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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ferrari threaten to quit F1

Ferrari has warned that they could quit formula one if the sport's governing body continues with its plans to slash costs. The famous Italian team, which has been in formula one since its inauguration in 1950, sent a firm signal to the FIA president, Max Mosley, that his idea of introducing so-called standard engines into the sport would take away their raison d'être for competing in motor racing.

Last week the Ferrari team sporting director, Stefano Domenicali, and Toyota's formula one vice-president, John Howett, met Mosley to discuss the issue of cost-cutting, which would also help the smaller teams survive. But the issue of standard engines has pushed them too far. Ferrari, in a statement released following a board meeting on Monday, said they "fully agreed with the need for a substantial and necessary reduction of costs".

But the Italian firm said it had "major reservations" over any proposals that would lead to teams using the same engines: "It would deprive formula one of its whole reason for existing, which is based on competition and technological development. If these elements were to become obsolete, our administrative council [board] reserves the right, after consultation with its partners, to evaluate whether we remain committed to the discipline [of formula one]."

· Standard engines part of Mosley's cost-cutting exercise
· Ferrari believe a move to standardised engines would negate their reason for existing in formula one


Ferrari have been historically closely aligned with the FIA and the sport's commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, and it will not have escaped Mosley's attention that they are one of the few formula one teams who have, in the past, successfully forced the governing body to back down from rule changes with which they disapproved. At the end of 1986 Ferrari forced the FIA to abandon plans to ban V12 engines in favour of V10s.

Howett echoed Ferrari's sentiments yesterday, and said any decision to quit would be down to the company's board in Japan. "I don't think any of the manufacturers want a homogenised engine," said Howett. Mercedes, Honda, Renault and BMW are the other four manufacturers currently involved in formula one, and it is understood they are of the same mind.

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