Ferrari Set to Leave Formula One, Italian Team Demands Change: Reports

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By Christine Jane Caparras | June 17, 2014 5:50 PM EST

The Scuderi Ferrari Formula One Team has been one of the most prominent names in motorsports and the most successful in Formula one history. Legendary seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher won five out of his seven titles with the Italian team. Despite all the success and prominence, rumors have come out that Ferrari are on the brink of leaving Formula One. Some reports are based on an interview with Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo.

REUTERS
Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain waves as he arrives at the third practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix in Monaco May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

"Formula One isn't working, It's declining because the FIA [Federation International d'Automobile] have forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency, come on." said Montezzemolo.

The rumors also come at the wake of Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso's guest appearance and participation at the Le Mans 24 hour race which raised speculation that Ferrari would be changing racing disciplines.

The team strongly believes that the FIA and Formula one have taken a turn for the worst in recent years and are very unsatisfied with the way things are going. The question is, are there enough reasons to leave the sport for good?

Many new rules have been implemented in an effort to make F1 more environmentally-friendly and more cost-efficient for participating teams. Restrictions have been put in place on the number of engines, tires and other technical resources.

Engine development throughout the season has also been forbidden therefore leaving teams unable to make changes and catch up on their opponents on a race=by-race basis as they have done in the past. This has led to an almost complete dominance of the Mercedes team this season with little chance for other competitors to make substantial improvements and catch up.

"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." explained a frustrated Montezzemolo.

If this departure from Formula One happens, it will be a big blow to the sport with Ferrari being a constant crowd-drawer on the grid for over half a century.

A statement on Ferrari's official website however, show that the team is still working giving Formula One a chance but they are going to be pro-active about it.

The announcement stated that Montezzemolo has sent a formal letter to Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone calling for change.

"It is not an ultimatum, nor a threat, but a proposal to call together all the key players in the sport to sit down around a table and come up with new ideas that will see Formula 1 continue to set the benchmark in motorsport, on level terms with global events such as the Olympics and the football World Cup." read the statement.

The team is calling for a reestablishment of the key values of the sport. They believe that the problem can be fixed with an intervention that includes all the key players in the sport, not just the organizers and the teams but also the media, sponsors and other high-end players who had not been involved in decision-making before.

The last few lines of the statement reiterated the importance of putting on a show and thinking of the audience and the entertainment value of the race weekends. Ferrari calls for a proper balance of all the elements needed to make the racing competitive but also still entertaining.

"Formula 1 has to be based on technical innovation, research and development, but this must all be done with sustainable costs and above all, must be moved forward as part of a product that can put on a show. Because it is the show that draws in the commercial partners, the sponsors and, above all, the fans, who are the real end users of the Formula 1 product. Finding the right mix of these ingredients will be vital for the sustainability and the future success of our much-loved sport."

Read the full statement in the Official Scuderia Ferrari Web site.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Robert Pratta)
Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain waves as he arrives at the third practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix in Monaco May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Pratta
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