Its inconceivable isn't it? In many ways, Ferrari is F1; the prestigious team to ever compete in the championship; the oldest team to compete in the championship and the most successful F1 team of all time.
Yet, come 2010, it could well be 'arrivederci' from the boys in Maranello.
Could it really happen? Well from the vibes coming from Luca di Montezemolo and his fellow board members really do seem to be a serious, genuine threat that they really could pull the plug on their ultra-successful operation.
You can't get more blunt than "If the regulations for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter cars in the next Formula 1 world championship."
What could be key however from that statement its "does not intend." Of course, their are a few weeks to go before the official deadline for 2010 entries to be formalised, but with the new budget cap and the new "two-tier" being so universally disliked, its surely only a matter of time before Max Mosley has to reconsider his proposal.
The "two-tier" part of the proposal does to me seem to be the major sticking point. It really would make a mockery of the championship, with almost two completely different formulae racing round circuits across the globe every fortnight.
Of course, this helps teams such as Force India, Brawn GP, and Williams who could easily adapt to low-budget formulae, but if it results in teams like McLaren, Toyota, and BMW being "forced" to race around at the back for more money as they would have great difficulty in being able to adapt to the new budget cap in such a short amount of time; they'd be no point in them racing.
Whats more to consider, is that the best drivers in F1 always end up racing for the best teams.
The best drivers are always the best paid, some as much as £20-30million a year, so how on earth would teams like Brawn GP be able to afford partnering a Button with an Alonso, or Force India partnering a Massa with a Hamilton? They can't (unless the drivers take substantial pay-cuts).
Surely therefore we will not only see a vast withdrawal of teams, but also the departure of some of the worlds best drivers, who, a) wouldn't want to race around at the back, and b) couldn't be employed by the new "front runners" as their pay packets would be out of their reach.
Returning to Ferrari though; if they were to pull out, it would see the loss of the greatest team to ever enter the sport.
The team that for the best part in the 1980s and early 1990s was a laughing stock, creating cars that would be brilliant over one lap, and then explode into a million pieces the next, would be consigned to the history books and the nostalgic fan.
The team that Schumacher, Ascari, Villeneuve, Prost, Lauda, Mansell, Pironi, and Scheckter have raced for, would be gone. The team with 15 constructors championship and 16 driver championships would be no more. It would be like Manchester United or Real Madrid pulling the plug on their football teams.
Are they right to be so against a budget cap? No, F1 has become to expensive and it does need to be cut back. But are they right to be against the 'two-tier' solution? Yes, of course they are. Surely the FIA can consider a new approach?
Maybe stagnant the budget cap over the next few years, so teams can adapt to the new system rather than chop and change everything in little over a year.
Maybe teams that stay within the budget cap could be allowed to run a third driver on a Friday or teams who go over the budget cap could have their out of season and in season testing severely limited.
ormI'm not a particular Ferrari fan myself, but even so, Formula One must have Ferrari competing in it. The "two-tier" system would make a mockery of the F1 brand. But even so, will Ferrari go ahead with their threat? Surely not...