Ferrari has denied reports it may quit F1 as the Italian team came under attack from rival McLaren after suggesting a reduced cost cap would be disastrous.
An $AUD227m ($US125m) cost cap was set to be implemented in 2021 but the economic fallout of coronavirus means that may be reduced even further in 2022.
Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto told The Guardian this week if the cost cap “was to get even lower, we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at other further options for deploying our racing DNA”.
He also suggested jobs would be at risk if costs were slashed.
"The level is already a new and demanding request compared to what was set out last June," Binotto said. "It cannot be attained without further significant sacrifices, especially in terms of our human resources."
However, Ferrari later tried to hose down suggestions it would quit F1.
"On the contrary, he (Binotto) said that we would not want to be put in a position of having to look at further options, besides continuing racing in F1, for deploying our racing DNA,” Ferrari said in a statement, as reported by Sky Sports.
The confusing stance baffled McLaren chief Zac Brown, who said slimmer budgets were a good thing for the sport, which is dominated by big teams with more money and more resources than their smaller rivals, who struggle to compete.
“We are in a situation where if Formula 1 goes by its old habits, we're all at extreme risk for the future of F1,” Brown said, per Motorsport.com.
“And I think if we think forward and get with the times, we can not only survive what's going on right now, but I ultimately think the sport can thrive and we all win.
“I'm all for a good healthy debate, but I think the comments that I'm being seen put forward (by Ferrari) don't stack up, contradict themselves, and don't accurately reflect what I think is reality.”
F1’s future is uncertain.Source:Getty Images
Industries around the world are rushing to cut costs in the wake of the global pandemic and Brown said he was left speechless by Ferrari’s suggestion F1 bosses should take more time to consider whether implementing strict budgetary restraints was a wise move.
“I'm almost at a loss of what you say to that,” Brown said. “I think we all recognise that in modern times we're going through the biggest crisis the world has seen.
“You have countries shut down. You have industry shut down, and to not be in a hurry to address what's going on, I think, is a critical mistake. It's living in denial.
“I think you would find pretty much every president or prime minister or CEO around the world is operating in a hurry to tackle this issue head on.”
Brown said while he didn’t want to see Ferrari walk away from F1, he believes the sport can survive without the iconic team.
“I would hate to see them leave the sport,” Brown said. “I would hate to see anybody leave the sport, so that's certainly not something that we'd like to see happen.
“However, I think the sport can survive with 18 cars on the grid (as opposed to 20).
“I think 16 is right on the line, with 18 it can. So I think it could survive without them, but I really much prefer to have them stay in the sport. I think the sport’s much better off with them than without.”
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