Analysis: Alfa Romeo a good F1 hedge as Marchionne ramps up Ferrari rhetoric
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Dec 2017   |  7:45 am GMT  |  232 comments

Sergio Marchionne was a proud man yesterday to announce the partnership that brings Alfa Romeo back into Formula 1 after 30 years.

Initially he indicated it would be until 2020-21, and he reiterated his threat to pull Ferrari out of Formula 1 – and Sauber too – if Liberty Media and the FIA go down the wrong route with the sport’s regulations. He did so very consciously with both F1’s Chase Carey and FIA president Jean Todt sitting in the room.

Alfa back in the F1 game
The Alfa deal is good business for Marchionne; he first floated the idea of bringing the marque back into F1 in 2015 and subsequently had a good look at buying the Swiss team.

That co-incided with the flotation of Ferrari on the New York Stock Exchange and other important priorities and in the end Longbow Finance bought the team.

They have connections with Marcus Ericsson, which is why he retains his seat with the team alongside Charles Leclerc, who looks the most exciting driver to come through to F1 from F2 (formerly GP2) since Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

The deal that Marchionne has done with Sauber’s owners is far less costly and involved for FIAT than buying the team and as well as the marketing benefits, it provides a hedge against several ways things could go politically in F1 with Ferrari and Liberty Media. The sphere of influence has grown to three Ferrari teams, just as Mercedes also influences three teams in F1. Sauber would benefit enormously from the kinds of changes Carey would like to make to F1, but it now has a strong man steering the ship and it is less likely to lead to the ‘wrong’ outcome for the big players.

It works very well for both sides and this team surely now is Ferrari’s closest alliance, edging out Haas F1, which buys as much of its F1 technology from Ferrari as the rules allow, but which hasn’t played ball on drivers.

Marchionne can paint the Saubers red and white and dominate the branding of the car, supply latest spec engines and other technology and place his most promising drivers, with 23 year old Antonio Giovinazzi lined up as reserve and Friday practice driver, likely to convert that to a race seat for 2019.

“We will find space for him,” said Marchionne. Ericsson is on notice.

It’s more economical than buying Sauber – title sponsorship of a team at that level is probably of the order of £10-20 million with the engine supply thrown in. For 2018 the engines will be badged Ferrari but after that it will be reviewed.

Also part of the deal are the gearboxes and elements of the rear end of the car, similar to Force India’s deal with Mercedes.

What will be interesting will be what the media, commentators and fans will call the cars. Will they call them Saubers or Alfa Romeos? Benetton and more recently Red Bull were very clever with that, putting the consumer brand into the title of the cars so they get referred to constantly.

Either way, this makes perfect sense for FIAT and Ferrari and for Sauber.

Marchionne has done a lot lately to reinvent the Alfa Romeo brand on the road, with exciting models like the Giulia and the Stelvio and the F1 connection gives a youthful, sporty sheen to the brand.

Renewed threat to pull Ferrari out of F1

Marchionne underlined his threat about Ferrari quitting F1, after prospective engine regulations for post 2020 were announced a few weeks ago.

“The dialogue has started and will continue to evolve,” Marchionne said. “We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari. The threat of Ferrari leaving Formula One is serious. The agreement with Sauber expires in 2020-2021, right when Ferrari could leave.

“We have to find a solution which is good for the sport but we also have to be clear on the things we can’t back down on.”

Mercedes also has a route out of the sport on the same basis and it’s not impossible to imagine one or both doing that.

The key for Chase Carey and Liberty Media is not to make Marchionne and his colleagues emotional about this situation. Carey has faced down many great captains of industry in the past and is underestimated by many in F1 who are still working out what he is made of.

Carey played the diplomatic card, standing in the Alfa museum and clearly getting the message, saying that he wants to simplify the competition, not to devalue it, with cheaper, noisier engines. The budget cap is another sticking point, which Marchionne considers impossible to police. And then there is Ferrari’s free $100m bonus every season, which was negotiated between former Chairman Luca di Montezemolo and Bernie Ecclestone.

Montezemolo has been largely airbrushed out of Ferrari’s history recently, but that was one deal that has a strong legacy.

What do you make of this Alfa Romeo story? How much of a boost is it for Sauber? Leave your comments in the section below

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If nothing else, hearty thanks to JA for another year of great insights and observations. Seems like a huge bluff for anyone at Ferrari to talk about getting on down the road. And they would do what, Formula E? WEC? Hard to imagine either or something else.


I agree James Allen is the best.


Exactly. endurance racing (sports cars) via the WEC and IMSA weathertech series is growing and growing ... F1 continues to stagnate. Pulling out of F1 makes all the sense in the world.


By golly, sarcasm on the internet CAN work!


Possibly? F1 is more watched than ever in the US now. It is hard for us to watch some of the races but there is one day we get Monaco and the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in that order.

Maybe we miss the start of the last ones but from Sunday morning to Sunday night you see good racing somewhere.

We can thank Alonso for this. Sato won that race at Indy and Andretti has his 4 cars tuned at the edge. Alonso really ran well. Most that don't follow F1 that watch racing here wondered where this guy Alonso came from. Now they know. Some have even followed this season.

You have Vettel against Hamilton. Baku had a little bit of everything.

It may seem like it's getting worse but when Vettel won his last WDC, it was very boring. 2010 was great though. Its hard to repeat that oh wait they could just use the rules for back then and get Bridgestone back...we oh wait......Love it or hate I bet you still or you wouldn't post.


F1 viewing figures leave alot to be desired. To give the impression the sport is in a period of sustained growth when in actual fact they continue to decline is an indication of what you want to believe and not the reality the sport finds itself in.
Worldwide viewing figures have nose dived during this period of the Mercedes/Hamilton dominance, far more than they did under the Redbull/Vettel years.


Sarsippious. If worldwide tv figures have nose dived during this period, then why not post a link showing this. I would be very interested to see some evidence that Carey was lying when he said that viewing figures are up.


I heard that if someone watches a 1 minute youtube clip of race highlights Liberty count that as a viewer. So I'm not sure they can be that representative.

I have no idea what the viewing figures are btw.


NickH, I'm not sure what method Liberty uses, I know that in the UK you have to watch two hours of the main race programme to count, and that if you watch online you don't count at all. I guess as long as Liberty are using the same method as was used before, then the numbers are at least useful for comparison. To be honest I don't think anyone knows the numbers for 2016 and 17 as I'm pretty sure they haven't been released, I'm just seeing if Sarsippious will admit to having not seen them...


Scroll down further or better still spend more than two seconds on that sites articles, or indeed google the figures yourself and see that the facts support my views.
I realise that as someone who believes the sport has shown expontial growth under the Hamilton and Mercedes domination that the realisation your wrong is something your still unwilling to accept. Bury your head on the sand for all i care.


Sarsippious. I have scrolled to the bottom of both, there is nothing in there at all that backs up your claim in any way. I have never claimed that the sport is going through a period of expenential growth, but I do know that track attendances have increased, and that the tv ratings have been falling since 2009, although the expert view is that this is because of the loss of free to air service in many markets. Chase Carey says that viewership is up, but doesn't say by how much, or over what time frame. You say it has nose dived, and despite repeated requests to back up your claim, you have come up with nothing. One of us is wrong Sarsippious, but it aint me......


As recently as October 15th, in reply to my comment that the ratings have continued declining, you replied asking me for evidence to support my claims. When supplied with the up to date figures you still denied the figures as accurate and you again pushed your belief the figures had in fact grown.

That's just one of many comments I found where you refused to accept the Merc dominance has been detrimental to the sport and that fans have switched off as a result.
So forgive me but i can't help but shake my head in pity at the gymnastic routine you are displaying for us here. NadiaC might be a more appropriate username moving forward.

Your whole comment is full of nothing short of outright lies and I'm more than happy to do a C63 and repost your previous posts to show what a complete about turn you've done and the utter hypocrisy you've shown in the process.

Keep digging by all means..


Sarsippious, this is getting ridiculous, you have dug yourself into a massive hole, and now you are trying to bluff your way out of it. You and I had a brief discussion about tv ratings on October the fifteenth, on this article. Look at comments 23 and 24, you made your usual claims about tv ratings continuing to fall, I asked you for evidence to back up your claim....and that was it! You didn't reply with accurate figures, and I didn't question their veracity, those comments don't exist!
So now you are saying that the tv figures HAVE fallen because of everyone being bored of Lewis/Mercedes domination, make your mind up please as in a previous comment you agreed with the article you linked to that made no mention of it as a factor, and even said that nobody was blaming Lewis, and you accuse me of gymnastics! My position has not changed, yours has frequently, and you have provided zero evidence to back up your claim that ratings fell this year and last, and you have proven your own claim of a nosedive since 2014 to be completely false. Time to put up or shut up I think Sarsippious, post those world numbers that you must have seen for 16 and 17, or admit you made them up, and while your at it man up enough to say which part of any of my comments are 'outright lies', or admit you made that up as well.


Wow what a backflip Timothy. Below you accuse of me of making stuff up yet now you agree with my statement that the viewership has declined.

Here's some more links I look forward to you finding fault with. Links that support my claims as the others have if only you paid more attention, still.... As for Careys claims, maybe you should ask him for his links.

Clearly there are a variety of reasons for the decline. The switch to PPV in many countries is one of them. I recently broached upon this with others here in depth as why switching away from FTA and not having access to new viewers has been detrimental to those numbers ( obviously you didn't read them) and we all agreed that the greed of BE was at the core of that decision.

No one has ever blamed Lewis personally for any of this so not for the first time I'm confused to how you can make such claims.

So really the only thing you are upset with from understanding is the term nosedived that i used. Well i think a one third loss of 600 million fans in 8 years is indeed a nose dive. So Tim, i haven't in fact made anything up so i look forward to a swift apology.


