Wolff warns breakaway series is a 'realistic' possibility

20/03/2018
NEWS STORY

While the sport's new owners are anticipating their first full season at the helm, heading to Melbourne with a new logo, new graphics and even a new theme tune, some of the old issues still remain.

Though the pecking order, certainly in the midfield, has yet to be established, off track it is clearly a case of Mercedes and Ferrari versus Red Bull and McLaren.

Though fans are eagerly anticipating the battle for the 2018 title, it is the fight to establish what happens post-2020, when the current Concorde Agreement runs out, that could well dominate the headlines over the months (and years) ahead.

Other than the need to agree on a new engine formula, with Ferrari and Mercedes having already dismissed the initial proposal, F1's new owners are seeking to restructure the way the prize pot is divided, doing away with the bonuses paid to some teams and also seeking to introduce a budget cap.

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has made no secret of his contempt for Liberty's plans, threatening to take the legendary Italian team out of F1, now Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had warned that the Silver Arrows might also seek an alternative.

"The perspective of doing something else is a realistic one," he told the Press Association, "and it could happen if we don't achieve to align our vision.

"Marchionne has a clear vision of what Formula One should represent for Ferrari, which is a purist sport that isn't a shopping channel," he added. "I would strongly encourage all of the sport's stakeholders not to try and provoke him.

"I agree with most of the things Sergio says," admits the Austrian, "because Formula One has a certain DNA and it is a sport that needs to stick to its roots.

"So, don't mess with Sergio Marchionne," he warned. "Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.

"I will give it everything to align the vision among us by seeking consensus and accepting compromise," he concluded.

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Published: 20/03/2018
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