Ferrari’s F1 future could be in question unless the sport initiates major changes to its technical regulations, testing format and the whether or not it allows teams to field third cars in the future. That was the somewhat theatrical message delivered by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo speaking over the weekend at Ferrari’s World finals event at the Mugello circuit near Florence.
Montezemolo, taking a leaf from the pages of a text of which the late Enzo Ferrari would have been proud, warned that the Prancing Horse could survive without F1, if pushed, but that F1 could not survive without the scarlet cars from Maranello.
"Formula 1 is still our life, but without Ferrari there is no Formula 1, just as without Formula 1 Ferrari would be different," he insisted.
"We can be very patient but there are precise conditions for us to continue with our work. We race not just for the publicity it brings us but above all to carry out advanced research aimed at all aspects of our road cars: engine, chassis, mechanical components, electronics, materials and aerodynamics, to such an extent that the technology transfer from track to road has grown exponentially over the past twenty years."
However, he expressed the view that F1 was over-dependent on aerodynamics, although precisely how F1 should try and disentangle such dependency was not offered up by the charismatic Italian.
"What is not so good is that 90 per cent of performance is now based exclusively on aerodynamics and another negative is that ours is the only sport where no testing is allowed," said di Montezemolo.
"We are building cars, not helicopters, rockets or planes. Sure, we must not go back to the excesses of a few years ago, but neither should we be in a position where we can't provide opportunities for the youngsters we are bringing on in the Ferrari Driver Academy.
"Finally, there's the issue of the third car, which mark my words, we support not so much for our own interests but more for those of the sport in general. We believe the interest of the fans, media and sponsors could increase if there is a bigger number of competitive cars on track rather than cars that are two or three seconds off the pace, being lapped after just a few laps.
"As an example, remember in 1961 Giancarlo Baghetti won the French grand prix at Reims with a privately entered Ferrari. There you are, it would be nice one day in the future to see one of our cars running in American colours, or Chinese, or maybe those of Abu Dhabi.”
Not a message, one suspects, which will be well received by the Hispania, Caterham or Marussia teams. But whether it was just grandstanding by the politically astute Ferrari boss remains to be seen as F1 continues the process of hammering out a new Concorde agreement for 2013.