Sarsippious. There's no backflipping going on here, the fall in ratings that took place between 2008 and 2015 is extremely well documented, and is a subject I have discussed on here numerous times in the past, the parts of your original claim that I took issue with are that those falls continued throughout 2016 and 2017, and that the numbers fell more during the Mercedes era than they did in the Red Bull era.
Your links are great Sars, nothing wrong with them at all, they don't prove your point though do they? Both of those articles were written in 2016 referencing figures that were released early that year. The Motorsport article gives the reasons as a general decline in tv viewership among younger people which has caused ratings drops in all sports, and Bernies decision to take up front money from tv companies rather than chase sponsors using big ratings numbers as a selling point. You say that nobody has ever blamed Lewis, but that has been an extremely common claim made on here, and when you spoke of the era of Mercedes/Hamilton domination in your original comment, I assumed you were jumping on this band wagon, clearly this was incorrect and I apologise for that, but I do wonder why you even mentioned Lewis at all....?
The second article is very useful as it contains a handy graph that shows the fall in ratings year by year. The claim you made in your original comment was that worldwide ratings had nose dived far more in this era of Mercedes/Hamilton domination than they ever did in the RedBull/Vettel era, I guess you have realised that this is wrong and that is why you are distancing yourself from that comment now, but the graph in your article proves it very nicely. The line falls at a steady rate through 2010, 11 and 12, before steepening in 2013 and then returning to its steady fall in 2014 and 15. There is no nose dive, the line is exactly the same in the Mercedes era as it was in the Red Bull era, apart from 2013 when the decline was worse! The second part of your claim that viewing figures are continuing to fall is not proven anywhere in either article, as they both only contain figures up to the end of 2015, so one part of your claim proven wrong using your own evidence, and another remains completely unproven, and you want an apology?!
It seems that the decline in ratings continuing, and being more severe between 2014 and today are an indication of what you want to believe, rather than the reality the sport finds itself in.


Sarsippious, you are correct, the reality does stay the same doesn't it? You began this whole adventure by posting links to articles, and saying that the evidence they contain proves your point, when in reality they do no such thing, and here you are doing it again!
You have provided links to two articles that talk of a 10 million fall in worldwide tv figures in 2016. 10 million sounds a lot, but the Independent article also states that the sport has lost 137m since 2010, which I make an everage loss of 22.8m per year. So the rate of decline has slowed significantly, which proves one of your original points that "figures nose dived far more in this era of Hamilton/Mercedes dominance than they did in the Vettel/Red Bull era" to be completely false. The other claim you made that figures continue to fall, remains unproven as you still haven't managed to come up with any data for 2017. Have a good weekend Sarsippious.....


Funny as i swear i can notice a link in my first comment and yet i doubt you'll see this one either for you dont want to believe the reality of what they say. And so much for not relying to my every comment lol.


Sarsippious. The link in your first comment refers to viewing figures for Formula e in the UK only, the link in your second post refers to F1 ratings, but again only talks about the UK. You said in your original comment that "Worldwide viewing figures have nosedived in this era of Mercedes/Hamilton dominance", I'm asking you what you are basing that assumption on. Your second link is interesting though, as it gives the reason for the drop in Britain as the switch from free to air to pay per view, rather than everyone being bored of Lewis!
You obviously don't like me replying to your comments, maybe try actually backing up your claims, rather than just making stuff up?


I think DVRs have made a huge difference in how many people in the US watch races as well, the odd start times aren't as big of a deal anymore. If a race starts at 4am I can record it and watch it whenever I wake up, I just have to remember to stay off the internet until afterwards.


"I think DVRs have made a huge difference in how many people in the US watch races as well,"

I am in the US and saw all of the races this past season. I only watched the USGP and the Mexican GP live on TV. I watched most of the rest (as well as almost every practice and qualifying session) live on the NBCSN app. However, I recorded everything that was aired on NBCSN on the DVR as a backup.

How are viewership numbers determined? Still through a sampling like Neilsen? Or does the cable/sat provider have numbers on what their boxes tune to? And, if so, would the DVR recording a program just look like another viewer?


Mcm. Not sure how it works in the UK, but if I download a race to my planner, if I haven't watched by the next day, I don't count for ratings. To count you also have to watch 2 hours of the main race programme, so just watching every lap but skipping the build up and post race analysis isn't enough.


At one point Ferrari was going to leave F1 in favor of getting into the Indy Car arena. It went so far that they had already built the car. I would call that somebody who is willing to carry out the threat.


Does F1 need Ferrari? Yes. It could continue without that brand, but it would lose some perceived value.

But what about the reverse situation? Does Ferrari need F1?

I think it does. It doesn't have much marketing beyond F1 and it's history in F1, and it gets a large up front payment from F1 each year. And it has sponsor deals with the sponsors expecting exposure in a televised full series of F1.

If they walk, they lose the expense of running an F1 team. But they also lose a big component of their marketing and a driver of their R&D. I am excluding the up front payment because I assume that that's going to go.

So let's look at both sides of this coin: What do F1 stand to lose AND what do Ferrari stand to lose?


I really don't know who would be the bigger loser should Ferrari leave F1 but l believe Ferrari is known beyond F1 by many. Kids dream of owning one before they know about F1, that is if they actually ever get to at least have a look at the sport. Ferrari has to be one of the top 10 most recognized brand in the world. I say, has to be as l am to lazy to check. My own children, 3 of them, could not care less about F1 sadly, yet they always react when they see a Ferrari drive by. I would not worry about Farrari if l was you. Marc


Despite my earlier post, I think you are right here. I certainly knew about Ferrari before I paid any attention to F1.


One could also guess that those buying street and/or super cars aren't worried about the taxes, or fuel consumption, either. So Corvettes would seem to be one heck of a bargain and instead of one you could get one for each day of the week or month of the year, depending on your pockets.


True. I think F1 would suffer in the short term, but Ferrari would suffer even more. And they’d want to re-enter in the future, guaranteed. Whether they’d have to wait for Marchionne to go I don’t know, but his legacy would be the Ferrari boss who took them out of F1.


did bmw lose anything by leaving f1?
if anything, they sell more cars now than they ever did during their f1 stint.


Yes, but that's not because they left F1. F1 wasn't doing anything for them, really. Ferrari is the only marque that's really developed a following in F1. Jaguar couldn't do it. Hamilton has fans, but do Merc have the sort of following that Ferrari has?

Maybe it's because of their history. Ferrari were a race team first who started making road cars to fund the F1 campaign.

IMO the only other brand that was followed in F1 as a brand was Lotus.

I can't see Merc being missed as a team if they go. The engines, yes, because it would leave teams unsupplied. Same with Renault (who have come and gone how many times now?).

Only Ferrari are a car brand loved by F1 fans as a car brand.


f1 lost super aguri, honda, toyota and bmw around the same time and survived. losing ferrari will not make a difference to f1 but losing both mercedes and ferrari might, especially if they went off to start their own racing series.


You can argue that BMW leaving F1 hurt F1. If F1 is the marketing platform for the big companies, losing BMW was bad in F1’s part. Conversely, Ferrari leaving will of course be s nightmare for F1. Whether or not Ferrari leaves, is irrelevant. It’s the matter of establishing what Ferrari gives F1 by participating, which I can guarantee worth more than $100m a year.


You are falling into the same trap everyone is. You are overlooking Italian national pride, what makes the tiofosi who they are. That if they followed through on the threat to withdraw that anyone on the board of a publicly traded company will be forced to resign following the uproar. Sponsoring the Sauber team weakens the bluff further. The only thing this is about is trying to get something, any advantage. European law is NOT going to allow the deals of the past to continue. A European company needs to be really careful that hard negotiation is NOT seen as tourtious interference in F1 as a sport. Ferrari maybe a part of F1, but they have a pretty weak hand if they dont want to be seen killing the golden goose and they all get fired for doing it. You destroy the stock market value of the company you can own that liability. They and Mercedes work together and it is conspiracy, really big companies have massive exposure. Then the FIA could ban them from other competition as unfit.... So plenty of other factors say this is all a huge bluff that if niaevly followed through could be crippling for Ferrari!


Well said. I do business in Italy. Have done so for 30 years.
The edifice of this latest display of La Bella Figura is built on sand. Ferrari is going nowhere.


No. That's just someone willing to cut off their nose to spite their face.


Really? And at the same time rattling sabers with one hand and doling out cash, engines and drivers with the other. Seems a bit of an odd approach, eh?

Wonder, for example, what the other teams (or maybe new ones like Aston Martin ?) might do with a redistribution of the $100 M. . . F-1 really doesn't need Ferrari -- even if there is a tradition of sorts involved.


F1 has obviously always reflected the face of the motor industry all these years. We are seeing this change rapidly now with electric vehicles. New players in the industry. I believe the catch phrase is “disruptive technology”. Might this also herald a shift in motor racing as we see it? Government legislation will eventually force gas powered vehicles off the road in most big cities. Is this threat to pull away from F1 by Ferrari not just Sergio Marchionne reading the changing landscape?


They won't do that in the US in my lifetime but we need batteries in big cities.

With that being said the biggest issue I see is the MGU-H. When are get that on something I can afford?


@ jdr...why would you need it?


energy recovery.


Another alias?


As always with F1 politics you can read this more than one way
1) Marchionne is now threatening to pull the plug on two teams in 2021 and force A third into seriuos trouble with sourcing engines and parts if negotiations go badly
2) Fiat want to stay no matter what even if their bluff is called and they have to pull the iconic Ferrari team.

We live in interesting times.


Fiat and Ferrari are actually two separate corporations. The only thing that ties them together is their CEO. Under Ferrari, Ferrari Racing is handled like a separate entity with their own books etc.


Only on paper, for north America.
If Dodge/Chrysler (LLC) folds then it will all but kill Fiat Spa.
But it that does happen Ferrari will still survive.
To say that they are separate companies is naive, the cost savings for a single company are huge.


Yeah yeah...and Fiat doers actually own Ferrari anymore. That's what you do if you are Fiat Chrysler. Break off a brand and take it public.

Since it's a public company just follow the money. Make no mistake if they are not owned outright, they are in bed together.


BobW ..I thought that from 2014 FCA started to float off Ferrari NV with most of the shares going back into FCA shareholders and FCA itself. In effect Ferrari stopped being a subsidiary of FCA and became an independent company mostly controlled by FCA. Scuderia Ferrari is wholly owned by Ferrari NV. So yes fiat and ferrari are separate corporations but the strings all end up back in the same place


"In bed together" for those that don't understand.


James - my apologies, but this is a bit of a lightweight and misleading article.

You've wholly ignored the real driver of the deal - which is brand-building for Alfa, as clearly stated by Marchionne, whilst dedicating a headline and entire paragraph to his "threats" to take Ferrari out of F1, when the man himself had little to say about this at the launch event.

