F1 chief responds to Ferrari’s Nascar claims

Formula One chief executive Chase Carey has hit back at claims from Ferrari concerning increasing standardisation in the motor racing series, stating that its new owners have no intention of modelling F1 on US stock car series Nascar.

Chase Carey (Getty Images)

Sergio Marchionne, chairman and chief executive of Ferrari, last week warned that the iconic Italian marque could leave F1 if it did not like the new direction that the sport takes, stating that the company does not “want to play Nascar globally”.

Formula One stakeholders last month put forward a “roadmap” for simpler, cheaper and noisier engines from the 2021 season, as part of efforts to attract new manufacturers to the championship. In the presence of International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt, representatives from the FIA, F1’s new commercial rights holder Liberty Media; current power unit suppliers Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Renault and Honda and potential future manufacturer representatives met in Paris to discuss regulations for the 2021 power unit.

The FIA said the proposals were developed jointly by motorsport’s world governing body and by F1 using data and input from teams, power unit suppliers and outside experts. It added that the overall framework for the 2021 power unit definition will be in place and published by the FIA at the end of this year.

The roadmap detailed by the FIA came with nine key points. These included retaining the current 1.6-litre, V6 turbo hybrid formula but with a 3,000rpm higher engine running speed range to improve the sound. Prescriptive internal design parameters have also been proposed to restrict development costs and discourage extreme designs and running conditions.

F1 is committed to running the current 1.6-litre six-cylinder turbo hybrid power units until 2020, meaning a new power unit configuration can be introduced from 2021. Formula One is currently in the midst of discussions regarding major reform for the sport and Liberty has long stated its goal to even out the playing field on the grid.

Speaking during a conference call for Liberty Media’s third quarter financial results, Carey (pictured) said: “Actually I don’t think we have a differing view to Ferrari. I’m not trying to be derogatory towards Nascar, but we don’t plan to be Nascar either.

“We don’t want to standardise the cars and don’t want 20 identical cars going round the track. The only difference is the driver. We want all the teams to be able to create cars that are unique to them – unique engines to them, unique bodies to them.”

The reform proposals include plans to even out the distribution of revenue in the sport, a move that would impact on Ferrari’s favourable position bestowed upon it as a historic part of Formula One.

Carey added: “We want teams to compete to win, but we want all the teams to have a chance. It’s never going to be equal and there are going to be favourites that evolve, but over time we want the teams to feel they all have a fighting chance.

“Sport is built on the unexpected, so we do want a sport that can have the unexpected. You need competition, the unknown and great finishes. You need great stories and great dramas. We’ve got to create that.”

Source: Sportbusiness International