Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned that his team's continued presence in Formula 1 is dependent on major changes to the rules, as he declared it would not back down over technical regulations, testing rules and third cars.
Speaking at Ferrari's World Finals event at Mugello, and amid continued discussions over both F1's next Concord Agreement and the position of the Formula One Teams' Association as questions about the Resource Restriction Agreement persist, di Montezemolo said Ferrari would stick to its guns over the issues. He underlined his belief that F1's rulemakers could not afford to squeeze Ferrari out.
"Formula 1 is still our life, but without Ferrari there is no Formula 1, just as without Formula 1 Ferrari would be different," said di Montezemolo. "We can be very patient, but there are precise conditions for us to continue with our work. We race not just for the publicity it brings us but above all to carry out advanced research aimed at all aspects of our road cars: engine, chassis, mechanical components, electronics, materials and aerodynamics, to such an extent that the technology transfer from track to road has grown exponentially over the past 20 years."
He stressed that what he saw as restrictive, overly-aero-dependent, rules, the testing ban and the limit of two cars per team were Ferrari's main concerns.
"What is not so good is that 90 percent of performance is now based exclusively on aerodynamics and another negative is that ours is the only sport where no testing is allowed," said di Montezemolo. "We are building cars, not helicopters, rockets or planes. Sure, we must not go back to the excesses of a few years ago, but neither should we be in a position where we can't provide opportunities for the youngsters we are bringing on in the Ferrari Driver Academy.
"Finally, there's the issue of the third car, which mark my words, we support not so much for our own interests but more for those of the sport in general. We believe the interest of the fans, media and sponsors could increase if there is a bigger number of competitive cars on track rather than cars that are two or three seconds off the pace, being lapped after just a few laps.
"As an example, remember in 1961 Giancarlo Baghetti won the French Grand Prix at Reims with a privately entered Ferrari. There you are; it would be nice one day in the future to see one of our cars running in American colors, or Chinese, or maybe those of Abu Dhabi."
He warned that F1 should not take Ferrari's continued participation for granted.
"We will support our views as we see fit, in the best way possible, but let's be clear, for those who agree, that is fine, but otherwise they will just have to accept it is our position," di Montezemolo said. "If Formula 1 still wants Ferrari, it must change and go back to being at the cutting edge of research, while always keeping an eye on costs.
"We are not in Formula 1 as sponsors. We are constructors."