Mike Stevens | May 4, 2009

The cold war between Ferrari and the FIA is heating up after F1 President Max Mosley said the future of Formula One would be safe even if the iconic Maranello-based outfit decides to withdraw from the sport.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has been highly critical of the new budget cap, saying its introduction would force Ferrari to consider pulling out of F1.

During the Bahrain GP weekend, di Montezemolo told reporters: “I personally have a lot of passion and Ferrari has a lot of passion (for F1), but this is not a never-ending story. So we will see.”

f1_max-mosley_01

Mosley though has been undeterred, pressing on with his agenda to save the sport during the current economic crisis.

He told Britain’s Financial Times: “The sport could survive without Ferrari. It would be very sad to lose Ferrari. It is the Italian national team.

“I hope and think that when a team goes to its Board and says, I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend £100m more than the FIA want me to spend,’ the Board will say, ‘Why can't you spend £40m if the other teams can do it?’”

However, Ferrari has already commenced its campaign to pressure the FIA, announcing last week that Luca di Montezemolo would be the starter for the Le Mans 24 Hour race, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the company’s first win at the event.

But with Ferrari F1 team principal Stefano Domenicali also set to make an appearance, di Montezemolo’s decision to accept the role appears to be the first shot fired in a potentially long battle.

“The Le Mans 24-hour race is synonymous with technologically-advanced sporting competition and has always been a focus of great attention on our part,” he said.

f1_ferrari_montezemolo
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo.

Formula One has been synonymous with Ferrari since its inception in 1950, but the current dispute doesn’t mark the first time the Italian automaker has made thinly-veiled threats to leave the sport.

In the 1980’s, Enzo Ferrari commissioned designer Gustav Brunner to build an IndyCar in preparation for a potential move across to the American open-wheeler series after the FIA considered banning Ferrari’s famous V12 engine.

Plans were reportedly made to enter CART in 1987, but before any decisions were made, the FIA relented, highlighting Ferrari’s importance to Formula One.

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