Also, the implied political benefits to Ferrari are overplayed, as they are independent of FCA, which owns Alfa Romeo. Sure, Marchionne is at the head of both, but he has separate shareholders and boards to answer to. Corporate governance being what it is, any benefit to Ferrari is at best tangential.

If there are any benefits to Ferrari, it may well be through the technical collaboration with Sauber. In a budget capped scenario, its easy to see how this could be abused - sharing information between sister teams may be hard to control, notwithstanding regulations on related party transactions.

With regards to LM not making Marchionne and Zetsche "emotional" - the notion is laughable. These guys did not get where they are by fluffing a negotiation because of emotions - its just not how the corporate world works.


@ Redline...Good post. As to your last para. couldn't agree more. These guys are beyond emotional when screwing major deals. Machine men who get things done in their world and likewise, Carey is no pushover either.


@Kenneth - sad to say, but to me the coming Carey vs Marchionne, Zetsche & Goshn battle is the most exciting part of F1 at the moment :-/


@'re not wrong. Boardroom F1.


Yeah I'm glad James A pointed this even though there was no mention of brand building. I guess he just figured we already knew that.

In fact it reminds me of this nice Alfa R...with a Ferrari engine I saw on Top Gear a few years ago....yeah banding...


Marchionne can do as he pleases a lot of the time -he is the CEO of both. I think Marchionne is a man you don't say no to but from what i've heard some stakeholders are happy to let Marchionne do as he pleases because they trust him. Sergio is the CEO of both and ultimately that cast vote rests with him pretty much as John Elkann won't overuse his mate that often.


I would trust him too. He knows how to make money. Wasn't he the guy that took Dodge out of NASCAR and they had been there a long time.

He wants a deal with Liberty to help build the brands. He could become president like that.


@Stephen - these are listed companies you are talking about. You may want to look into corporate governance and in general how CEO's are accountable to their boards.


You may want to look into FIAT, they do business as they see fit to suit themselves.
FIAT is Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia et al.
The business must survive is the moto, they will do anything to survive and I don’t blame them one iota.


CEO's often know what buttons to press when it comes to manipulating the minds of shareholders in order to get them on-side . Ferrari and FCA have the same parent company Exor so technically although are they are separate they are still sister companies Finacially Ferrari and FCA are very much separate financially I suspect they are singing to a similar tune politically because of lot of the stakeholders are the same.


Sighhh... Yes Stephen, I suppose you know best, and "manipulating the minds of shareholders" is part and parcel of a CEO's fiduciary duties...


At the end of the day..................Alfa Romeo are back in Formula 1 - that's all that matters!

They were the first world champions in 1950 (and 1951), indeed Alfa won THE very first world championship grand prix held at Silverstone, May 1950. In the relatively modern era, an Alfa Flat 12 powered the outrageous Brabham "fan car" to victory at Anderstorp 1978.................they've got a fine pedigree, and possibly an exciting future?

What makes Alfa different to the ridiculous and overrated mid engine nonsense that spews out of Modena - you know, a V16 rocket car with space thrusters, chainsaws and laser beams Mr Pagani - is that Alfa's are pretty, pretty, driveable, usable. Engine in the front for easy servicing and much easier to cool exposed in the airstream, comfortable seats, easy to see out of, easy to steer, easy to park, reasonable fuel tank that doesn't filling every 100 yards........they actually work in the real world, unlike the Modena mob who only really work for Buck Rogers.


Just-don’t-talk-about-the-Duo-Logic-Gearbox. 😡


BTW Gas B. When I was a kid I remember that fan car.


Don't forget the Chaparral fan car in Can Am over on this side of the pond, either. Was great and also banned. Was funny when the cement mix used for oil-dry "gummed up" the works, but don't think Jim Hall appreciated it.


@gaz boy

Yeah at the end of the day they are back and it's good.


So you've not had a look at the rear engined, made in Modena, Alfa Romeo 4C then?


@Gaz - well said. Alfa are back, and that is positive for the sport. Even my wife, who has always shown zero interest in F1, perked her ears up at the news.

The churlish and petty comments about it being a "cynical marketing" move, or a Marchionne "negotiation ploy" are just irrelevant noise.


FCA and Ferrari have a lot of the same shareholders - most of the people who are shareholders in both are the same people. As Marchionne is head of both notwithstanding both companies are . The only time this with ever truly build Alfa\s brand is if a proper Alfa engine is actually built . This is purely a cynical marketing ploy by Ferrari to and get those at Liberty to play ball . FCA is effectively a second pawn business for Ferrari board members. I think people at Ferrari still have a lot power at FCA even if they not officially part of the same business.


Nonsense. My wife couldn't care less if Alfa build a PU or not. She wants an Alfa Giulia because it looks sexy, and now that I have showed her the Alfa F1 car, the sex appeal has only increased.

And FCA and Ferrari are listed companies, not Marchionne's personal fiefdom to do as he pleases, as many around the F1 forums seem to think.


She wants the red car, no, perhaps the blue one? Or even the midnight azure?


But what I said was true that is exactly how it works in big business-so why argue. They have common shareholders therefore despite what you seem to think they have common values politically- what seen as good for one is likely to be for the other.


@Stephen - context is everything. We are talking about F1, not the wider auto business, where there is a clearer alignment of interests.

In terms of the proposed new rules for F1, it should be clear to you (hopefully...!) that what Ferrari wants is not necessarily good for Alfa-Sauber.


You start the article one way and end it another.

Clearly you can see that if brand building is a goal for Sergio, then all the other benefits related to negotiations, engines and 100m are in clear alignment and just as important in this case.

The answer to why Sergio wants to have no budget cap and keep his 100m is obvious, but why would he be against these engines? Is it a distraction, so that he can yield on that point later or does he not want anyone new to enter the sport? Or does he really not want V6s? I can understand the first two points, but why is he against the engine changes?


I think this is one you got wrong seebee. Whether Ferrari pull out of F1 or stay they have branding until 2020. SM also said if F1 didn't work he would start a series of his own.

Just follow the money and this is easy. That branding is the real deal. Its like Konegesigericegds.... I can't even spell that brand but I think they make cool cars and I have seen it the movie Need for Speed but Ferrari was in Miami Vice. At first is was a fake Daytona and Ferrari said you can't put the prancing horse on there without our permission. They simply gave them some real Testa Rossa's and got free advertising.

I worked at a place in the real world where I took branding seriously. That's why people would buy things because they knew who we were and what we were about.


Starting their own series is something that's been threatened before. It's also pie in the sky.

Let's assume this new series is going to operate under FIA's oversight. it can have it's own rules, but it must conform to the FIA's sporting codes. OK... not so bad so far.

But they they have to do deals with circuits - and the circuits already have deals (that cost them a lot of money) with F1 (IE Liberty).

They would have to arranging marketing deals, persuade sponsors to endorse the new series, persuade other teams to go with them, arrange TV broadcasting and a way to beam that around the world (this can be done, but F1 already own the channels, this new series would have to build them from scratch).

If Ferrari and Merc decide to take this sort of stand, would the other teams go with them, or might they lick their lips at the prospect of a World Championship with the two biggest guns removed from it?

Oh... and any new series could not be called F1 or, unless FIA agree, a "World Championship". Try sell that to the TV stations.

It's not going to happen. Ferrari know it, FIA know it, and F1 (Liberty) know it.


What's funny with your example jdr is this: The minute you see that white Testarossa with one mirror (always annoyed the heck out of me!) you know you're not going to see the best Vice. I mean...once the "Daytona" is gone after season 2, you have to dig deep to find a episode that tops anything in those first 2 seasons.

Of course Florence Italy episode should be mandatory viewing for the fans here.

Let me tell you something about branding. More and more people are realizing that branding adds some, but not as much as is often asked of them to pay for it. Recent study put price as the #1 determining consumer driving factor at over 78% saying that is the first thing they consider. Brand was #3. We're brand loyal, but decreasingly, we're not brand slaves.

Brand loyalty is interesting, especially when those brands extract huge sums for that loyalty. Would you pay a friend for their friendship? Don't you find it unethical that a company charges you 20K for a stainless steel watch, which by the way has a manufacturing cost of probably $500?'s truly interesting. My view? Our priorities are out of whack. Function, value, logic should be the driver of what we do. You want me to pay you more, make it in a way that costs more to make so I see the value in what you're charging. Don't spread your profit over fewer units and make the consumer pay for your profit requirements. That's another thing that's funny...exclusivity...through price point. Anyhow, I'm way off track here, but it all comes back to F1 logic really because F1 does things the most expensive way possible for reasons of excellence, when in reality it totally perverts the very thing we watch it for. That know who the best driver really is over a season. We actually never get to know that one, do we?

Lewis is beloved on here, but he achieved 4 over a way longer period of time than Vettel in a car that's twice as dominant than the one Vettel drove. Is Lewis as good as Vettel? If Vettel as good as Lewis? You never know, because they never use the same tools to compete. And in the end, how can you have a fair competition when the tools of the competition are twisted and perverted like this? How can you reach any conclusion from it? Seriously, you can't.

And so the real amazingness of it all is that, the result doesn't really matter. Who is WDC or WCC is irrelevant, insignificant and unimportant, as long as we watch the branding. 🙂


@ Sebee...Yes, i too am wondering why Cardiman would be against the into of CLF engines? Is it maybe because he has a backroom deal with Mercedes? IIRC Horner stated recently that in the Team Meetings both of these teams appear joined at the hip with one never voting against the other and always looking towards each other for support! maybe there was some truth in the rumor that Mercedes helped Ferrari in some clandestine manner. See Sebee as this is more in his territory than mine though.


Because the proposed PU rules limits certain avenues of development and standardises the parts that are technically complex which Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda boards sanctioned R&D and capital investments into, so that they can develop know-how for commercial applications. Some of these investments probably won't be fully depreciated by 2020, so they are in trouble if they become irrelevant and have to be written off before then.


@ Redline.....Knowing that the engines would most likely have shelf life of seven in accord with the Concorde, mercedes et al would most likely allowed for accelerated write downs of their R &D costs. I don't know what model they use in F1 accounting or if here even is one? If they take up their R & D as a marketing cost then it is a direct cost and would be written off as incurred but if it is a single line entry post GP then it would/could be subject to corporate principles in treatment. Usually any significant losses can be carried forward into distant tax periods. I must say though that i'm stating only generalisations and it would all hinge on where the corporations are registered as to what their corporate and tax liabilities are.


