The big boss of sport’s most iconic and well supported team, Ferrari, has declared that currently Formula 1 – with it’s all new ‘greener’ V6 turbo engines – is not an attractive proposition for fans and perhaps an alternative for the legendary marque is Le Mans style endurance racing.
With Fernando Alonso at Le Mans to flag off the famous 24 hour endurance race, reports emerged which suggested the Maranello marque might be planning a prototype sports car project.
But President Luca di Montezemolo, whose dissatisfaction of the new era rules is well known, said that a Le Mans project would mean the end of Ferrari’s long association with Formula 1.
Montezemolo told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s declining because the FIA have forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency, come on.”
A frustrated Montezemolo complained, “And we cannot touch the engine? People watch racing to be entertained. No one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It’s sport, yes, but also a show.”
With regards to reports doing the rounds that the Maranello outfit is considering a foray into endurance racing, including Le Mans, Montezemolo said, “Of course, we cannot do sports car racing and Formula 1. It’s not possible.”
The Wall Street Journal added that during the interview Montezemolo suggested that his company could instead of Formula 1 “pursue endurance racing of the type practiced at Le Mans, perhaps as soon as 2020.”
In the past Ferrari [as a works team] competed at the top levels of sportscar racing from 1947 to 1973, winning Le Mans nine times, but departed the sportscar scene in 1973, with founder Enzo Ferrari deciding to concentrate resources on F1.
Ferrari has been a continuous presence on the grand prix grid for more than a half-century.
In the aftermath of the Wall Street Journal report, on their website Ferrari claimed that they could in fact can juggle both Le Mans and Formula 1 programmes, “Some elements of the media have suggested Ferrari would quit Formula 1 to concentrate on the Le Mans 24 Hours and Endurance racing.”
“This is a bit of a stretch based on President Luca di Montezemolo reiterating that Formula 1 needs to evolve and renew itself, while also admitting that there is a unique attraction to the [Le Mans] 24 hour race.
“To say that after 2020, Ferrari could quit Formula 1 to concentrate on Le Mans and the [World] Endurance Championship takes his words to extremes. Plus of course, there’s nothing to stop Ferrari upping the ante and competing in both disciplines. So it’s just pure speculation.” concluded the report on the Ferrari website. (GP247-GMM)