Ask any observer of Formula 1 who is the most recognisable team in the sport and the answer most often would be Ferrari.
The 'prancing horse' is the only team racing from the inaugural F1 season in 1950 and the Italian manufacturer has legions of fans all over the world.
That is why the latest warning by the chairman of the team will send shockwaves through the sport.
In his pre-Christmas address, Sergio Marchionne said that a divorce from the sport is on the cards by 2020 unless F1 chiefs change their minds in relation to some of the rules that will be implemented.
The proposed rules include:
- The 2021 power unit to be a 1.6 Litre, V6 Turbo Hybrid
- 3000rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound
- Single turbo with dimensional constraints and weight limits
- Intention to investigate tighter fuel regulations and limits on the number of fuels used.
Marchionne has specifically criticised the F1 sporting chief (and former Ferrari technical boss) Ross Brawn for formulating rules which go against the 'DNA of Formula 1.'
Ferrari have a particular issue with the plans to simplify engine technology and introduce some standard parts from 2021.
"We are not bluffing and I would not try to test the theory," Marchionne said, as per Sky Sports.
"If they continue on the path of wanting to turn F1 into NASCAR, with cars all the same, there could be a divorce. If they decide to make us all the same we will go in three seconds, but that's not what we want."
Marchionne also floated the idea of Ferrari racing in an alternate championship if the proposed rules are implemented, however, it remains an unwanted last resort.
Ferrari are not alone in their concern over the changes, with Mercedes and Renault also highly critical.
More discussions are set to take place in the new year, but Marchionne has some other ideas which should take precedence.
"You could work more on the show, perhaps a better choice of circuits, using more DRS, generating more uncertainty, unpredictability and overtaking."
While Ferrari undoubtedly have their own interests at heart when disputing the proposed changes, Marchionne certainly has a point when it comes to the spectacle of the sport.
F1 chiefs face a difficult balancing act to keep everyone happy, but one thing is certain, the sport will not be the same without Ferrari.
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