What commercial applications redline?

Hybrid has been here as a finished product you can buy for well over a decade before F1 woke up to it.

I keep saying, but you guys aren't hearing - this PU efficiency is a pipe dream! It's only possible because you accelerate to a high speed and then you have all that energy to capture. It's a must capture situation too. Not like an F1 car can coast into a hairpin at 300kph and keep moving forward. So the energy is captured as a function of the track the car is on, but it's all a function of HOW and WHERE they drive these cars, not what technology they use.

PU is not applicable in commercial applications. In commercial applications we will go 100% electric. Even Mercedes AMG is admitting as much. I say again...there is no Mercedes AMG hybrid. The only thing they've done to make this PU "road applicable" is build a 3m prototype car for a few select customers who were silly enough to not know that before they take delivery of this Project One a Tesla Roadster will ship that will destroy it for 10% of the price. Mercedes are here in F1 now advertising EQ Power+ - which is a "efficient car brand" for Mercedes. First car in that EQ Power brand is coming 2019, and it will be a 100% electric SUV. It just doesn't make sense.


@ redline...two issues here. Don't be so mean!! Buy your wife an Alpha and be done with it. Endless brownie points and a quiet future life should be enough to convince you. Secondly, with Cardiman ramping up the rhetoric don't be fooled. He would only be doing this knowing that he has the support of the board or at the very least, tacit support, to test the Liberty resolve!!! He's too clever to risk a boardroom revolt which in turn would do nothing for the Ferrari image and branding and possibly reflect negatively in the share price.


@Kenneth ... the secret plan is to get the hot Quadrifoglio version ... for myself... and pass the wife my current car. Not sure how that will go down, but worth a try!

No doubt the board(s) are fully behind Cardiman. My point is the boards priority is to make money. For FCA this means selling Alfas, hence the Sauber deal. Adding political clout to Ferrari's stand against LM is a fringe benefit, and in relative terms worth pocket change to the common shareholders of FCA and Ferrari stock, and exactly nothing to the shareholders of FCA stock only.

Both the board and CEO have fiduciary duty to the shareholders. I'm quite sure this would not allow them to use FCA funds (sponsoring Alfa) to help an unrelated company (Ferrari), given that a significant proportion of FCA shareholders do not own Ferrari stock.

I know that the conspiracy loving F1 fans would love to believe that the Alfa-Sauber deal was done so that Ferrari / Marchionne (the villains) can strengthen their hand in negotiations with LM, but that simply is not plausible.


@ redline...yes the Quad is a super car but is it really worth the money? Just pray that your wife doesn't get to look over your shoulder when posting on this site hahahaha


@ Redline..I wouldn't be so sure of that. We are all privy to the fact that a company like Ferrari will use their sponsorship and image to assist them in their 'Strategy group' meetings. There is more to this than a mere branding exercise IMO that is.


You've wholly ignored the real driver of the deal - which is brand-building for Alfa, as clearly stated by Marchionne

It can hardly be used as brand building if the engine is build / prepared by and labelled Ferrari. Even the most naive of race goers would pick up on that little discrepancy.
I think the scenario put forward is more likely, Ferrari, Merc, and Renault controlling six teams between them. That gives them some considerable clout in negotiating new terms.


It wouldn’t be the first time a Ferrari V6 went into battle with Lancia on the cam covers would it? ‘Alfa Romeo’ would fit on quite nicely.


Yeah but who cares? Doesn't Ferrari sometimes let one of their engines go into an Alfa Romeo?

I remember seeing one a few years back on Top Gear I think?


It is the fact of having the name Alfa Romeo on tv in front of a world wide audience at a tiny fraction of the cost of paying for tv ads all round the world. So from that point of view it makes sense, Alfas have always shown more in style and sales potential than actual sales figures.
Marchionne inherited a burned out deadbeat collection of marques in the FCA group, they needed massive investment in development as most of the brand platforms were well out if date. He tried various other manufacturers with development partnership deals an all were rejected, currently he is trying it on with Hyundai (who have recently been on strike) they have up to date manufacturing in Europe (Slovakia)

But in F1 terms, he is not buying Sauber, he cannot withdraw them from F1, he may be able to force them to another engine supplier by withdrawing Ferrari engine supply, but by the he may well have retired from FCA by then and if the deal finishes then anyway he has no leverage.


+100 - the voice of reason!


@ Rpaco...I think that it all depends on the fine print contained in the contract between Sauber and Alpha Romeo to whicjh no one here is privy. Yes, we are told that it is a sponsorship and combined technology agreement but that could mean a whole lot more than we will ever know. Let's say that it is a bit more than a leg in the door but how far is anyones guess.


+1 for your last rpaco. Something obvious so it's bound to be overlooked.


@JohnH - Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault own and operate precisely three teams. I'm very interested to hear how you figure that their control extends to three other teams?

Most often the easiest explanation is the right explanation. That Alfa wants and needs to build brand awareness is self evident. In $$$ terms, what do you think is more important to Marchionne: selling more Alfa's, or possibly having a stronger negotiation position with LM?

But of course that view drives less site traffic than click-bait headlines about the LM vs Manufacturer stand-off....


@ redline...don't be so sure. Do you seriously think that customer teams are not 'persuaded' to support their engine supplier when asked to? Simple things like access to the 'go fast' button more readily or even simple upgrades to effect a result? Think about it...nothing in F1 comes that doesn't have strings attached.


@Kenneth - customer teams can and often are persuaded to support their engine suppliers. They move over when being lapped, give a convenient tow, get in the way of rival cars, accommodate their young future drivers, allocate wind tunnel hours to external developments, share their friday running and tyre degradation data, etc...

However that is VERY different from supporting your suppliers political position when it poses an existential threat to you. A more equitable distribution of funds, cheaper PU's and a more level playing field are worth a lot more to Sauber than anything they are getting from Alfa Romeo. Whoring themselves in the short term is not worth it, if it leads to a long term scenario which puts them out of the game.


@ redline...i doubt very much that there is that degree of separation when push comes to shove.


I'm very interested to hear how you figure that their control extends to three other teams?

Well your not really but I will tell you.
Sauber, HAAS:- Ferrari engines till 2021
Williams, Force India :- Merc engines till 2021
Red Bull, McLaren :- Renault engines till 2021.
The big three can use their power as suppliers to get themselves a better deal. F1 engines don't grow on trees, who could possibly step up to take their place? Aston
But of course this will probably not eventuate as a compromise will be reached. In fact I think Ferrari are the least likely to leave. I can't be to shore about Merc they are not rusted on to F1 and Honda may re-evaluate later as well. I think they are all looking at FE and other avenues to see how they are excepted by the public.


You forgot one Honda????


@JohnH - actually I am interested, because I am open minded enough to want to at least understand the other side of the argument.

Your reasoning is a bit confusing - In the first instance you were suggesting that the manufacturers control their customer teams, and now you are saying that they use their position as suppliers to get a better deal from LM. These are two separate and distinct issues. The second bit is self evident because of the limited number of manufacturers, and the possible collus... errr... alignment between them. The first bit is however wrong. The manufacturers may exert an influence on their customers, but that is a long way from the control that you were implying, which would normally involve an ownership stake,

I do agree that a compromise will be found. There is too much to lose for the manufactures, the independent teams and Liberty media. But the nature of compromises is such that no-one will get everything they want, and some will probably get a raw deal. Unfortunately here it looks like its the independent teams that have the weaker hand, and I expect them to be the least happy with whatever compromise agreement is reached.


I don't understand the argument both are true. Its for branding and also leverage and probably some other things that I haven't picked up on yet.


Totally down with this concept, great name and a team that just keeps on surviving....livery looks cool as it is too!

As for the pissing contest well a lot can happen in 4 yrs, surely a common sense approach will prevail.


I can't stand metallic red colors. What is this...a nail salon?

That Ferrari period when they painted their cars like this was awful. Solid red is where it's at.
New Mazdas are nice, but this girl nail polish red kills them. They used to do nice solid red. Same with the Giulia red. Brera had that nice solid red...lovely. Mercedes is best silver or black, but their solid red is very nice.


Actually the Porsche Guards Red beats them all especially since Ferrari went ‘orange’.


Candy apple red...looks good!


Candy apples are disgusting!

Apples are perfect as they are, they don't need improvement.

That's the problem with people, they can't leave things alone amd appreciate things as they are. Next thing you know we have disgusting candied apples and PUs.


I dunno what they colours they are going to use seebee. I think all of these renderings are just a guess.

I had a friend once that used to do these things and was very good at it getting one in a video game. I wouldn't think the real deal would have any metallic red in it unless real Alfa"a look like that.


@! jdr...yes, Alpha Romeos do come in a metallic red and they don't look too bad either. Most metallics look passe especially the 'bronze and the electric blue'. Two colours that make me feel ill!!!!


Whenever I needed to touch up my matchbox I'd check my mom's nail polish drawer and it was full of pink and metallic reds. All useless! How am I supposed to touch up my blue Pantera or Black 928 with that crap? This ain't no girly pimp my ride dude. Can you imagine showing up at the sandbox with a metallic red Pantara or a pink 928? Instant ass whopping!


Go on get in touch with your feminine side. If you want a pink car you get yourself a pink car and damn those that mock you, you go girl.


Jake are there pink snakes?

If you have a Force India mech box and you need a touch up, in that case mom can help.

I wonder if the sales of FI models are as hot as those silver or red cars ?


I have a McLaren 12th scale, sits on my left front speaker, the one Lewis drove to his first championship.
The right speaker has Mick's Honda. Both were Revel kits I think. I can assure you no nail varnish came anywhere near them.


surely a common sense approach will prevail

That sounds awfully confident considering recent historical events in the sport... double points, knock-out quali, and the halo to name just a few...


The little tyrant is no longer pulling the strings!


Speaking of Sauber and safety around the head, weren't they the ones that raised the sides around the back of the drivers head for safety?

With cars going faster safety should be as good as it can be. I think the halo is ugly and worse it might cause more problems than it solves.

I hope I'm wrong but teams will be adding non structural stuff on these things and that could be an issue?


Marchioness has to. He can't let Alfa wither and die and this evocative name belong in F1 to valuable exposure to the brand. Sauber is a non brand anyway. After all the team became BMW for a few years.


