F1 engine rule changes must not 'bankrupt' teams - Ferrari chairman

Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne says a potential relaxing of the Formula 1 engine homologation rules for 2016 must be done in a way that will not send teams bankrupt

F1 engine rule changes must not 'bankrupt' teams - Ferrari chairman

The FIA has closed a loophole in the power-unit regulations for 2016 that means no updates to the systems will be permitted beyond February 28.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has already warned Renault could walk away from F1 if it is not given the opportunity to upgrade in-season.

A movement is growing from Ferrari, Renault and Honda to try to get the FIA to unfreeze the rules, although support is naturally required from Mercedes.

While Marchionne is keen to see change, he also knows it has to be done in a considered way to ensure the manufacturers do not break the bank, with their costs in turn passed on to their customers.

"The problem is by opening up things you have a variety of initiatives that come up from the engineering side that will send you bankrupt," said Marchionne.

"This sport will consume cash at the speed of light, and it is not just the drivers who are the most expensive human beings I know.

"It is the cost of maintaining the engineering and development infrastructure that will put this thing over a barrel.

"We already have financial restrictions on the ability of some of the smaller teams to compete. If we open it up, and do so in a limitless fashion, then we will open up budgets no end.

"We need to find a way to keep costs under control, but it is a funny balance, and where do you cut off the line?

"I am willing to talk to everybody about getting this done, and I think Mercedes understands locking up the rules to try to protect its position is not right.

"The people who firmly believe they have an indestructible competitive edge should be reminded of what happened to Ferrari when it stopped winning.

"We thought we were invincible, and we went through six years of hell we are now beginning to come out of. Nothing holds.

"Competition will level out the playing field, so let's be rational about this and let's not go bankrupt in the process."

Marchionne feels the initial rules were "improperly drafted", and resulted in the situation that has now materialised, while the agendas of those previously in power has also played a part.

"This sport, the rules and the way they've been constructed are the result of a variety of attempts by people who have either been in leading positions, or near leading positions in particular seasons, to try to protect their competitive positions," he said.

"Ferrari is as guilty of that as Mercedes is now. I understand it because we would have done the same thing had we been in that position.

"But is it the right thing for the sport? Probably not."

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