MARANELLO // Ferrari are to consider withdrawing from Formula One if the FIA pursue their aim of a standardised engine. Motorsport's world governing body dropped a bombshell 10 days ago when they opened a tender process to standardise both engines and transmissions from 2010 through to 2013.
It is part of the FIA president Max Mosley's cost-cutting drive. However, the ramifications of such a decision were always going to be far reaching. Following a meeting of Ferrari's board of directors in Maranello on Monday, the most famous brand in the sport could walk away if Mosley and the FIA do not alter their plans. A Ferrari statement said: "The board of directors examined the proposed changes to Formula One regulations in light of the current global economic crisis.
"Whilst reiterating its wholehearted commitment to a substantial and needed reduction in costs in Formula One, starting with propulsion, the board expressed strong concerns regarding plans to standardise engines. "It felt such a move would detract from the entire raison d'etre of a sport with which Ferrari has been involved continuously since 1950, a raison d'etre based principally on competition and technological development.
"The board expressed the opinion that should these key elements be diminished, it would have to re-evaluate, with its partners, the viability of continuing its presence in the sport." Toyota Motorsport president John Howett has echoed Ferrari's sentiments on the proposed new developments for the future of the sport. "I don't think any of the manufacturers want a homogenised engine," said Howett. "The outcome depends partially on the FIA and the World Motor Sport Council, and whether they have a mind to press through with the idea.
"If it is forced through, then it [quitting] is not a decision we will take here [Toyota F1's base in Cologne]. "It will be taken by the board in Japan, but they want a degree of differentiation between teams." Mercedes, Honda, Renault and BMW are the other four car manufacturers currently involved in Formula One, and it is understood they are of the same mind on the issue. The FIA appear intent on pushing through with their plans as they confirmed the tender process ends on Nov 7 with regard to bids for engines and transmissions in combination, and bids for the supply of engines alone.
A minimum of three further weeks is to be given to those companies considering transmission-only bids. It is understood none of the 10 teams involved in the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) have made a bid, or are likely to bid. FOTA are to hold a further meeting in relation to implementing cost-cutting measures during the course of this weekend's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.
* PA Sport