I hope Chase and his team stay strong to their values and don't give in to the demands of the top teams. I hope Mercedes and Ferrari eventually see the changes are for the good of the sport, particularly the money distribution.


Wishful thinking. Chase and his team will ultimately do what is in the best interest of their shareholders, and to believe otherwise is naive in the extreme. Likewise for Ferrari and Mercedes. The "good of the sport" does not enter their calculus, unless it happens to align with the "good of the shareholders".


Plus an uptick to go with their ego!!!


Good for the sport should mean more people watch the show which in theory should be good for all.

There is a big difference between theory and reality.


Liberty say they want more manufacturers invested.

Is Alfa Romeo enough of an add on?

Renault brings in Infiniti, Ferrari Alfa and Mercedes....ehm....Smart? Honda will do Acura for one Red Bull team...but which one? There you go. They then get the manufacturers commitment for a period and yield on budget cap and let these guys write the engine rules.

Problem solved.

P.S. yes...they keep their payouts. Sergio asks for more historic payments for Alfa....say...50m.


One problem for Liberty is that they get most of their money from what the venues pay them.

That's why a place like Silverstone can fail to make a profit. That's all wrong. They should get more from advertising media.

More manufacturers might help but they already have 4 but 1 1/2 or maybe 2 engine manufacturers ain't quite up to snuff. Given enough time they should be but with the engine rules being so complicated catching up is much harder. Getting rid of the token system seems to have helped Renault catch up on power but not reliability.

Maybe they just need everyone use the old rulebook for lets say a V12 or maybe a V10;.) If only Ferrari will go along with that.

Just getting rid of that dreaded MGU-H would mean a complete engine redesign anyhow according to Mercedes and Ferrari.


I don’t get the fascination with different manufacturers names getting into the sport. Ferrari and Alfa are part of Fiat with common technology, marketing and influence. Porsche, Audi and Lambo are part of the VW Group, so the same applies. We need a real independent engine maker like Cosworth to come back and supply the independents.


Me neither except for maybe Ilmour or Cosworth. Then that would be branded Chevy and Ford.

Really there could only be one more which is VW Audi like you say.

Liberty is saying this because of some survey probably. Four manufacturers for engines is pretty good. The problem is 3 out of the 4 have teams.


Plus the fact that three out of four can't build an engine that is equal to Mercedes, nor are they likely too in the near future. Manufacturers who can choose at will who they supply to is tantamount to race result manipulation. Mercedes refused to supply Red Bull for that very reason. Ferrari did also, although they tried to make it look less obvious when they only offered a year old designs.


You think they would allow an independent engine maker to beat the manufacturers? Those days are over.


That's exactly right. Its a pipe dream .


Not yet it isn't although i believe that the manufacturers hold a very good hand.


Manufacturers have made the rules so complex there is no chance for independent to take them on. You think that's an accident?

Maybe that's the whole beef about the MGU-H...makes it easy for them to keep independents out and control the sport...and if that dieselgate Porsche wants to use thr new FI to cleanse their image, they can afford the PU as is.


Sebee, as the first and oldest WCC team, I’d have thought Alfa should get $200M/year before they even show up, no...?


I think Sergio is OK to start negotiations there.


Actually Ferrari was spun-off from the FCA parent in 2016. Alfa is however part of FCA.

Cosworth simply cannot compete with the automotive manufacturers under the current rules. Standardized parts may help them be competitive, although based on Mario Iliens recent comments, even that would require the backing of an auto manufacturer (capital and infrastructure one imagines).

So it looks like there is a binary choice: F1 with independent engine manufacturer, or F1 with auto manufacturers. Looks like a clear-cut choice to me....


Cosworth simply cannot compete with the automotive manufacturers under the current rules. Standardized parts may help them be competitive, although based on Mario Iliens recent comments, even that would require the backing of an auto manufacturer (capital and infrastructure one imagines).

Even during the times of the 'independents" they had some pretty major backing didn't they? Cosworth from Ford, Brabham from Repco.
It's not the rules it's the lack of financial backing.
It may happen again it may not. Either way the majors have always had the reigns. Without them F1 would be a boutique sport for a few wealthy playboys.


Yep and only Ford could pull something like that off. It would be cool but Ford doesn't have any interest in that.


Nothing in F1 is binary. That would be too simple.


FF 11111111
hex bin

No I had to use hexidecimal;-)


Binary. 0 and 1, eff..

Went to the deli on the weekend and this was my number. It's always either this or....yup...V10.


Welcome back Alfa.........maker of the some best drivers cars ever (the GTV from the 50s is a marvel).

Alfas last attempt at competitive motoring was ruined by Italian politics and gangsters. No, not the mafia - it was the Red Brigades, a bunch of Left wing thugs who wanted to turn Italy into a communist paradise and overthrow capitalism. And because FIAT and Alfa are the epitome of decadent capitalism in Italy (sic), the RBs used to regularly target the Turin car industry, with wildcat strikes, blackmail, violence.........unsurprisingly, the Alfa F1 programme of the late 70s/early 80s suffered while the management had to deal with the distraction of a bunch of Marxist thugs.

Its well worth reading the autobiography of Gianni Angelli for an insight into what a pain in the botocelli to the Italian car industry the RBs really were, it makes you wonder how anything in Turin actually got built....


Gaz Boy, 10 points for your article you have brought the memories of my younger days that is very dear to my heart. The 1750 GTV what a gem, the beautiful free rev engine, a superbly spaced gear ratio in the 5 speed box and the sound ,just, magic to drive . May I add you are a 100% correct about tugs and Unions in Italy, they forced Government to build the huge plant near Napoli for the new generation Alfa Romeo named Alfa Sud , it was envisage the production of 140.00 units per year it never reached 50.000 , yep a very sad story. there let me tell you .


Don't want to make any go green with envy, but last month down in Toulon in the S of France I saw a gorgeous Alfa GTA, as lovely as Sofia Loren in her prime and yet with the brawn of a Roman gladiator.

God, Alfa's are fantastic, the boys in Turin now how to make a looker, and yet not just pretty, but practical too. The best thing to come out of Italy ever.

Reminds me of that Monty Python gag: "What have Alfa ever done for us? Well apart from the looks, style, elegance, refinement, fantastic engines, well balanced chassis, charisma, soul, refinement, driveability, affordability, not much........"


Interesting thread. Sauber will not only get a nice paint scheme but will get engineering help from Alfa so yeah it's all good no matter what marketing the leverage implications for 2020. We will have 3 season's for them no matter what.


Ahhh the GTV 1750 - beautiful car. Have lusted after them since I drove a friends one. One day....

As for the unions - they are the scourge of the italian economy (along with the politicians). Seemingly untouchable, although Marchionne has gone toe to toe with them on occasions.


I've been watching F1 for a long time and frankly I couldn't care less whether Ferrari were in the series or not.

I'm the first to admit I don't get what the big fuss is about them... For sure half the fans at the track seem to fly Ferrari colours, but it almost seems like the lazy choice. It's the brand they recognise, so they support them by default. There's plenty of other brands that could fill that hole. For example, get Lamborghini in the series and Ferrari can take a hike.

Contrary to popular opinion, Ferrari isn't F1. Even with an extra $100m a year they still can't win. If they don't like the rules, they can take their bat and ball and go home.


Easy to say.

F1 without Ferrari...well...consider that USGP could be carried by only 6 cars, as long as 2 were Ferrari.


That's an interesting point.

But if Ferrari were to win all the time with that 100m being paid, how would it look?


It might just be possible that Ferrari could just sponsor a series without actually running a car unfairly like RBR WRC. I see a Red Bull team but Andretti has a lock on that with Speed and Foist.


Formula X1? 🙂

Entirely possible.


Engine rules need to give flexibly in terms of innovation and engineering but within a budget! How hard can this be to figure out? Get rid of the hybrid, it does nothing for the sport! All it’s done is drive up cost, close the door to new entrants and guarantee one team dominates...


Getting rid of hybrid is just a dream. Most enginee manufacturers see that as the future. That includes Mercedes, Renault, and I might add, reluctantly, Ferrari, and certainly Honda. I have said this before, and I'll say it again, can the present formula be tweaked to achieve half of what LM want, without having to design a new engine, as that is what will have to be done if they get rid of the mgu-h.


What does it matter? I say let them keep developing a ICE. FormulaE can play with electricity.

Here in the USA top fuel rail cars or dragsters are old tech and pollute like crazy but I think it might be way past time to transfer tech to road cars except possibly computer controlled stuff.

If the engineer's want something to do then let engineers design a two strike engine for all I care. Maybe the engine rules can't be changed because of that evil MGU-H.

The front runners to the midfield should be closer. Maybe just maybe nothing really needs to be done at all. The aero makes passing difficult even if you are 1 second per lap quicker so maybe there needs to be some kind of push to pass in the turns when they are close enough. They can't do that with drs because it would make the back of the car kick out.

Maybe we need to just wait and see how things play out until 2020 and maybe they could make the driver decide when to deploy harvested electricity. It sounds like a driver aid to me.


Just a thought on Ferrari and maybe Mercs jumping ship, possibly to formula e, does anyone else see f1 and Fe eventually becoming one? Maybe 10-15 years in the future, One subsumed into the other? With the way technology is going, it seems the obvious route to me.


The percentage of ice engined cars with hybrids will change to favor hybrids, especially as hybrids mature, but I think the internal combusation enginee is here for a while yet. So no, they can both keep going as seperate entities for now.


I agree. The only paths for F1 are electric or some kind of "Legends" series and I say this as a fan of screaming V8s and V10s. The writing is on the wall for the ICE. 100 years from now there won't be ICE powered machines on the road and we are witness to the start of that process....


As certain Mr Musk said, there are still some people who ride horses. I can only hope for your legends series - I love the electric future already, but I grew up getting my eardrums blasted by fire spitting monsters.


This is an interesting point as well Tank.

When you're a kid your don't know your left from your right. Your tastes are "give me sugar!". You don't know refinement in design, you don't understand practicality. It all doesn't matter. V10 and even V12 captured that lovely indifference and innocence. 🙂

But as I'm older now, as you may be, I'm tickled silly by these Teslas. And this new Roadster at 1.9s to a 100km, quarter mile in 8.9s, 250mph and 600 mile range while being fully autonomous...well, that's sci-fi stuff. That's the slowest version too. And if they find more speed it will be in the software update beamed to your car overnight. Free. Imagine that.

