I’ve been trying to work out what I should write about Ferrari‘s threat to quit Formula 1 if the two-tier regulations for 2010 aren’t changed. Others have covered the subject with some authority, and afforded it great importance.
But I can’t, because it isn’t going to happen. The FIA is posturing by voting the two-tier regulations through at the extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council. Ferrari is posturing right back by threatening to quit and going on about the special contract between Ferrari and the FIA which saw the prancing horse commit to Formula 1 until 2012.
The FIA and Ferrari are – admittedly very firmly – setting out their extreme positions. A compromise will be reached, because it’s clearly and obviously in the best interests of both parties.
I think Red Bull‘s threat is much more interesting though. Ferrari could switch to Le Mans prototype racing, or be part of a new open wheel series, but neither could – at least in the short term – serve the same purpose for the company as Formula 1.
Red Bull, though, could go off and promote the brand through any number of channels.
So although I can’t see Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso being absent from the 2010 grid over this – because again, it isn’t going to happen – it should be concerning that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz could pull his teams out at a moment’s notice. That promotional shortfall could be filled by, say, some more football teams. Or anything else at all.
It happens that Red Bull puts a lot of money into motorsport at the moment, but there’s no intrinsic reason for that to be the case. Ferrari has a lot to lose by quitting Formula 1 – and vice versa. But it’s only Formula 1 that would be the poorer for Red Bull pulling out. I’ve said it before: motorsport’s dependence on Red Bull worries me.
It also worries me that I’m going to look like a massive arse if the FIA actually doesn’t change the 2010 regulations, and Ferrari actually does quit. Ho hum.
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