Toto Wolff warns Formula 1 chiefs against provoking Sergio Marchionne

  • Sayan Das

It’s the warning that is almost threatening to overshadow the halo device debate with the new season getting ever closer.

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has alerted Formula One bosses on numerous occasions that if future racing rules do not suit his business he would be prepared to take the Italian manufacturers out of the sport.

Recognised as one of the most historically prominent teams in F1, Ferrari’s absence could hugely impact the racing scene. 

While fans are no strangers to seeing similar tactics used by the Italian team in the past to get their own way, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes that there might actually be some substance to Marchionne’s latest threat. 

With Mercedes working closely with Ferrari on setting new F1 regulations that suit manufacturers, Wolff has an insight and doesn’t think Marchionne’s patience should be tested.

“Don’t provoke Sergio Marchionne,” said Wolff, as per Motorsport. “I think that F1 needs Ferrari more than Ferrari needs F1.

“And he has an understanding and a vision of what the DNA in F1 needs to represent for Ferrari, and as he is a no nonsense guy.

“If he doesn’t see the value for his brand he is going to call it a day. Very easy. With no regret. So, you better not mess with him.”

Those remarks came shortly after comments made by FIA president Jean Todt suggesting that Ferrari leaving could be a possibility and suggested they should lose a long-standing veto over rule changes. 

Todt said: “The veto was at the time of Enzo Ferrari, and he was isolated in Maranello. That was the only team supplying engine and chassis against some other teams that were all powered by Ford.

“So at this time, it was decided that being away from what is called the silicon valley of motorsport, they needed to have a protection. That is the story about the veto.

“But personally, I feel now I am not in favour of that. Times have changed.”

Clearly, Todt feels the need for change as he believes that Ferrari’s control over F1 might be an outdated concept. 

With the start of the racing season approaching, the executives will want to iron any tensions out sooner rather than later. 

The F1 season kicks off with the Australian GP on March 25. 

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