An interesting article at grandprix.com, The rattling of sabres…

F1 can survive Ferrari loss

“The sport could survive without Ferrari,” the FT quoted FIA President Max Mosley as saying.

Ferrari last fight with FIA

So Mosley has now said his piece. And we must wait to see the reaction from Ferrari. The team has been to the brink with the FIA before, notably in the mid 1980s when Enzo Ferrari and Jean-Marie Balestre (the then head of the sporting arm of the FIA) got into a fight over the future engine rules. In July 1985 Ferrari threatened to withdraw from F1 and switch to Indycar racing. To push the point Enzo Ferrari sent his sporting director Marco Piccinini to visit an Indycar race at Michigan. Balestre said he would not be swayed by Ferrari threats. A month later Indycar team owner Jim Trueman and his crew chief Steve Horne visited Maranello and in the months that followed the Italian team recruited a design team and built a Ferrari Indycar. This was completed by July 1987 by which time the two parties had come to their senses and hammered out a suitable compromise.

Ferrari legend

The FIA knows that Ferrari is a much stronger brand than F1. The Prancing Horse is far more evocative than the rather pedestrian F1 logo. Ferrari is by far the most popular team in F1. McLaren attracts fans with its glitzy technology, Williams gets support because of the passion of its owners, Minardi was very popular because of its underdog status but the only team that fans go wild for is Ferrari – and it does not matter who is driving. It is not only red-blooded Italians who follow Ferrari. It has the same following all over the world. Why? Because Ferrari has a great heritage in competition. It is a team of legend. The Ferrari brand relies not on the fact that rich people by the road cars it builds – that is true of many companies – but rather because there is a mystique about Ferrari which people want a part of. Ferrari has long represented Italian pride and style, the red cars being a symbol of all that Italy does well.

Both parties need each other

The threat to depart and the FIA’s stance that Ferrari is not that important are both charades. Yes, the sport would survive without Ferrari and Ferrari would survive without F1, but both would be poorer if that were the case. All the talk is therefore not to be taken too seriously.

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