tony Purnell want to do?


So where does what Bernie said come into this? But with Toyota and Red Bull also saying they are willing to leave the sport under a two tier championship how many other teams of FOTA will do or say the same thing?

And i dont believe that Ferrari is simply arguing just to spend its huge resorces to win a championship but more for its staff and facilitys at Maranello, cause how many Billions of Dollas have they spent just for Formula One like most of the other teams?


Ferrari is bigger than F1. F1 is now a owned by investors, and they would lose a majority of their investment without Ferrari.
So would Bernie.

All current tracks would clauses within their contracts stating Ferrari's participation. This would allow them to jump to any new series due to breach.

Ferrari really does hold all the cards and CVC investment is almost worthless without them. Bernie ain't letting this one happen. Hopefully it means the end for Maximilian the wanna be emperor.


The FIA really gave away a lot of power with that veto.

Whether Ferrari really objected to the principal or not it's difficult to imagine them not using their veto as leverage for their own benefit when such a major change is on the cards.

I hope the other manufactures don't think that Ferrari is on their side.

They may have a confluence of interest to a large degree but if Ferrari can use their veto on the issue for their own benefit.


It does not look as though ferrari is opposed to the budget cap per se. hey just are unhappy about the way formula 1 is being governed.
Formula 1 is both a sport and a show. All the participants (i.e. governing body, teams and drivers, circuit owners)should have a say as to its direction.
With regulations that can change according to the whims and caprices of only a handful of individuals, f1 is doomed to fail.
I am certain ferrari is not alone with this sentiment.


In the past decades F1 took a wrong path to exists, u can't have 2 winner in the same time: or the winner is the driver (so they need to have all the same cars) or the winner is the car brand (so they need to have a free budget and no rule car).

Ferrari is right.
If you put a top budget race (we'r talking about 1/10 of the total budget ferrari spend every year) and only one common engine, you will not have anymore a brand race but only a driver race. So other investor can start a new team (like happen with soccer team) and buy the "common car" and good driver to win, you don't need engineers and an experience brand to win the race.
It's just another kind of race based on the driver and i don't see how car developer can fit.

i don't say that i dislike such kind of championship (it's like to see champion's league for cars instead of soccer) but it's really another thing, far different when F1 start more then 60 years ago.
It started around the manufacturer for innovation, but too many rules in the past decades change it, and now with a common engine and a very low top budget you simply say that F1 as we knew is finished.

Personally i'd like to have a F1 free of budget and free of every tech limitation (brand can do all the improvements they want to do to win), i think it will be more spectacular and for sure we will have those improvements in few years in our cars at cheap price.
in fact the last 60 years of formula1 race meant technology improve for all "normal" consumer and nowadays in ur car u can find tons of technology of the past F1 cars (abs, ebd, suspension, ...just name it).


"Personally i’d like to have a F1 free of budget and free of every tech limitation (brand can do all the improvements they want to do to win), i think it will be more spectacular and for sure we will have those improvements in few years in our cars at cheap price."

That type of F1 is not possible anymore, for a multitude of reasons.


Don't Ferrari have a contract with Marlboro (and presumably some other sponsors too) for the next couple of years?

They'd land themselves in all sorts of hot water by pulling out of the sport like this.

Alistair Blevins

The FIA are very much focussed on the cost of F1, but only from the perspective of the participants.

What about the spectator?

If the FIA can wield its power over the teams in such an autocratic manner then perhaps it should be doing the same with ticket prices and where F1 races?

Whilst the teams are the cornerstone of the sport, the spectators and TV viewers are the lynchpins.

I don't believe ticket prices for 2009 are any cheaper than they were 12 months ago and nor do I think the TV coverage has improved markedly over the past few years given the technology available today.

Is there a cap on ticket prices or a mandate for TV directors? Would be interested to know.

We're also subjected to these desert races, which although give us good racing, lack any charisma or atmosphere (largely down to the empty grandstands).

I suspect the FIA cannot do anything about this given it has signed the commercial rights away to Bernie for the next few generations, but as the governing body it must realise it's not only the teams chasing the money.


I have no nostalgia for any one team. In the years before the arrival of Brawn, Todt and Schumi, Ferrari drove around making up the numbers but bringing very little in terms of achievement to the sport. I don't think F1 needs Ferrari, but nor does Ferrari need F1.

People don't buy Ferraris because they see F1 on TV, they buy Ferraris because they want a particular type of sports car: and that won't change if Ferrari leave F1. Leaving F1 will just give Ferrari more money to spend on other marketing and car development ideas.

As I've said before, I think the recent changes to the sport are causing a drop off in interest and if things continue as they are, then it would be far better for Ferrari to leave the F1 ship before it sinks completely.