So interestingly F1 wants more young audience, but isn't giving them what young indiscretion is drawn to with these silly PUny PUdgy PUngent of burning oil PUs. And us older fans, well, we know this hybrid crap is but a blip on the radar and we're going to skip right over it into electrics. We're smart enough to know this, to witness it in our own choices, behaviour and preference. And we're not foolish enough to be convinced by a one off $3M Project One marketing exercise that this F1 is road relevant, while Mercedes is entering 5th season of these PUs without an AMG hybrid product to sell us at a reasonable price but with a showroom full of V8s and V12 on offer.


@ Sebee...I am struggling with this all electric buzz. The standing start 0-100kph is all but meaningless to most people other than as conversation note/ego trip. It's what you are driving and the sounds and sensations of listening to the engine gain momentum. Electric is simply a battery and an electric motor, How boring is that when compared to the engineering artistry of all the special engine components moving in an articulated manner. I happen to think the ICE is a work of art, in it's own way, and it will be sad if and when this gem is removed in favor of a soulless mass of copper wires and black boxes!!! There is no thrill in that.


Sometimes you hear an opinion Kenneth and after you hear it, it all makes sense to you.

I was listening to Jay Leno interview and he was saying how the two most exciting sounding cars was his McLaren F1 and his Tesla P100D. How nearly all of the stuff in between these two fail to impress him. And ever since then I've been listening to these exhaust pipe induced BMW M cars, Porsches, or other performance cars, and I have to tell you, very few of them impress me. Jay is right...they make noise, sure, but is it glorious noise? They sound like themselves, but I've often heard a tuner car sound quite similar. After you've heard an F1 V10 or a Corvette GTS car under racing conditions, should a V6 M car impress you? A Porsche revving on the street? Are all these cars on public roads as annoying as those fat slow noisy useless Harleys? Or is silence much more impressive especially when accompanied by 1.9s, 8.9s etc. numbers in a 2+2 4 passenger car?

Then there is this....everyone is doing it now.


@ Sebee...BMW have just released their latest 600HP '5' and guess what? A twin turbo V8 with enhanced exhaust tones playbacked through the stereo!!!! No electrification to be seen.


Yeah, this whole thing of playing engine sound inside the cabin is hilarious to me. And of course the "halo" cars, the top of the range models that are reasonable...well, they aren't V6 at all. Ever.

Look at the Honda NSX. That car is a total commercial failure. It is as close to this F1 PU as you can get in a performance car, and as affordable as it can probably one cares. I haven't seen one on the road for months. You can get so much more car for so much less. P100D immediately comes to mind.


Yeah but the Kentucky derby has new horses with plenty of people in the stands and watching.

The sport of horse racing was not affected when the horseless carriage came along. It will take at least 25 or 30 years for all cars on the road to be electric or hybrids because there are already so many ICE only ones on the road. Even if it's 10 to 15 that shouldn't make F1 less popular. There will probably some kind of supercar loophole where the rich just have pay extra tax plus it doesn't seem like that MGU-H is perfected in F1 much less everyday cars.

I can't imagine all racing like formula E. Maybe in the big picture all of the engine manufacturers get all of the data they need and only supply teams except for Ferrari.

What happens there is a loop. Engine manufacturers teams come and go as making the chassis. The independent teams can catch up there if the rules aren't changed major over time.

If they change the engine rules and keep electricity it will just separate the factory teams from the independent teams further because they will have correct information to work from.

Just keep everything like it is or bring back a v12 with a turbo


Horse racing is all sustained by gambling. Plus, you don't have to spend 300m a year on a horse.

FI economics cannot sustain that.

I asked recently about what is the best sounding F1 car, and someone brought up the V16 BRM. I probably heard it somewhere at Silverstone at one point perhaps, but it made me think of the challenge here. I mean, 1.5L only....V16....What is the problem of having a 1.6L V8 for example? What's this hangup on the number of cylinders?


Asked if it could be Formula E, the all-electric series' boss Agag told El Confidencial: "It would be fantastic.

"But I think, for now, it would be a very big cultural change for them.

"Marchionne has said he is looking at it, but not for Ferrari but for Maserati perhaps," he added.

"But I've never spoken to him. I don't think it's imminent. I have seen the new Tesla Roadster that is 0-100kph in 1.9 seconds, and nothing like that from Ferrari."


After lots of thought re where this is all leading some serious questions need to be addressed. The overriding consideration being what would happen to the big three if Liberty held firm with little or no accomodation to their demands? Just what would the big three do? Their huge investments would be valueless if they weren't able to re direct those resources into another series. They would be forced to dismantle their respective organisations or sell them off...but where would the buyers come from? We are talking here of serious $$$ investments. Mercedes have some 1500 employees in their F1 team and manufacturing operations. Without F1 what would become of them all and where could their technology be further enhanced and in what form? FE could not absorb those numbers and Brixworth would become superfluous in that series. Both sides have some heavy main guess ATM will be some graduated changes implemented over time that will take F1 down a middle path which is not what we/some of us, are hoping for. I simply dread contemplating a series where the same teams dominate year on year.


Yeah think of all of that talent in Brixworth gone to waste. That would be terrible and Ferrari making a full blown electric car.

How would it come to this? Unfortunately so called common sense is uncommon.


Yeah think of all of that talent in Brixworth gone to waste. That would be terrible and Ferrari making a full blown electric car.

How would it come to this? Unfortunately so called common sense is uncommon.


@Kenneth - spot on. Both LM and the big three have too much invested in this for them to not reach some sort of compromise.

In all honesty I am more sympathetic to the manufacturers, given that they are shouldering the most significant risk (in $$$ terms). Whilst I dread the prospect of further Mercedes domination, looking back at the sport since I began watching in the early 90's there have often been periods of supremacy. The odd occasion when smaller teams got a result were usually not performance related, but due to reliability issues of the front runners or the unforgiving nature of Armco barriers and gravel traps. To try to change that, so that the Minardi's of the world can regularly challenge the Mercedes will just denature the sport completely.

Far more frightening to me is the prospect of LM turning the sport into "a global nascar" with the attendant dancing girls and razzmatazz. Well, the dancing girls maybe, but the rest..... makes me want to vomit.


@ Redline....We somehow seem to meet halfway as i have absolutely no sympathy for the manufacturers. Yes, it's been great for F1 in an overall sense vis a vis investment in the series but that is where it starts and finishes for me. As i have said so many times, the fact that Mercedes refused to supply Red Bull and Ferrari refused to supply the latest engines to them as well, compounds the concept of race result control. Now if i was in their boots then i'd do the same. So where does the sport go? It needs to have independents in order to eliminate discrimination. The introduction of the CLF engines will do that. What really is a sticking point is this MGU-H. I have repeatedly sought to be better informed but i seem to get absolutely no where. What do they actually cost? Why do they coast reputedly, so much? Why can't we have a simpler engine that provides the same performance for so little extra? Why are these units so complex that even world renowned car companies cannot build them to last more than 300Kms? There are so many questions that haven't been answered for fans like myself and if i had the information, even an outline, i could better make an informed decision.


@kenneth - outside the boffins and bean-counters at Maranello, Brixworth and Viry-Chattilon, I don't think there are many that have the true answers.

I don't think its an MGU-H cost issue per-se. That tech is quite F1 specific, although e-turbo hybrids are being developed by the likes of Honeywell and BorgWarner, so could be that there is some future commercial cross-over, as their clearly is with the K- part of the systems.

From what I understand, the issue is that the current generation PU's were designed around the use of both MGU-H and MGU-K. Simply removing the MGU-H will mean that the whole philosophy is compromised and sub-optimal, because you've eliminated one energy pathway that was critical to the system. To optimize the PU you would have to re-design around MGU-K only. Also, you are tossing out a lot of ICE tech specifically developed to maximize H-recovery. Plus a whole load of software coding around optimizing drive-ability and energy harvesting optimization. In $$$ terms that is significant, and at least one reason why the manufacturers are resisting the rule change.

I don't think they are against having independent manufacturers (Honda joined after the original three), but rather want to protect their investment. From a corporate perspective I fully get it. Of note is that Renault is aligned with the other two, although they probably have the most to gain from the rule change (ignoring Honda, as their predicament is inexplicable).

Squaring that with the desire to have competitive, entertaining and affordable racing is a gordian knot of epic proportions.


@ Redline.....interesting post. There are still no numbers? Why is the continual reference to dropping the MGU-H associated with very high cost? Brawn has made this element the core of his proposed new engine regs. If it is tyo believed then there needs to be some evaluation made public to justify this. Likewise the Manu's need to put numbers up to sustain their credibility in rejection. Renault was not originally too bothered with the elimination of the MGU-H and they referred only to some electrification [MGU-K] as being desirable. That is most likely due to the fact that they still don't know, after 5years. how to build one comparable to Mercedes/Ferrari. Brawn would've taken all this into account but now the major Manu's are turning on him. Hopefully he'll maintain his resolve but i fear that he'll buckle eventually as liberty don't have a very strong hand ATM. I also wouldn't be surprised if Todt will only pay lip service to Liberty.


@Kenneth - sorry, my last post wasn't particularly clear. I think that the high costs are due to the need to re-design and optimize the whole PU package to around a one less energy pathway, and the other parameters that will change. You can't just remove the MGU-H from the current package and hope to be competitive -
you're effectively going to end up with a wholly new PU, hence the costs.

I personally think the manufacturers have pulled a "bait and switch" on Brawn &co. They went along in the private meetings, but spat their dummies when the proposed rules went public, citing the costs. That way its going to be easier for them to demand a bigger slice of the pie when the $$$ negotiations start. It must rankle with them that the commercial rights holder doesn't actually do much, takes very little financial risk, and yet ends up with the largest slice of the pie.


@ Redline....That is not what the Brawn statement indicates. The mantra being espoused is 'CLF' which translates into 'cheaper,faster,louder' and is a total integration. Yes, of course the need for a re design is imperative but if the costs are as high as you indicate [no $$$] then how can the 'mantra' even exist? Is Brawn that silly as to even propose it as being a reality in concept? He'd be laughed out of town if it was just a mere piece of 'puffery' to get the conversation started. It must also be kept in mind that these 'design parameters' were fully discussed, in principle. in previous meetings and confirmed by James as being so in the article on this site. All teams were reportrdd as being in basic agreement. Now that Ferrari and Mercedes are becoming vocal in their rejection tells me that they are playing the 'straw man' game. Should Ferrari/Mercedes up the ante re departure after '20 then Todt would go apoplectic in his reaction. I think that we fully agree that this is going to become far more interesting in the near future. Massive egos and personal fiefdoms under it.


