If some regulatory changes occur, such as making all cars equal and engines simple and economical, Ferrari would leave Formula 1
Many people say that Formula 1, the highest category of international motorsport, has been in crisis for several years. Throughout its history of more than 68 years, the competition has hosted great pilots, exactly 32 different drivers have won the championship. For instase, in 1950 the Italian Giuseppe Farina established himself as the first champion in the history of Formula 1.Furthermore, the German Michael Schumacher is the driver who has been champion more times, with a total of seven, of which five were consecutive between 2000 to 2004 when he was wearing the red and white colors of Ferrari.
Many things have happened in the big tent of motorsport since the hegemony held by the 'Kaiser', as Schumacher was known. Ferrari has not won an individual driver's title in more than 11 years, when the Finnish Kimi Räikkönen was crowned champion in 2007. Over the last eight years, only three riders have tasted the honeys of victory by lifting the trophy of champions, with 4 victories for the German Sebastian Vettel; 3 for the English Lewis Hamilton; and 1 for the German Nico Rosberg.
It is precisely because of the second factor, the long reigns, among other reasons such as the growth of Formula E, that many fans in the category have started to lose interest in the competition. It is estimated that television rights represent more than 35% of Formula 1 revenue. However, the numbers went from 430 million viewers in 2014 to 390 million viewers in 2016. This downward trend in the global viewers number has been exactly the same for just under ten years.
In the eagerness of Formula 1 to recover viewers and sponsors, they are evaluating to immitate the NASCAR Cup Series model in the United States. In that competition, there are only three manufacturers -Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota- and all the cars are practically the same, with simple and inexpensive engines.
Faced with this proposal, Sergio Marchionne, executive director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (a group owner of automobile brands such as Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati and Ferrari) and president of the Scuderia Ferrari, showed his displeasure and even opened the doors to start new roads. "In the renewal of the contract with Liberty Media (owners of F1) there is the possibility of disengaging, and I think Ferrari has the strength to drag others into an alternative championship. Doing things the way we do at NASCAR doesn't interest us," said Marchionne. He added "we have to find a balance. Otherwise, Ferrari will leave."
The Ferrari effect
Without a doubt, Ferrari is still one of the three most popular Formula 1 teams. The Cavallino Rampante from Maranello has sponsorship agreements with brands such as Shell, UPS, Kaspersky Lab, Puma, Santander, Philip Morris and Ray-Ban.
If the Scuderia Ferrari leaves, Formula 1 would lose too much. On the one hand, it would lose the sponsors of the red cars, especially Philip Morrris, a sponsor who has been in Formula 1 for almost 40 years,.
On the other hand, the blow would also be disastrous in relation to the spectators that Ferrari drags, as it is the oldest active team of the championship, which has achieved more victories (229), championships of drivers (15) and championships of constructors (16). Additionally, the team has one of the most prodigious and charismatic drivers: Sebastian Vettel.
The 'red house' has over time gained a "passionate" status, almost comparable to that of certain world-class football teams. This is a highly differential factor compared to the other teams that complete Formula 1. No one of those generates as much passion as Ferrari, whether they win or not.
And if anyone knows for sure how important Ferrari is to international motorsport and Formula 1, it is the Englishman Bernie Ecclestone, former owner of the commercial rights to Formula 1 before he sold them to the Liberty Media communications group. Ecclestone said in response to Marchionne's comments "I'm proud of Formula 1 and I want it to go well. Today I'm more relaxed because I'm no longer involved,". He added "I'm afraid Ferrari could live without Formula 1, but not the other way around."
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Felipe Guerrero
Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza