Ferrari to Indycar? Marchionne: “Why not?”

Plenty of sabre rattling is occurring between FIA president Jean Todt and Ferrari’s Sergio Marchionne during the Geneva Motor show.

Ferrari president is threatening to withdraw his racing team from Formula One, again. And again the US series of Indycar has been mooted as a possible destination.

“It Ferrari leaves, it will be their choice. They can do what they want,” says Todt.

Quite how Ferrari think that a spec series based in the USA will be able to accommodate Ferrari’s requirements is anyone’s guess, but lets not allow reality to get in the way of a good yarn.

With the FIA’s intention to withdraw Ferrari’s traditional veto, along with Liberty Media’s proposed budget cap, Ferrari are feeling the heat.

“I will do everything I can to protect and protect Ferrari’s position in the sport. But we do not stay at all costs and not for purely business reasons.” says Marchionne.

“I would look for an alternative strategy and replace Formula One. A more sensible solution. ”

When asked if we could see a return from Ferrari to Indianapolis. Marchionne replied: “Why not? We have the tradition and we think about it. ”

We’ve been here before. Back in the late 80’s Ferrari built an Indycar purely for the intention of scaring the governing body of Formula 1. The car was never actually raced and now resides in a museum. The ultimate bluff one could say.

But could there actually be a growing link for a move by Ferrari into the US series?

The unofficial, but near enough works Ferrari endurance sports car team; Scuderia Corsa, has just signed an agreement with the Rahal / Letterman team for a crack at this year’s Indy500 using Spaniard Oriol Servia. This move from Sportscars into single seaters by a private Ferrari team with full factory support and is run by Giacomo Mattioli, the largest Ferrari dealer in the world, might be the catalyst to facilitate a future involvement by Ferrari at Indy.

14 responses to “Ferrari to Indycar? Marchionne: “Why not?”

  1. I actually think Todt would love to see Ferrari leave F1, as he probably believes it would speed up F1’s demise, and position his baby, Formula E, as the pinnacle of motor sport.

    And from Ferrari’s standpoint – their car sales aren’t linked to F1 anymore, so whether they stay or leave F1 it would have little / no effect on sales.

    If I was Liberty i’d be worried. Without Ferrari, they’ll lose a significant amount of revenue with no way of replacing it, and that will have a big impact of their stock valuation.

  2. Completely agree Cav. It frustrates the hell out of me when the British media keep going on about Ferrari needing F1.

    Parasites like Coffeeshop Joe completely mislead the readership without understanding the landscape.

    Ferrari is the biggest name in motorsport but it wasn’t established with F1. Back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Ferrari’s focus was sportscar racing. When you look at any list of the most expensive cars ever, it contains innumerable examples of Ferrari’s finest LeMans racers – not F1.

    Allied to this, Ferrari’s sales are dominated by the American and Chinese markets. These traditionally do not have massive F1 followings. So it’s foolish to suggest otherwise.

    Incidentally, I’ve had comments left on CSJ’s blog deleted when I’ve shown support and countered his view on Maranello.

    Longer term, the alliance with Alfa Romeo goes deeper than branding. Alfa is loved by many car enthusiasts and if Ferrari were to leave, Alfa would be acceptable to Italy as the replacement.

    Final point, for now, Mattioli is more than just a Ferrari dealer. His wife is the daughter of Piero Lardi. Or in other words her grandfather was Enzo Ferrari.

    • I love reading comments from poor sods, butt hurt by Joe not printing their wordsworth.
      They never recover……ROFL!

      • Come on now Petey. We all know that Joe” I’m not an active director of Caterham – I’m just a journalist” Saward, gets touchy with comments that he doesn’t like…….

    • Coffeeshop Joe as you call him has more knowledge about the landscape of F1 than you all have together.

      And on this I completely agree with him.

      • Can’t wait to see CSJ loitering in the background on Sky TV when Ted Kravitz is filming his notebook hoping that he will get a few seconds on TV – it’s more entertaining than watching the race.

  3. “Quite how Ferrari think that a spec series based in the USA will be able to accommodate Ferrari’s requirements is anyone’s guess, but lets not allow reality to get in the way of a good yarn.”

    *clap clap clap clap clap* Yeah, that was my first thought, too 🙂 I’m sure Indycar can’t wait to welcome them with open arms, and give them veto power just for turning up and having red cars.

    Who knows, Ferrari may start threatening going into Nascar and snub F1 & Liberty that way. I’m sure that for every lap turned in a car that is a Ferrari, they’ll get a playoff point and they can veto cautions that they deem not in the interest of Ferrari’s interest in Ferrari.

    And while they’re at it … WRC … Marchionne can be co driving, and they already have a Seb under contract. The more Sebs the merrier. I’m sure Ferrari can negotiate veto power over any road order that’s not in favour of Ferrari. Come to think of it, they even have a Finn who already has rally experience. What can possibly go wrong!

    I miss the good old days of Todt/Brawn/Schumi … not so much for the competition, but purely as politics it at least had some style instead of this complete joke that’s the current red crop.

    Come to think of that, I miss Domenicali, too – I’m still sad that he and Martin Whitmarsh got ousted from F1 so unceremoniously (the latter from McLaren, obviously).

    I think Marchionne is seriously underestimating the presence a certain someone whose name begins with R and ends with oss Brawn, and his proven track record of knowing extremely well what he’s doing. Whatever trap Marchionne is walking straight into, I’m sure he’ll get privileged entry 🙂

    • All Brawn is is an employee of Liberty. Marchionne runs, when you include Fiat, a business that is worth tens of billions. Brawn is irrelevant.

    • I read elsewhere Jean Todt’s speech which included the fabled ‘veto’

      He explained its origins date back to Enzo himself and it was done so as to protect Ferrari from the DFV powered brigade.

      Whilst that was interesting in itself, his next point was damning for all the British journalist , and by consequence, all the Ferrari haters.

      Ferrari has NEVER used the veto…

  4. Forgive me, but I do have to be careful in what I say. I work in the marketing department of a lets say a major telecommunications company that is currently a sponsor of F1. Whilst I am not so high up the decision making ladder, I know for certain that my companies sponsorship of the sport is entirely contingent on a certain historical team entry. I also know for certain, that other sponsors (not all) of F1 have similar arrangements in place. Make of this fact what you will.

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