Ferrari upset about F1 plans to introduce standard engine

Updated: October 27, 2008, 2:53 PM ET
Reuters

MILAN, Italy -- Ferrari will review its participation in Formula One if plans to introduce a standard engine for all teams from 2010 goes ahead, its board said in a statement on Monday.

Formula One's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), said earlier this month it intended to bring in the rule to save costs.

"The board of Ferrari, confirming its full support for the substantial and necessary reduction in costs starting with engines, has however expressed strong reservations about the project to equalize or standardize engines," the statement said.

"The board reserves the right to consider, together with our partners, our presence in this discipline," it said.

Ferrari, controlled by Italian car firm Fiat, won last year's world constructors' championship and its driver Kimi Raikkonen took the individual title.

His teammate Felipe Massa is in the running for this season's title, with the final Grand Prix taking place in Brazil on Sunday. He trails McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton by seven points.

The FIA issued a statement before this month's Chinese Grand Prix announcing a tender for "a third-party supplier of engines and transmission systems" to be used by all teams in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The body has argued that the costs of Formula One are unsustainable in the current economic climate and must be slashed to ensure none of the 10 teams leaves the sport.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, also head of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), recently met FIA chief Max Mosley to discuss cost-cutting measures, saying he was satisfied with progress made during the talks.

However, the company's board is not impressed with the standard engine idea.

"The [board] felt that such a move would detract from the entire raison d'etre of a sport with which Ferrari has been involved continuously since 1950, a raison d'etre based principally on competition and technology development," the statement read.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has backed the FIA's standard engine proposal and rejected suggestions that it might push some manufacturers toward the exit.

"We're trying to get a level playing field," he said earlier this month. "I don't see why [manufacturers] should leave; we're saving them an awful lot of money, I hope. All the technical things will still be there, they can show all of their talent."

Pundits say the FIA's stance may be part of a familiar carrot-and-stick approach to persuade the teams to swallow a more palatable alternative.