Sergio Marchionne says that Sauber engine deal will create Ferrari F1 “junior team”
Scuderia Ferrari
Sergio Marchionne
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jul 2017   |  9:08 am GMT  |  82 comments

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne made an unexpected visit to the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday. After the race he gave some details of how he sees the renewal of the engine supply deal with Sauber, which decided to ditch the agreement with Honda, signed by previous team boss Monisha Kaltenborn.

“It’s a very positive thing for us; it’s a chance to have a junior team. We have a pair of exceptional drivers we need to run,” he told Italian media.

Marchionne is referring to Charles Leclerc (below) the runaway leader of the FIA F2 Championship and Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari’s official reserve driver. Giovinazzi has already done a couple of races for Sauber, substituting for the injured Pascal Wehrlein in Australia and China. Leclerc is due to test for Ferrari this week in Budapest, starting Tuesday.

Charles Leclerc (XPB)

But will Sauber and Ferrari be able to run both next season?

Marchionne’s scenario for Sauber begs the question on the ongoing role of the Swede Marcus Ericsson, who is linked with the Longbow Finance group that owns Sauber and whose backers provide significant funding for the team. Clearly it means a move onwards for Pascal Wehrlein, who is a Mercedes junior driver.

In a fast changing landscape, there is another motive for this Sauber move, beyond young driver training.

The battle lines are being drawn for the next round of negotiations on the Concorde Agreement, for the period after 2020.

Ferrari and Marchionne have seen the growing influence of Mercedes and Toto Wolff in F1 in the last few years and need to keep their own powerbase of allies in position.

Ferrari supplies engines and technical support to Haas, which is well aligned with the Scuderia. With Sauber, they have three of F1’s ten teams and Marchionne said that he would welcome others, including new entries to F1.

“We are looking to add to the number of customers for our engines, agreeing with Liberty and the FIA to help new teams to come into F1. The more we have the better,” he said.

Maurizio Arrivabene Guenther Steiner

The more teams Ferrari or Mercedes supplies the greater the control they have over affairs in F1 and the weightier the risk if they get around to threatening either to leave F1 or start a rival series, if the negotiations don’t go well.

Far from wanting to give up their special bonuses, these big teams will want an even greater share of F1 commercial revenues going forward and they are in a strong negotiating position.

It made no sense, with these financial and political battles looming, to let one of their long time allies go to Honda and the engine supply deal neatly provides an outlet for the two young drivers Ferrari wants to bring through.

One of them is likely to replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2019, the Finn having done all he needed to do in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday to earn his renewal for another season. Don’t forget that Marchionne called for Raikkonen to show a higher level of commitment as recently as the Austrian Grand Prix.

Marchionne notably took the opportunity of his visit to the Budapest paddock to spend time at Mercedes with Wolff, whom he described as a ‘friend’.

The rumours of a possible ‘switch’ between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel provide a neat smokescreen for the real conversation going on behind closed doors, the one that Liberty can feel anxious about; where Mercedes, Ferrari and indeed Renault align themselves in the negotiations on F1’s future.

* Marchionne earlier told SKY TV that he was considering taking the FCA Group into Formula E, following the lead of Porsche and Mercedes last week, but that it would be either with the Maserati or Alfa Romeo brand, not Ferrari.

It would also make sense to badge the engines supplied to Sauber next season as Alfa Romeo as this is a great platform to promote the brand in F1 and with young drivers. Watch this space.

What do you think? Leave your comments below

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1

Concorde agreement? There isn’t going to be another Concorde anything if Liberty Media has a say in the manner.

2

begs the question on the ongoing role of the Swede Marcus Ericsson

hmmm, that’s a hard one! Proper dilema, what should I take/ waste more on a known loser, or save loads on an engine deal, with the caveat of having to accommodate such a very well-regarded, ‘the’ **next** “the next thing” just about to take over Formula one? Really can’t take tell.

3

Can someone please buy Serg a suit or dress him somewhat ? They guys’ definitely from Toronto.

On the other hand hes absolutely correct on wanting to welcome more teams into F1 and acting as an engine supplier. This is what may save F1 in the years to come.

4

Definitely from Toronto?! Google “Canadian Tuxedo”, and you’ll then be thankful for the sweaters. 😃

5
Tornillo Amarillo

Great, everything great.
That’s why Haas had confirmed Grosjean-Kmag.
I welcome Leclerc in Sauber, not sure of Giovinnazzi though as second driver, maybe reserve driver.

6

I haven’t followed his junior career, but all Giovinazzi has done so far in F1 is wreck cars.

7

LM/FOM won’t be bullied by Ferrari at the next Concorde discussions. They have already stated they will put an end to secret bonus payments to time served teams. LM is an American company, that has shareholders and works to US laws, they are not going to be playing the games that Bernie got away with. Finances for American sports are available for all to see and are distributed fairly to all involved.

If Ferrari don’t like it, they will be told to put up or shut up. LM are looking for new teams and more importantly, new engines. Engines that could be used in Haaz and Sauber cars should Ferrari take its toys home.

Sergio Marchionne might be the big man at Ferrari, John C. Malone, who owns LM is a far bigger fish and he ultimately runs the business of F1.

8

I presume the deal will still be for uncompetitive year old engines which will ensure no challenge to the front runners.

9

Toto Wolff and Mercedes dominate F1 in terms of press relations!
Maurizio, despite his openness and charm when he took office, seems scared to say something !? The dominant Sergio has made an entry with many hard statements, even deceptive …. why mock some of their own?
James, what do you think?

