In case you missed it Ferrari issued their now once a decade threat to quit Formula 1. If you are a fan of the sport then you undoubtedly know Ferrari is the spoiled brat of F1. They have had things pretty much all their own way since the sport's inception. Enter Formula 1's new overlords Liberty Media. Liberty has some fairly bold plans for the future of the sport but rising to the top is a change in the Ferrari status quo.
This most recent quit threat from Ferrari stems from the proposed 2021 engine regulations which sees very little change in the current regulations. There is a distinct divide among the teams in terms of the proposal. The small teams who have to purchase engines like the idea and why wouldn't they this is aimed to lower engine cost. The big teams, teams that actually build the engines are not in favor of the proposed regulations. The loudest among them is Ferrari. This may have been the tipping point but it is far from Ferrari's only reason to quit the sport.
Liberty has made it clear the days of Ferrari's special treatment are coming to an end. For years Ferrari has had to risk very little while racing in Formula 1. Ferrari enjoys special veto power over regulation changes. Liberty aims to put an end to all of it. Ferrari understandably does not want to give up this special status so they threaten to quit. Thus begins the great Liberty v. Ferrari stare down.
What happens from here is anyone's guess. Ferrari has issued quit threats countless times throughout their history. The difference here is they appear to be facing someone who is willing to let Ferrari walk. Liberty shows no indication that they are willing to cave to the boys in red. This is a high stakes game of chicken that leaves many wondering, "Could Formula 1 survive without Ferrari?"
Ferrari is synonymous with motorsport, specifically Formula 1 as fans it is difficult for us to imagine the pinnacle of motorsport without Ferrari. Like it or not, their exit from F1 would send shock waves throughout the sport but the sport will survive. Let's take a look back at those engine regulations that sent Ferrari over the edge. They effectively use the same formula as is used today only with a higher redline (for more noise) and the removal of the MGU-H. The latter designed to reduce complication and cost. Reducing cost and complexity benefits the existing smaller teams meaning their limited budget can be spent elsewhere in development. It also entices teams to consider joining Formula 1 who may not have otherwise.
Despite their woeful performance McLaren and Honda are successful organizations, full of highly inelegant individuals and their collective failure to make the Honda power unit competitive serves massive warning to any new team looking to enter the sport. Millions have been spent just to settle for points, let alone zero chance at victory. Outside manufacturers looking at this and become extremely wary of entry into F1.
Let us not forget that in addition to the current four engine suppliers (Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda) Porsche and Aston Martin were also a part of the future engine regulation discussions. Their inclusion would be a massive win for F1 as a whole and their input can not be dismissed.
How does this all play into a potential Ferrari exit? I see it as a fairly simple math equation, Porsche + Aston Martin = Ferrari. Simply put, if we get Porsche and Aston into Formula 1 and it only costs us Ferrari I consider that a win for F1. Formula 1 has survived the loss of major teams from their history. Lotus was a major part of F1 in the early days. Where is Lotus now and yet F1 survived. Many other major teams from F1's past are no longer with us and the sport survived. Ferrari is by far the biggest name the sport has ever had and their loss would be a major blow but the sport would survive. Especially if it means the inclusion of Porsche and Aston Martin.
Ferrari's exit from F1 would hurt Ferrari more than it would hurt F1. Ferrari's special status among F1 teams is well documented and apart from the most die hard Tifosi, most will look at Ferrari as the spoiled brats that they are. Things didn't go exactly their way so they are storming off in a huff. Formula 1 will move on and with a better on track product buzz surrounding the sport would only increase. It probably wouldn't take long for Ferrari to come back, hat in hand, and ask to be able to play again.
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