Seeing red - Ferrari pulling out of F1?

Ferrari's 125S at the 1941 Rome Grand Prix, The longest-running manufacturer in the sport of Formula 1 has had enough.

Ferrari's board has apparently jacked up at the most recent mess made by the FIA at the World Motor Sport Council on April 29. It was announced that two sets of rules will be in play: one for the deep-pocket manufacturers, and another for teams participating in a 'cost cap' style category with a 40 million euro financial ceiling, intended to lure a 26-car manufacturer grid back into the sport (see below for the summary of FIA/WMSC decisions).

This season's downforce debacle, which was some of Ferrari's opponents loophole the aero rules and create more efficient diffusers, and the failed changing of the F1 scoring rules has left the Prancing Pony furious, and it would seem the latest decisions to alter the championship again in 2010 are the last straw for Ferrari. The manufacturer's disgust was made clear in a release today:

"The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula 1 in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari's uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years - the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 - would come to a close.

"The Board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams. The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula 1 over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.

"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA's endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula 1 are the priorities for the future. If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship."

Apparently, Ferrari's very real bluff has nothing to do with financials. The manufacturer also announced a first quarter profit of 54 million euro, down just five million euro despite the current global financial crisis.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

World Motor Sport Council 30/04/2009
 
An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Paris on 29 April 2009. The following decisions were taken:

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Applications to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship are to be submitted to the FIA during the period 22-29 May 2009. Teams must state in their application whether they wish to compete under cost-cap regulations.

The maximum number of cars permitted to enter the Championship has been increased to 26, two being entered by each competitor.

The FIA will publish the list of cars and drivers accepted on 12 June 2009, having first notified unsuccessful applicants.

Cost Cap Regulations

From 2010, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.

The cost cap for 2010 will be £40m per annum*. This figure will cover all team expenditure except:

Marketing and hospitality;
 
Remuneration for test or race drivers, including any young driver programmes;
Fines or penalties imposed by the FIA;
Engine costs (for 2010 only);

Any expenditure which the team can demonstrate has no influence on its performance in the Championship;
 
Dividends (including any tax thereon) paid from profits relating to participation in the Championship.
 
* For the purposes of these Regulations, the financial year is 1 January to 31 December.

A new Costs Commission is being set up to monitor and enforce these cost-cap financial regulations. The Costs Commission will consist of a Chairman and two other Commissioners, appointed by the WMSC for terms of three years.

One Commissioner should be a finance expert and the other should have high level experience in motor sport. The Chairman should have appropriate experience and standing in motor sport or sports governance. All members of the Costs Commission shall be independent of all teams.

In addition to the payments which it already makes to the top ten teams in the Championship, Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder, has agreed to offer participation fees and expenses to the new teams. This includes an annual payment of US$10 million to each team plus free transportation of two chassis and freight up to 10,000 kg in weight (not including the two chassis) as well as 20 air tickets (economy class) for each round trip for events held outside Europe.

To be eligible for this, each new team must qualify as a "Constructor" and demonstrate that it has the necessary facilities, financial resources and technical competence to compete effectively in Formula One.

To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom.

The principal technical freedoms allowed are:
1. Movable wings, front and rear.
2. An engine which is not subject to a rev limit.

The teams will also be allowed unlimited out-of-season track testing with no restrictions on the scale and speed of wind tunnel testing.

Changes applicable to all teams

It was confirmed that from 2010, refuelling during a race will be forbidden in order to save the costs of transporting refuelling equipment and increase the incentive for engine builders to improve fuel economy (to save weight).

It was also confirmed that tyre blankets will be banned and that the ban on other tyre-heating devices will be maintained.

Full details plus information on further amendments to the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations will be available shortly on www.fia.com.

By exception, if supported by the Safety Commission, the FIA WMSC may approve the issue of the Formula One Super Licence to persons judged by the Council to have met the intent of the qualification process.

Sign up here to receive the latest round-up of Wheels news, reviews and video highlights straight to your inbox each week.

Want free access to 5 years of Wheels archive content? Sign up now!