10

I certainly agree with the idea of more teams but not sure about junior teams.

James do you ever see another engine manafacturer coming to F1 or do you think they will all go to Formula E instead?

11

A follow-on thought: What about the potential for Cosworth, Ford or other engine manufacturers to add to the mix — as was pointed out in a recent article ?

12

James, any insights/rumors on what Ferrari may have offered Sauber that Honda couldn’t or wouldn’t? One would think Sauber would have been able to extract some favorable terms under the circumstances. What are you hearing from your contacts?

13

What is the probability that behind the comment that Ferrari is looking for more engine customers, Red Bull has been offered Ferrari power? Especially since there are so many comments regarding the “support” which they really stand to receive from Renault (since they are now also a factory team) might not be as strong as it could?

14

Are Sauber aware that they are now Ferrari’s property and unable to select their own drivers? Will they get thr year old deal again, or the up to the minute engines that Haas gets?

15

You’ll need more than a junior team to beat Mercedes Sergio.. You’ll need two top drivers in Ferrari, and you do not have that.

16

what? with 5 WDC’s between them you don’t consider them top drivers?

17

Cheesypoof, and let me guess who you think would do a better job? The facts are that Ferrari have more data on Seb and Fernando than anyone else, and therefore are better placed than anyone on earth to decide who the better driver is. Their answer will become apparent over the Monza weekend no doubt…..

18

There’s no denying that Right Seb Fred would be a better combo than Seb-Kimi. That Seb would be extremely uncomfortable with it, does not negate that fact. Of course Seb can’t be made to team up with Alonso, shown by his “Kimi stays” contract conditions.

So while intra-team harmony would take a definite hit, I think on balance the performance level would rise.

19

Well, both are world champions, last race 1 &2, top drivers!?
If you pick the drivers in Ferrari?

20

Kimi is not good enough to take points off Mercedes consistently. You can take your pick of better drivers than him…

21

Looks like the stage is set for Pascal to move on to Williams.

22

PW is a few years younger for Martini. Plus, LS will also want someone like Massa to guide him. Intriguing tho to see where TW will put this prodigious son.

23

Like what you write, so productive on a day and a half, with profound insight that takes us readers into the F1 world, in every room! In addition, very objective and analytical, Thanks!
It will be exciting to follow Ferrari and what happens with Sauber.
Wishing Ferrari to be as open as Mercedes.

24

Policy, policy and policy… again. I guess that’s why F1 is not appealing to the young generation and will always be a product for 40+ years old fans (inspired in the past by the F1 of the 80’s – 90’s – Y2K. Sad…

25
Clarks4WheelDrift

So Sauber is the Junior Ferrari Team, what does that make HASS?

Teenager Ferrari? (car has the right temperament)
Toddler Ferrari?

“A pair of exceptional drivers” … surely he must mean Kimi and Leclerc to Sauber 😉

26

It makes ‘HASS’ and avocado.

Always was an avocado.

27

The more we have the better

What about McLaren?

28

So JA you think there’s nothing to the HAM-VET switch rumours?

29

What and where have you seen?

Honestly, after 2016 and Rosberg and how that played out, and now in 2017 not having a Germany WDC in their car, I can see that script as a possibility. I believe Mercedes want a German champion to speak for the German brand. I mean, is being a German car not one of the key selling features to Mercedes cars?

But if that scenario was real, does Mercedes let Vettel/Ferrari have the WDC this year to kill a few birds with one stone, get Vettel to arrive with the #1, give Ferrari fans the little period of glory, satisfy Vettel’s days at Ferrari so he doesn’t want to go back for a red WDC, etc.? 50th vs. 70th? Hmmm. They would get to take it back from Ferrari next year – which is worth more than dethroning the last WCC before Mercedes started dominating like never before. I mean, who did Mercedes dethrone as WCC? A sugar water maker? How much value in that?

30

La Cosa Nostra version F1.
F1 is no different from other sports, there will always be Big and Small team, just root for the one you like the most.
I personally like Force India for how much they do with so little.

31

Effectively this also means that Romain Grosjean will have no long term future in Ferrari, maybe at Haas but not in the works team

32

Marchionne looks like an absolutely terrifying man, I’ll bet the boys in red are glad they won!

The renegotiation of the Concorde agreement will be critical to the future of the sport, is it going to carry on as is or is it going to change. I believe there is more appetite for change but when the push comes to the shove it will be the money men that make the decisions.

Also interesting what Marchionne said about Formula E, looks like they are considering entering, albeit not with the Ferrari name. Hopefully manufacturers will take up Formula E to tick their CSR quotas so F1 cars can go back to being fire breathing monsters.

33

Marchionne looks like an absolutely terrifying man, I’ll bet the boys in red are glad they won!

The renegotiation of the Concorde agreement will be critical to the future of the sport, is it going to carry on as is or is it going to change. I believe there is more appetite for change but when the push comes to the shove it will be the money men that make the decisions.

Also interesting what Marchionne said about Formula E, looks like they are considering entering, albeit not with the Ferrari name. Hopefully manufacturers will take up Formula E to tick their CSR quotas so F1 cars can go back to being fire breathing monsters.

34

Marchi_1 and Wolfy will probably talk about a driver’s salary cap to reduce Lew and Seb earnings in 2019 and on.

Since F1 teams refused the first 2/3 of shares proposition, I wonder what kind of financial structure they are looking for.
Also if F1 teams plan a breakout structure into a League [like the Premiere] on their own excluding the FiA and F1G.
Is Bernie taking part of these conversations ?
So many Qs.

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