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Page last updated at 18:47 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 19:47 UK

Ferrari issue F1 quit ultimatum

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at the Spanish Grand Prix
Ferrari have been racing in Formula 1 since 1950

Ferrari have threatened to quit Formula 1 at the end of the season if the sport continues with plans to introduce an optional £40m budget cap from 2010.

"If the regulations for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter cars in the next Formula 1 world championship," read the statement.

Ferrari fear the evolution of a two-tier championship, between those teams who adopt the cap and those who do not.

The teams will discuss the plans with FIA chief Max Mosley in the next week.

But motorsport's governing body, the FIA, has so far refused to be drawn into a public discussion about Ferrari's threat.

"We have nothing to add to the letter sent to Ferrari on 29 April," said an FIA spokesman, referring to a letter sent to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo in which FIA chairman Max Mosley rejected the team's complaints about the budget cap.

Ferrari quit threat 'serious' - Legard

Ferrari insist their announcement is not simply posturing or a political move.

"For the first time ever in F1, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters," their statement added.

"The board consider that if this is the regulatory framework for F1 in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari's uninterrupted participation in the world championship over the last 60 years - the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 - would come to a close."

Ferrari's stance has divided opinion on whether or not they will go ahead with their threats of withdrawing.

Former team boss Eddie Jordan told the BBC: "Maybe this isn't the posturing that most people think it is - I wouldn't be certain that they wouldn't carry this out.

"Ferrari shareholders are very concerned at the losses that are being made in the company at this time, the credit crunch has had an impact, and I think this (announcement) is different.

"Everyone concerned would be very silly not to put 100% of their time, effort and diligence into making sure there is compatibility between the sport, the governing body and Ferrari."

The announcement will put to the test Mosley's resolve after he claimed earlier this month that F1 could live without Ferrari, the sport's most famous, most successful and longest-tenured team.

"The sport could survive without Ferrari," he said. "It would be very sad. It is the Italian national team."

But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told The Times he expected things would be thrashed out as it was in nobody's interests for Ferrari to leave the sport.

"Ferrari are not stupid," he said. "They don't want to leave Formula 1 and we don't want to lose them, so we'll get to grips with it."

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However, Toyota and Red Bull have also already threatened not to enter next year's championship unless the new rules change.

Ferrari criticised the lack of consultation from the FIA, who want an optional £40m budget cap in order to encourage new teams to enter.

The plan would allow capped teams to operate with far greater technical freedom than those continuing with unlimited budgets.

Di Montezemolo has warned it would create a two-tier championship that could be "fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased".

The FIA has set a deadline of 29 May for teams wishing to compete in 2010 to enter and state whether they want a cap or not.

But, BBC Five Live Formula 1 correspondent David Croft fully expects Ferrari to line up on the grid in 2010, despite the threat.

"I would be amazed if Ferrari aren't racing in 2010," he said, "I think this is just the opening of a series of discussions that will take place between the sports most historic team and the governing body.

"It's inconceivable that we would have Formula 1 without Ferrari. Mosley says the sport doesn't need them, but I think a lot of people would beg to disagree."

That is a sentiment echoed by the sport's drivers, with world champion Lewis Hamilton saying he "could not imagine" F1 without Ferrari while Renault's Fernando Alonso added it was "impossible" for it to happen.

Ferrari, the sport's oldest and most successful team, also threatened a pull-out in October if proposals for a standard engine for all teams went ahead.



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see also
Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
10 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 drivers stand behind Ferrari
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
Alonso offers advice to Hamilton
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
Bold Button to push for Spain win
07 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 'can survive without Ferrari'
02 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 teams handed 40m budget cap
30 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Button backs F1 budget cap plan
30 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Angry Ferrari boss outlines blame
26 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen rues Ferrari slowness
23 Apr 09 |  Formula 1


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