Ferrari adds talk of breakaway series to its quit threat

Ferrari has urged Formula One bosses to take its quit threat seriously or risk "playing with fire".

Speaking at a media event in Maranello, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne reiterated his concern about the direction F1 owners Liberty Media are taking the sport. Marchionne says there is still plenty of time to come to an agreement with Liberty, but warned that he is not bluffing when it comes to Ferrari's quit threat.

"We have been part of F1's history, so we understand bulls--- and we understand F1," he said. "We have a race department that works only on F1, so we know F1 well.

"We have to try to balance [Liberty's] interests with ours, but I think that we can arrive to that in time to avoid Ferrari's exit from Formula One. But we will have to work at it.

"If they think we are bluffing then they are playing with fire."

Marchionne said Ferrari would evaluate the possibility of a breakaway championship if F1 does not provide the platform it is looking for.

"There is the possibility to create an alternative championship from 2020/2021," he was quoted as saying by Autosport. "We can't ignore this possibility, but I prefer avoid it if we can.

"I would like to continue with Formula 1, but we have to find compromises that don't leave Ferrari without the possibility of showing its DNA in every race. If we can't find that, then Ferrari has to go away.

"If Ferrari can pull out other teams, we have to see it from an economical point of view, but I think that we are able to do it."

Marchionne says his main concern is with F1's engine plans after 2020. With the support of the FIA, F1's managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn presented a proposal for cheaper engines earlier this year, but Marchionne views it as a dumbing down of F1 technology.

"The main thing that bothers me is that inside Liberty Media there is a person with great experience in F1, which is Ross Brawn, who is trying to giving a direction that is not in the DNA of the sport. If the objective is that after 2020 the engines are more simple and the cars all the same, like in NASCAR, then Ferrari will leave Grand Prix racing the next day. Ross goes on TV and gives out commandments like Moses, but then those who can go and talk to Moses' boss can also disagree.

"What we are doing here, Mercedes, Renault, Honda and ourselves, in supplying engines to other teams for €15 million a year is already a miracle. To Brawn I say, 'What more do you want for that figure?' Next year with only three engines per driver for the season the costs increase because of all the work on reliability."