Arrivabene refuses to make comment over Ferrari F1 future

Bob Fernley of Force India (left), Maurizio Arrivabene of Ferrari (center), and Franz Tost of Toro Rosso (right) during the Friday Team Bosses Press Conference in Shanghai.

Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has remained completely silent over Ferrari’s perspective on future Formula 1 regulations, after multiple journalists raised the issue during the Chinese Grand Prix Friday Press Conference.

The Ferrari boss was asked on five separate occasions about Ferrari’s reaction to Liberty Media’s presentation in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which outlined the sports future ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 season.

During all five questions, Arrivabene’s answers were reserved and uninformative, as he insisted that it was a matter for his CEO, Sergio Marchionne, to deal with. The questions mainly centered around a potential budget cap to curve the high operating costs. It was confirmed by an F1 press release that this was one of the proposals put forward in the meeting.

Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari on-track during practice for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

When Liberty Media first suggested a budget cap during a Strategy Group meeting in November last year, Ferrari’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, reportedly told Italian Media that Ferrari “will not play” if Formula 1’s future leaned toward a budget cap.

In theory, the team do not support a budget cap as this would damage Ferrari’s competitive advantage, given their pockets are signficantly deeper than privateers such as Williams and Force India.

“I was not commenting on the meeting [in Bahrain] that we have,” Arrivabene said in today’s press conference. He was asked if Ferrari were collectively satisfied with the proposals put forward by Liberty Media, but Arrivabene was quick to comment that the CEO, Sergio Marchionne, “is the one that has the responsibility.”

Later, another journalist prompted Arrivabene to comment, and tried to coax the Ferrari Team Principal into an answer by saying “it’s difficult to comment.” However, Arrivabene was quick to shut the Journalist’s tactic down, stating “it’s not difficult to make a comment”, because, “it’s simply not my job.”

The questions didn’t stop there; another journalist attempted to ask Arrivabene about Ferrari’s historic ability to veto F1 management decisions, to which the Ferrari Team Principal cryptically replied, “We’ll let you know as soon as we go deeper into the conversations.

If Ferrari’s threats of quitting Formula 1 are indeed true; the sport risks never seeing this historic logo again.

The last question put to Arrivabene asked if he felt all the changes to Formula 1’s regulations should be made at once. However, his response failed to properly answer the question.

“Soon we will find an agreement,” he said, but he crucially added onto the end, “if any” – which was an undeniably sly quip about Ferrari’s continued intentions to walk away from Formula 1 should they disagree with the new direction taken by Liberty Media.

Just as notably, Arrivabene also revealed that Liberty Media have set a deadline in May for the final decision on 2021 engine regulations. In effect, only after this date will Ferrari’s future in Formula 1 become more clear.

The next few months will be crucial to see just how serious Ferrari’s threats of quitting Formula 1 actually are.


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Steven Walton is an 18-year-old Journalism Student at the Ara Institute of Canterbury. He previously attended St Andrew's College in Christchurch, where he excelled at History and Classical Studies. Steven is the Editor-in-Chief at Green Flag F1 and spends most of his days living, breathing, and immersing in the Formula 1 world.

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