Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne has reiterated the threat to pull the Italian team out of Formula 1 after 2020 remains "serious" despite agreeing on the return of sister company Alfa Romeo as a partner of Sauber.
On Saturday, the Italian-Canadian hosted a presentation in Milan to celebrate Alfa's first presence in F1 since 1985, unveiling a concept livery for next year's Alfa Romeo Sauber and confirming Ferrari Academy member and F2 champion Charles Leclerc will step up alongside Marcus Ericsson.
But for some, that has discredited the threat to quit the sport over the direction being taken by owners Liberty Media, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner again voicing his cynicism at the validity of Marchionne's comments.
“They come under the same management as Sergio so I can’t believe he’d have brought Alfa Romeo in for Ferrari to be leaving in a couple of years,” he told Reuters.
Instead, the Briton thinks Maranello is all too aware that the relationship with F1 is a mutual one and that there is actually confidence surrounding the vision of the new leadership.
“I think it demonstrates that F1 is obviously working and creating the recognition, otherwise the group wouldn’t have brought the Alfa brand into F1,” Horner claimed. “F1 needs Ferrari and Ferrari needs F1. It’s a marriage of convenience in many respects but both entities ultimately need each other and we certainly want Ferrari in F1.
“An F1 with Ferrari in is one of the biggest brands in the world and they are a great team to compete against.”
The Chairman, however, insists all decisions have been taken in accordance with any outcome in talks over a new deal with the commercial rights holder.
“The dialogue has started and will continue to evolve. We have time until 2020 to find a solution which benefits Ferrari,” Marchionne said at the Alfa event on Saturday. “The threat of Ferrari leaving Formula 1 is serious and the agreement with Sauber expires in 2020-2021, right when Ferrari could leave.
“We have to find a solution which is good for the sport, but we also have to be clear on the things we can’t back down on,” he added.
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