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Ferrari threatens F1 pull-out over engines

October 28, 2008 14:50 IST

Ferrari [Images] 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 intends 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 equalise or standardise engines," the statement said.

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

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

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

NOT IMPRESSED

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 leave the sport.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, also head of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), he 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 are 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 towards the exit.

"We're trying to get a level playing field," he told reporters 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.

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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