The importance of Ferrari winning Formula 1 races and championships cannot be underestimated, boss Sergio Marchionne has declared, claiming the company is only defined by its ability to race.
Marchionne took the reins at Ferrari from Luca di Montezemolo last year in addition to his role as head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Marchionne’s desire to reverse the F1 team’s ailing fortunes was understood to be a key reason behind the switch.
Ferrari has not won a race in F1 since early 2013. This compares to the ever-improving fortunes of the road car division, which in 2013 recorded an increase in revenue of 5% year-on-year to £1.885 billion. Trading profit was £299.5 million and its net profit £201m for the year.
Marchionne, speaking at the recent Geneva motor show, said “there was nothing else like Ferrari” on the market.
“A comparison to any other brand is irrelevant,” he said. “At the heart of our brand is racing. This is not an accident, we’re not Aston Martin.
“We define ourselves on our ability to race, others race but it has been taken to the brand.”
He said the racing influence was always evident in Ferrari’s road cars, and as such they were “not normal”.
Citing the FF as an example, he said: “You have four-wheel drive, four seats and look a million dollars. But you can also get pissed off and drive it at 320kph [198mph]. This is not normal in a car. We live and breathe racing.”
He said Ferrari’s racing DNA should “never, ever be underestimated”.
He added: “We are unique and defined on racing. When Ferrari loses, it is not good. Ferrari does not feel good. It may take one, two or three years to win again. It’s at the heart of what we do. All the tech in the road cars has its heart in Ferrari racing.”
In this morning’s latest practice session at the season-opening Australian grand prix, Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were third and fourth fastest behind the pace-setting Mercedes-Benz drivers.
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