A dialogue has started between Scuderia Ferrari and Liberty Media to reach decisions on Formula 1 rules and regulations that will keep Ferrari from exiting the racing series come 2021, Racer reports. Last month, Ferrari Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari might withdraw from Formula 1 – a motorsport series that the brand has participated in since 1950 – if Liberty Media followed through with its proposed rule changes for 2021.
Ferrari has threatened to leave the series before, but in 67 years, the Italian marque has never actually pulled out. Still, former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone warns that the Italian marque isn’t bluffing.
“The dialogue [with Liberty Media] has started and will continue to evolve,” Marchionne says. “We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari. [But] the threat of Ferrari leaving Formula 1 is serious… We have to find a solution which is good for the sport, but we also have to be clear on the things we can’t back down on.”
Ferrari’s commitment to possibly severing ties with Formula 1 if need be was called into question when it was announced that the company had struck a new partnership with Switzerland’s Sauber F1 Team. Under the new deal, Sauber has been rebranded “Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team“, and will continue to use Ferrari-supplied Formula 1 engines.
But according to Marchionne, “the agreement with Sauber expires in 2020-2021, right when Ferrari could leave.” In other words, it doesn’t impede Scuderia Ferrari’s ability to quit the motorsport, should Liberty Media push ahead with its proposed rule changes.