Of course, I don't WANT that to happen and I doubt it will happen.

What needs to be done is for F1 to break away from the FIA and Bernie and to give the sport back to the engineers, the drivers and - most of all - to the fans.

The days of running F1 like a 1960s wide-boy mogul are over.


I,m sure they would have or will speak to all their vendors / suppliers/partners etc... about this fiasco


From the Sporting regs article 1.1
"Changes to these Sporting Regulations which, in the opinion of the FIA Technical Department, involve a significant change to the design of the car will be announced in accordance with Article 2.2 of the Formula One Technical Regulations. Other changes will be announced no later than the 31 October preceding the season of their introduction. All changes to the Formula One Technical and/or Sporting Regulations will be made in accordance with the procedures set out in Appendix 5."
Appendix 5 says:
1. Changes to the Technical Regulations will be proposed by the Technical Working Group (TWG) consisting of one senior technical representative from each team and chaired by a representative of the FIA.
2. Changes to the Sporting Regulations will be proposed by the Sporting Working Group (SWG) consisting of one senior representative from each team and chaired by a representative of the FIA.
3. Decisions in the TWG and SWG will be taken by a simple majority vote. The FIA representative will not vote unless the teams’ representatives are equally divided, in which case he will exercise a casting vote.
4. Proposals from the TWG and the SWG will go to the Formula One Commission consisting of six representatives from the teams, five representatives from the race promoters and one representative each from the Commercial Rights Holder and the FIA. At least two race promoters must be from Europe and at least two from outside Europe. Decisions of the Commission will be by simple majority. The FIA will have a casting vote in the event of equality.
5. The Formula One Commission may accept or refuse a proposal of the TWG or the SWG, but not amend it. A proposal which is refused may be sent back to the relevant Working Group for further consideration.
6. Proposals accepted by the Formula One Commission will be put before the World Motor Sport Council for a final decision. Proposals which are not accepted by the World Motor Sport Council may be sent back to the Formula One Commission and the relevant Working Group for further consideration.
7. Changes required for safety reasons will be considered separately by the FIA, which will take into account any representations made by the TWG or SWG.

The tech regs Article 2.2 says:
2.2 Amendments to the regulations :
Amendments to these regulations for 2008 and 2009 will be made in accordance with Clause 8.10 of the
1998 Concorde Agreement.
Thereafter changes to these or to the sporting regulations which, in the opinion of the FIA Technical
Department, involve significant change to the design of a car, will be announced no later than 30 June to
come into force for the next season but one. Changes needed for safety reasons may be introduced with
shorter notice in consultation with the currently competing teams.

So firstly the 2010 regs involve MAJOR design changes, so should have been published before 30th June LAST year.

The 2010 regs both sporting and tech still have all the above clauses but less the para "Amendments to these regulations for 2008 and 2009 will be made in accordance with Clause 8.10 of the 1998 Concorde Agreement."

Thus the principle of major changes being notifies by Jun fo rthe next season but one is maintained has very clearly been broken.

Movable rear wings are a major design change. No refuelling~ means a major redesign to get the bigger fuel bladders in, total weight redistribution. Suspension will need to be redeveloped for the necessary new tyre compounds.

Secondly none of the changes was made by TWG or the SWG. which as now stated is the only means by which changes may be made.


Hi James,

If Ferrari were to pull out of F1 next season then how would they deal with their current driver contracts? Would Massa & Raikonen have to be paid off or do you think there is somekind of clause in their contracts which relates to Ferrari's involment in F1? And what if Alonso has signed an agreement for 2010/11 - do you imagine that Ferrari would be obliged to compensate him financially?


Here's a spanner to chuck into your works.

Why not a two tier championship? If you look at the Le Mans series it has 4 classifications, they all race quite happily together (many Ferraris in LMGT2) and aspire to the LMP1 category. Obviously there are prizes for each category.

They are also many years ahead of the FIA having already had Diesels and now include rules for hybrids. Wake up guys. Smell the Castrol R!, the ethanol, the rubber, the sickly burning battery/plastic smell of KERS.


How much more of this has to happen before we finally get what I believe the majority of real F1 fans and teams really want - a change of leadership at the FIA.


To borrow from a long running Kiwi ad campaign;

Ferrari will leave Formula 1 - Yeah Right

Ferrari needs F1 as much as F1 needs Ferrari


I think Ferrari do not categorically dislike the budget cap idea. Its just the two-tier system, the amount and the way the budget cap has been introduced.
40 million euros is just too low for F1. Its like diamonds. Everyone is attracted to a diamond. But its attraction lies in its exclusivity. If everyone could afford a diamond. They would be as expensive as sand in the desert.
FIA's concept is based around the idea that with less money F1 and the teams' value would remain the same and therefore they would start to make huge profits out of it. Which is misconcieved.


i think Ferrari won't pull out, because they need each others.