Imagine this headline splattered across the interweb and the newspapers...........
Sergio Marchioni has pulled Ferrari out of F1, the only team to have taken part in every season.
His reasons for doing this........Liberty media didn't want to keep the current engine power unit configuration (which no Ferrari road car uses) and also because Liberty wouldn't pay the 100 million back hander to keep them.
What next for Ferrari........? Erm........?
What next for Sergio.........? Difficult to say, he mysteriously vanished 3 days after the announcement.

Meanwhile back in the real world Alfa Romeo being back in the sport is great news and will in itself bring the lap time difference between the teams down.

As once said by a very smart F1 chap......
Implementing change in F1 is like steering an oil tanker, you only have to give it a very small nudge now to see a much greater direction change in the future.
In other words,don't expect too much of a change.


I don't think the rules surrounding B teams is working as intended. The customer teams are almost entirely subservient now to the big manufacturers. We have an Illusion of a 22 car race, but realistically there are 6 or 8 cars maximum with a genuine chance of winning.

F1 needs to tackle this issue, because at present the factory teams have far too much influence and they look to be trying to expand their grip on the sport at a time when the fans are demanding wider competition.

If Ferrari and Mercedes get their way, the entire F1 brand will be devalued. No doubt when that happens they will leave anyway.

The Ferrari $100m 'bung' has no place in a legitimate sport. All reward payments should be based on performance in a particular season.


Actually that is the race inside a race like different classes of endurance cars in the same race.

There is an exception which is Red Bull. They did better than Renault. They are supposed to get the exact same engines.

I have wondered if Mercedes and Ferrari aren't breaking the rules especially Mercedes. Then again Williams can't beat Force India with the same engine.

Tornillo Amarillo

Renewed threat to pull Ferrari out of F1

I'm tired of threats, manipulations and politics, instead of just racing and winning championships fair and square. I think Ferrari should speak more professional, as Mercedes does.


@TA - If you read Marchionne's words, rather than those of F1 journo's with a vested interest, you will find him quite straightforward and professional. And by the way, he is widely regarded as more north American in his management style than Italian.


That my friend is the difference between Italians and Germans. It all comes down to interpretation.


@Kenneth - for the record, within Italy Marchionne is regarded as very un-Italian! That goes for his management style as well as his dress sense...

Tornillo Amarillo

@kenneth: Harsh on nationalities, no please.


@ TA......Loosen up.


@ Redline...Dress sense? Don't mention Marchionne and that phrase together in the same sentence. Italians are genuine style masters in so many things, something that seems to have passed 'cardiman' by without even a secondary glance.

Tornillo Amarillo

interesting will be what the media, commentators and fans will call the cars.

For me it is just a "Sauber" or "Sauber-Ferrari", no Alfa Romeo involved.

As for me "Mercedes-AMG Petronas" is just "Mercedes".

And Haas is Haas, not even Ferrari.


@ TA.....I tend to think that it will finally come down to either Sauber or simply Alpha. To say them both in sequence has no rhythm.


HAAS might be considered HAAS. Dallara Ferrari. Yeah it's kind of funny that it works on so many but work it does.


The livery looks good, but as it says in the article, what will the commentators and fans call it? If they are reffered to asAlfas, then the sponsorship idea will be a masterstroke, but if people continue to call them Saubers, then it will be an expensive folly. No doubt team members will be told in no uncertain terms to use the Alfa name at every opportunity, but I wonder if commentators and journalists will be put under any pressure to comply? Would love to find out James!
P.S, Ericsson on notice? About time too....


a bit sad to see the big teams take hostage of the small midfield teams, which really need a more equal revenue distribution.


Ferrari will likely leave

- they don't need F1 that much, apart from McLaren none of their competitors are in F1 (e.g. Lamborghini, bugatti, Aston Martin, ...)

- in the bernie E model of F1, designed to trade on the past and appeal to oligarchs, Ferrari was essential to FOM, hence the $100m sweetener. In the liberty era, which I think will be more designed to appeal to the young and more normal people, Ferrari are less essential - so I'm not sure the two sides will find a solution that suits both. Or actually that solution might be Alfa Romeo, a brand you can aspire to owning without being a celebrity or villain.


Interesting angle... seems quite plausible.


James, how does this deal with Alfa Romeo compare with BMW deal that Sauber had 10 years ago?


Charles Leclerc, who looks the most exciting driver to come through to F1 from F2 (formerly GP2) since Lewis Hamilton in 2007

I thought, it was Mr.Stoffel.


Given that the fabled Alfa 158/159 Alfetta won the first two F1 championships with a supercharged 1.5 litre engine, I suppose Alfa’s return brings things full circle given the current rules. But that echo of history doesn’t get the hard part out of the way.

The hard part being that since the turbo era came in with Renault in the late ‘70s, F1 has been a manufacturers playground in which costs have increased by orders of magnitude. Indeed Renault introduced turbochargers to F1 way late in the racing game (Bobby Unser won Indy with an Eagle Offy turbo in 1968; by 1973, the DOHC 2.65 litre Offy was producing almost 1000bhp. Roger Penske, Mark Donahue, and the Porsche 917/10 brought similar power to the Can Am four years later) and went on to introduce pneumatic valve actuation - and, decades later, pushed hard for the turbo hybrids. All three of these technologies, alone and now in combination, have taken F1 from (essentially) an expensive sport to an astronomically expensive marketing exercise for auto manufacturers.

F1 was in this pickle at its outset: Faced with the costs of staying ahead of Ferrari, Alfa pulled out. Faced with the fact that only Ferrari seemed to have aced the original 1.5/4.5 Formula (BRM at that point having prefigured Honda and Renault’s recent experience), the rules were radically simplified: The World Championship ran to F2 regs in 1952 and 1953.

We could use such radical simplification again right now, and for the same reasons: Cost and complexity are anathema to broader participation and to racing spectacle. And there’s nothing wrong with doing so on a “take it or leave it basis.” This too has precedent: British interests were far more vociferous upon 1958 announcement of the 1961 Formula. Given that this was based directly on then-existing F2 rules for 1.5 litre I supercharged engines; given that Lotus and Cooper, especially, were competing with what amounted to F2 hot rods, that reaction seems incomprehensible in hindsight. The Formula was in fact tailored perfectly to the strengths of these garagistas. And history shows that F1 cemented itself as predominantly British enterprise during that era. And history also shows that they got that way when the CSI (FIA) told them, these are the rules. Take it or leave it.

Note that a breakaway series, the Intercontinental Formula, did commence during 1961. It sputtered out quickly.

(For the definitive discussion of the 1.5 litre F1 and the political wrangling leading up to it, see Mark Whitelock’s outstanding book,

I think we are simply going through a combination of what happened in 1951 and 1958: Costs and complexity have strangled competitiveness (as at the end of ‘51); and major players are upset about the new formula (Whitelock quotes an Autosport editorial to the effect that the 1961 rules would allow Grand Prix racing to degenerate into an unimportant contest carrying no prestige whatsoever. Less colorful than Marchionne’s “sandbox” metaphor, perhaps, but the sentiments? Identical).

As in 1961, the FIA (and FOM) should stand firm.


@ Rudy Pyatt...great post. I enjoyed reading that. I would hope that liberty stay strong in their attempts to introduce more competitive engines. As i said earlier, their will be some serious 'blinking' along the way. How will it end?


I'll second that. Great post! It's funny how history repeats itself, going through the same cycles. I wouldn't want to lose Ferrari from formula 1 but I think the prestige card holds less weight than people think. There could be a backlash regarding viewing figures initially but ultimately, if F1 cars were still breaking track records each year regardless of the teams involved it would still be THE fastest form of 4 wheel circuit racing. Still the pinnacle. And with drivers like Lewis, Max, Ricciardo and Alonso etc all battling it out with closer machinery the spectacle itself would keep the sport alive. Look at rallycross. A simple, rough and ready form of motorsport that's drawing in the new younger generation of fans due to good marketing and simple entertaining racing. I think the drivers hold the most weight. Hold your hand up if you're a Mercedes fan?.... now honestly, would it still be held up if Lewis had a pair of ferrari overalls on in 2019? I reckon not for most of you guys. In England, Renaults are known for being cheap French cars with dodgy electrics. No prestige whatsoever (despite there decades of success in motorsport). When Ferrari and Merc were getting their behinds kicked by a fizzy drinks company, I bet the wealthy were still shopping for AMG's and 458's etc. I'm sceptical about how powerful f1 actually is as a marketing tool.


Nice livery, but where's the halo?


I think its very good that Alpha is back.

The bad news? BE cleaned up. He sure got his money. The debt Liberty has is pretty high. They may know what they are doing or they may not. After seeing the new logo more on the internet on different devices it fits better. The old one looked great but it's taller than it is wide. The new one is not very tall and it is wide. So even though I really hated it; it's growing on me. I can see a lot more places it can be put.

Now the big one? Everyone knows F1 needs Ferrari and Ferrari needs F1 but which one needs the other most? I think Ferrari will have a lot of leverage over Liberty.

You all probably don't want to know anything else. Just follow the money. Both are public companies and just fact check them.

Maybe the rules don't need to keep changing because every time they get changed the mid pack is farther from the front. The tires don't need to change all of the time either.

IMO the midfield guys should be able to win one occasionally. Maybe seebee is right if they do change the engine, just grab an old rule book and put a V10 in there however even just getting rid of the dreaded MGU-H means it might as well be a new engine. F1 just be road relevant anymore. The engine formula is so messed up now because it is way too complicated.

Everyone complains about the logo and the sound, crap tracks, etc....but I think the amount of time between the front runners and the midfield is what needs to change most. Ferrari also seem to have the need to win a WDC or WCC every ten years.

The good news Ferrari and SM are saying talks are ongoing. This his happened the last few times but this time BE ain't the guy doing it but Liberty did hire Ross Brawn. He should be able to come up with something.


