Ferrari Blames 'War Against Big Car Manufacturers' for Exits

Negative CamberCorrespondent INovember 4, 2009

We may have heard the first shot in the next battle for Formula One.

While others are expressing “regret” over Toyota’s exit—and that includes the official FOTA response—Ferrari is not holding back on its response today.

In the Toyota exit news, Maranello sees the eventual “death” of all the teams, and by extension, Formula One, if there is not serious changes.

And Ferrari is not buying the “economic downturn” argument one bit.

The team presents this argument politely enough, with an extended reference to Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,” but that does not mask the team’s point: F1 is slowly being killed off.

Here it is, in full :

We want a different closing chapter

Maranello, 4 November 2009 – It seems like a parody of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians”, published in England for the first time in the year 1939, but reality is much more serious. Formula 1 continues loosing important parts: over the last 12 months Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and this morning Toyota announced their retirements. In exchange, if one could call it that, Manor, Lotus (because of the team of Colin Chapman, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, to name a few, there is hardly more than the name), USF1 and Campos Meta arrived. You might say “same-same”, because it is enough if there are participants. But that’s not entirely true and then we’ve got to see if next year we’ll be really as many in Bahrain for the first starting grid of the 2010 season and how many will make it to the end of the season.

In reality the steady trickle of desertion is more the result of a war against the big car manufacturers by those who managed the sport, than the effects of the economical that affected Formula 1 over the last years. In Christie’s detective novel the guilty person is only discovered when everybody else is dead, one after the other. Do we want to wait until this happens or should we write Formula 1’s book with a different closing chapter?

Given that the FIA has a new president in Jean Todt—a person we all link naturally with Ferrari but who all know left Maranello under poor terms—this statement is first and foremost directed at him. Max Mosley’s legacy has to be in the background, as does Bernie Ecclestone’s continued management of FOM.

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I had been wondering if the muted reaction to the Bridgestone announcement that it, too, was leaving the sport was because everyone knew this news about Toyota was coming within a day. I suspect that might be the case.

No matter what, any thought of it being a quiet offseason is gone. We might be back close to the rancor of June, when FOTA threatened to pull out of F1 and start its own series.

Surely that threat looms, even with the Concorde Agreement?

We will have to see what Bernie and Todt’s reactions are. And whether other manufacturers join Ferrari — there was not much sign of that in the FOTA release.

Your thoughts? Are you back worrying about the future of the sport? Or is Ferrari just puffing out its chest?

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