I beg to differ. Those teams you refer to were lost when f1 one was dealing with dollars significantly less then what’s on offer today. F1 is all about money. Bernie reported when Schumi retired, half of Germany turned there tv of, he need a German Super star, (Vettell). F1 is a giant marketing tool for world wide exposure. Lets work the numbers if the f1 manufactures and drivers leave the sport. Ferrari, is worth between 100 – 150million viewers. Alonso controls Spain, 15 million viewers, Vetell, Merc controls Germany another 40million viewers, Toyota controls a good portion of Asia 10 million viewers, Mclaren and Hamilton, 80million viewers maybe more. This numbers are estimates but every team/driver attract viewers. Brawn GP, Williams, Force India, do not attract the viewers that Ferrari, Merc, Renault, and there associated drivers bring to the sport.
Bernie cannot afford to have these teams disappear even for one race let alone one year. His marketing tool which has been built on viewers will suffer so much that no sponsor would invest, and every broadcaster, track, and every contract agreed to and signed by Bernie will be breached. It will cost him billions. Thats the real f1. Bernie doesn’t care about USGP, or Prodrive. As long as the big ticket items are there Ferrari, Mclaren, Hamilton, Alonso, Vetell etc etc he makes $$$.


"F1, without Ferrari, Toyota, Redbull, BMW, Mclaren is not F1"?

Ferrari and McLaren I'll grant you, but Toyota, BMW and Red Bull? Really? Those teams have, what, two wins total between them?

We've already lost so many great, mystique-filled names from the past - the sport lost BRM, lost Brabham, lost Tyrrell, lost Lotus; Williams are a shadow of their former selves; still F1 survives. No one team is bigger than the sport. And for me, much of the Ferrari grandeur and glory was killed for profit with the 1997 inception of Scuderia Ferrari-Marlboro (a deal from which I note they're STILL receiving cash, and STILL branding their cars with faux-Marlboro barcodes).

Now, this year, for the first time since 1995, both Ferrari *and* McLaren are uncompetitive. If you wiped their entire participation in this year's championship from the slate, what would we have lost so far?


JA writes: Thanks for all your comments on this story. To my mind these have been the most interesting and well argued that we have had for any topic on this site since we started. They have certainly given me a lot to think about.


Good question, Daniel. But I think we should all stay calm, this should be sorted out. While it may suit some manufacturers to take this opportunity to leave, it is very hard to see the situation being allowed to develop where Ferrari leaves F1.


Thanks. Yeah I agree, if I was a Ferrari board member, I would have thought I'd be happy with some sort of boundary. It stops the "spend your way out of trouble" culture.

So maybe you're right that it's the amount or the policing of it?

Who knows. I'm just struggling to understand the economics.




Given the global meltdown I think the sponsors would be delighted to reduce their marketing budgets.


why jon?
give them 1 simple rule: fuel consumption
and we can enjoy the show and have improvements for our everyday cars.

by the way if really is not possible anymore to do that, Ferrari is right.

Ferrari, McLaren and other "bigs" builds cars so they need/must spend money in researching and improving so they can demonstrate that they'r cars are better then the others, no matter is the driver.


The point I'm trying to make is that, without F1, Ferrari would have more resources available to psuh the series, without the risk of it clashing with its current F1 programme.

If A1GP had a major injection of publicity, cash and development from Ferrari, some big-league drivers, and was stacked up against a crippled "F1 Cosworth World Series", I would imagine that it would become less of a niche sport.

James has already mentioned that some TV companies and promoters could follow Ferrari out of F1 (or will suddenly be able to re-negotiate the rights).

Imagine A1GP with some decent drivers, all driving "proper" Ferrari chassis, around Silverstone, Montreal, Inianapolis etc... suddenly it's a very different proposition.

... and what's best for Ferrari, given the past couple of months, is that they'll be guaranteed a Ferrari victory every race!


what a poetical analysis of the current situation. Very nice.


I believe it's a few things.

1- Two tier is absolutely stupid and ruins the whole concept of F1, all teams agree on this.
2- Ferrari dislike the amount of the cap. I think for them, the idea of 40 or 50 million in the first year, is just as inpractical as saying 5 million. It needs to be a higher number at first, and gradually scaled down so the teams can adjust.
3- I would guess that they are against the idea of the cap at all, because they are a team that likes to spend their way out of trouble. But I'm not so sure on that. Maybe it's just that they have concerns that it won't be policed properly and people will cheat. (cheat or be cheated like Renault were with the engine freeze). In this financial crisis maybe the Ferrari board are okay with a cap, but against everything else. It's hard to say.