Agree completely with closing the gap up in the midfield. I remember the excitement in 2012 (I believe it was) where for the first half of the season you didn't know who was going to win the race. Was it something like 7 or 8 different winners consecutively?? Regarding the relevance of F1 cars to road cars, i personally think the less they have in common the better. Its the imaginative, performance enhancing engineering innovations that you DON'T find on you road car that capture your interest and set formula one apart. There was a time when certain manufacturers sold road cars to fund there passion and desire to go racing, not the bloody other way round.
I'm a technician for a 'prestige' motor company and I spend a lot of my time carrying out brain numbing hybrid health checks. Last week we had a 5.0L V8 come into the workshop (which our eco friendly company also produces) and there was literally a que to take it out on road test. I think that says it all! I think that sebee guy is right in saying that these hybrids wont be around for long so why ruin our sport with the expensive pursuit of developing them. How many people specifically watch F1 because of there passion or interest in hybrids? I bet not many. Now I wonder how many people have lost interest or stopped watching F1 during the time of this PU era?
The changes required to get F1 back on track are simple. Unfortunately the politics aren't. I know it's the ultimate capalist' playground but the paddock could do with a little helping of community spirit right now.


"For 2018 the engines will be badged Ferrari but after that it will be reviewed." - What does that mean?


I take that to mean that by then the way forward will be clearer and new engine agreements, in principle, should be locked in allowing Ferrari to re assess. In that re assessment will be the decision as to who will manufacture the 'new 'engines. If they are simplified then maybe Alpha will build their own like Ferrari may build their own using certain complimentary items but maintaining a significant difference for individual brand identity in 2021.


So this is a 1-year agreement with Ferrari. Meaning Haas and Sauber will only for sure have equal engines for one year. Just trying to get a lay of the land as an American and Haas hopeful.
"Kenneth, what is the frequency?". . I will try not to ask that anymore. I just like the sound of it. That was an iconic situation where a homeless crazy shouted the question to one of our high profile tv anchors on the streets of New York City. Tv anchor's name was not Kenneth. Tv anchor was fired and dishonored for reporting false news, at a later date, on another subject. An early example of Fake News.


@ Gene Herbert No, it's apparently a three year deal but by the endn of '18 the new R & R will have to be firmed up. That means all major hook ups re associated teams will need to be set in [virtual] concrete in order to be on the grid in '21.


"Marchionne has done a lot lately to reinvent the Alfa Romeo brand on the road, with exciting models like the Giulia and the Stelvio and the F1 connection gives a youthful, sporty sheen to the brand."

Unfortunately, while Alfa is on the upswing, Fiat has never been rated as higher than Below Average in reliability in the US since their re-introduction. I think Sergio should spend less time at Ferrari and Alfa and more time at Fiat...


That shiny red color! Really nice. Other than that it doesn't look like this bodes well for the privateers.


back to the drawing board - that's a bad livery. totally uninspiring.

re f1 engines. bring anything you like as long as its @1000hp.


and no MGU-H.


Interesting to note that apparently at the Alpha Romeo museum where the Sauber tie in was announced Cardiman, AKA Marchionne , also made reference in his speech to the appalling intro by that Buffer chap at Liberty's behest at COTA. Marchionne feels the same way about this as a few of us do and he made a comment that he didn't want to see the NASCAR-isation of F1!!! ...and that F1 has a more noble past. Well said Sergio...have a full Corona for that.


Sergio is a Barolo and Barbaresco man 😉


@ apologies for not picking up on your comment. By Corona, i was referring to the "full fat richly smelling tobacco leaves lovingly rolled on the thighs of generously proportioned Cuban ladies' and not a Mexican beer!


@ Redline...yes, two different identities but created from the same 'nebbiolo' base. Is he Barolo or is he Barbaresco.


Both are from Piemonte - the spiritual heartland of FCA.
Marchionne himself though is of Abruzzese origins - so in vinicultural terms he is probably a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo


@ Redline...well partly correct but he does have mixed parentage and i don't quite know whether he can claim 'Abruzzi' heritage resulting from his genealogy. Given that fact, then the 'Plavic Mali' or it's modern day derivative 'Zinfandel' would play nicely into his vinicultural shadow.


Purely by accident we may see an interesting last c4 f1 season before we return to the glory days of checking the result on monday mornings


I dont get it 🙂 ?


Is there value for Fiat in seeing Alfa Romeo squabbling at the back with Toro Rosso though?


I think Ferrari are just Sauber rattling.


Very good!


I've seen less ferocious 'sauber toothed tigers' !!!


It seems to me that the only reason Marchione puts Alfa in F1 is to increase his influence and get stronger leverage in shaping up the post 2020 rules. Let’s hope this is not the case...
Other than that it’s good to have fresh blood in the ageing F1 product.


Ferrari should make good on their quit threat and b****r off. Just like Red Bull should have when they were moaning that it was another team’s turn to be the fastest. I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and couldn’t care less if the whining horses disappear. Any team that stands in the way of closer racing has no place in the sport and I sure as hell wouldn’t miss them. I want close racing and don’t give two hoots what badge is on the cars. They should all take a leaf out of Frank Williams’ book and just get on with the challenge rather than cry into their baby food.


Yes - would have been quite a season without Ferrari and RB....


Yes, apart from the LHFC, zero eyeballs.


Yes, other teams would be in their place. Fine by me. If teams can’t deal with life’s ups and downs, that’s a pity. Fear of rivals pushes teams harder. Special treatment breeds complacency. Level that playing field and see who’s really got what it takes.


@Peter - Other teams? What, like Caterham and Marussia?
Sorry, but that is cheap and meaningless rhetoric, that can't be taken seriously.


I agree. If they can’t play on an even playing field, without outrageous bonus money, they can leave without any complaints from me. F1 should be about passionate drivers and car makers who live to race. Why should I care about anything else?


The Italian football national side won't travel to Russia next year -- some years later, the Italians might even pull Ferrari out of F1 -- well, go ahead, what else? We would only say arrivederci!


@Eunuch - and your point is what precisely?


Rather ironic that the Alpha Romeo sponsorship is indirectly made possible via the extra $100mil Ferrari gets paid.
Thus the Formula Group is actually paying for Alpha Romeo to be back in F1.

With regards to the new engine formula, perhaps the compromise is a standardized MGU-H or allow the engine manufacturers a choice, either to make their engines with only a MGU-K or both the MGU-H/K.

That way the current engine manufacturers have a choice to either optimize their current designs or pursue a different path to reaching 1000hp like the new entrants.
A bit of variety would be great.


We seem to be missing some lines from Sergio and not reading between them :

November 4 - Marchionne - on pulling out of F1

"Like a million bucks, because I'd be working on an alternative strategy to try and replace it. A more rational one, too." - Somehow most news organisations got hung up on - 'Like a million bucks' and 'Sandbox' - key take away. 'An alternative strategy'

29 November - Toto Wolff - "If we do not see what Formula 1 stands for, then we have to ask ourselves the difficult question: not if but where do we want to operate in motor sport at the highest level?"

3 December - Marchionne - "The heart of Ferrari is technical development. If the direction is not this, then Ferrari will find other contexts to demonstrate its skill on track – and maybe at that time we will also be with Sauber." - Missing also from the above article? But key - that's three teams already + Haas + FI + Renault Teams only missing. Where there's fire? The breakaway threat is coming to force Liberty to tow the line.

What will end up being:

Ferrari will get their way as will Mercedes (sorry but that's just a fact) - Liberty are not foolish but to overnight half F's value - their creditors will come a knocking (Mr.E steps in buys it back on the cheap?).

Ferrari and Merc don't want to start a rival series - they don't want to spend the money or have it or the expertise. But who could? Mr.E ? hmmmmm.

F1 will continue with Ferrari after 2020 but don't kid yourself. They'll get their way. Because if there is no Ferrari certain players will opt out - Tracks/Promoters, Rolex, Heineken. It's critically important to the intrinsic value of the business. The only one blustering is Liberty - most to lose.


Good post! I had missed the Toto comment. I wonder why the press is focussing exclusively on Marchionne's comments, when the other heavyweights are lined up right there with him...


@ Redline.....because it has now become a routine worthy of Fred and Ginger. One rarely moves without the other in a mirror image these days. The timing difference is there to add weight to the 'thoughtful' response and also to try and avoid the very issue of collaboration, seemingly too close for comfort. As for the emphasis on Cardiman's comments i do see it as realistic simply because Mercedes leaving F1 is only a secondary blip to that of Ferrari, in the popular heritage stakes.As a headline which would have the greatest impact. 'Mercedes leaves F1' or 'Ferrari leave F1.'I know what my reaction would be.....


Happy to have Alfa back in F1 (even if only as a sponsor) but getting unhappy about the whole "B Team" situation.

If Teams want to finance B Teams and Junior drivers then that's great. Good for them. But consign these B Teams to F2 where they belong.
No F1 team-owner should be allowed to have (or be perceived to have) any control over any other team or over any other team's driver/s.

When we see an Alfa (Ferrari contracted) driver giving a tow to a A Team Ferrari driver : will that be okay ?
When we see an Alfa driver pulling out of the way for a Ferrari driver even before the blue flags are flashing : will that be okay ?

Is it allowed for the owner of Manchester United to have one his companies become primary sponsor of, say, Liverpool ? Or are there laws in place to stop such conflicts of interest from occurring ?


This rebadging of Sauber is not going to add anything exciting to F1. We need new teams with money of their own to splash around, ie Audi, BMW, Porsche, Jaguar etc.


Trouble is the factory teams can and will just pull out if the going gets too tough. BMW, Jaguar (ford) Toyota all have a recent record of this. The sport does not need more entrants who will push smaller teams into bankruptcy and then bale out.


I'm tired of Marchionne's rhetoric.
Let him pull Ferrari out. Sure Ferrari is a great team and they would be missed; but the idea that they can push the new owners of the sport wherever they like is a wrong; I dont expect that to happen.
Ferrari will not leave F1, wouldn't it be easier if they just shut up and got on with building the car?


@ Kiwi G...If you had been the recipient of $100million per year for starting money and you were told that in all likelihood you were going to lose that, what would you do? Giggle and lie down with your legs in the air ? Whether or not they are entitled to it is not the point. It's a different matter altogether as it reduces, by a substantial amount, funds flowing to the bottom line, where corporations either live or die.


James - Any update on Haas-Maserati deal? Read SM is keen to bring in the brand as well to F1.


I thought Ferrari had the Alfa Romeo logo on it for the last couple of seasons? So how can this be Alfa returning?

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