Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes Ferrari can survive without grand prix racing, now that it under the leadership of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Ferrari threatened to pull out of F1 last year after disagreeing with sport’s rulemakers regarding proposed engine regulations for 2021.
While the Italian sportscar brand has issued similar threats in the past, it was the first time the company warned that it could walk out of the sport after being taken over by Marchionne.
Ecclestone, who was the de facto boss of F1 for nearly half a century, says the sport should pay heed to Ferrari’s latest exit threat as business-centric Marchionne’s way of running the brand is in contrast to his predecessor Luca di Montezemolo.
“If it had been [ex-Ferrari chairman] Luca di Montezemolo, you would not have to take it so seriously. Motorsport was Luca’s life,” Ecclestone told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“Sergio can live without Formula 1. He is only interested in the business. The most important thing for him is that he can offer the shareholders a good business result.
“If Marchionne does not like the path Formula 1 takes, then he will stop. I'm afraid Ferrari could live without Formula 1 - not the other way around.”
Ferrari is tied to F1 until 2020 under current contracts, but is free to leave the sport thereafter - without incurring any financial penalty.
by Rachit Thukral