That's a really interesting comparison, Ruben. I was in the States when that split happened and saw it first hand. You have a point.


You may think that, but F1, without Ferrari, Toyota, Redbull, BMW, Mclaren is not F1. Ferrari has the biggest appeal to fans world wide, love them or hate them. People either want ferrari to win, or to be beaten.

F1 is about exposure, sponsership and money. If Ferrari goes, so does 150million viewers a race. Thats the pulling power Ferrari has. Thats what Bernie is worried about. People out there wake up to watch f1 with Ferrari. If the other teams disappear aswell, no body will watch f1. Sponsers will leave the sport and Bernie, FIA go broke.


F1 without Ferrari, would be like Champcar without the Indy500 - a slow crippling death that in the end no one won. The resultant IRL is a farce.

Be careful what you wish for.


You forgot Lotus. I know they never had their own engine, but they were and still are a road car manufacturer.


....or even better, humiliate themselves as in the last race 🙂


Don't forget that a lot of stuff wasn't covered by the 40 million cap for 2010. E.g. engines and driver's salaries.

So the top teams would have easily spent more than 100 million each, especially as they would have been able to develop their engines (no homologation for capped teams).

I think this is the first time I've sided with the FIA on a major issue. If we want technical freedom and innovation in F1 we need a budget cap as otherwise the manufacturers' spending frenzy would first drive out the independents and then even most of the manufacturers.

The only alternative is more and more restrictions as we see now leading to a 2014 season when everything's spec but the driver's shoes' soles (with Ferrari and McLaren pouring 253 million each in space tech high performance leatherized rubber footwear)


Northern Munkee

People neglect mention A1GP because people (sponsors, media) have hardly heard A1GP.

One make championships find it difficult to demonstrate technological excellence, or innovation when there's no competition? Ferrari vs. Ferrari car, with no other alternative technology by which to judge it by? hmmm. not an easy sell.

And I know after one year in A1GP, trailed as raising A1Gp\s profile by association A1GP, Team GB is struggling for budget I know one of their drivers was asking for help.

Marketing Muscle eh? Sponsors want to bask in the Ferrari glow (history mystique and beating the competition, which is mostly in Formula 1)


lower-case david

exactly ... i'd go you one better though: people usually get all hushed-tones and suddenly-sage about how absolutely impossible setting up a rival series would be, the FIA obstacles that would be erected, the FOM contracts with tracks.

naaah, just truck up to the A1 events and double-bill it with the all-new shiny FormulaLibre F1. add a few extra tracks that got squeezed out of FOM; montreal, indy, silverstone, san marino ... it's already starting to look like a real GrandPrix season.
A1's already got floaty Zandvoort, maybe snag a few other F1 tracks that can legally get out of their crippling bernie deals. do whatever needs to be done to get Monaco. if you can get to 10 races that's enough to be going on with.

in theory you'd imagine A1 wouldn't be that happy about losing top-billing, but i'm sure they'd get over it when they saw the size of the new combined TV contract and the gate-receipts. they're dying on their arse over-there anyway.

a bit rough and ready round the edges i s'pose, but wth all the manufacturers there and with a new, a more equitable divvy of takings between tracks and teams, i'd imagine most of the budget-cap supporting independents would jump ship

anyhow, it doesn't need to be good enough year one, just good enough to break the back of FIA/FOM ...
leave max and bernie to try and sell F2, GP2 and what's left of a standardized FIA-controlled mock-F1 to the TV stations ... CVC goes bust and someone somewhere gets stiffed with a lot of useless paper. the other tracks and teams can them come back.


IMO to give all teams in A1 the car is not the same as competing. Honda gives the engines in the IRL, but nobody seems to care, and I think that IRL is still more popular then A1. So if they leave, which I doubt, they would have to start a new series with the other teams (disaster - CART and IRL deja-vu) or enter Le Mans. But in Le Mans ACO seem to be not much better than the FIA, penalizing Audi and Peugeot for being the best... 🙁


A1GP doesn't have the global presence like F1. there is no money in A1. Even with Ferrari on every car, they still haven't gained too much status. I believe it's safer to say Ferrari need F1 still.


There's an easy way to back down, to do what they should have done in the first place, get rid of Mosley...

Alistair Blevins

Talking of sensational journalism Sky News has already reported 'Ferrari pulls out of F1 racing'!

I'm assured by friends in the media that Sky News is also known as 'Not Wrong for Long' News. So don't worry, they'll tone it down soon.

I agree though - these headlines do the FIA no favours at all, and whilst I am all for cost cutting (NOT budget-caps) I would prefer that it was done within the confines of a democracy.

The FIA seem to have lost their direction in recent years, with very little rule stability and a gradual erosion of accountability.

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