Marchionne forced to eat his words (Update)

UPDATE No brand is more closely associated with Formula One than Ferrari. But Fiat Chrysler Automobiles seems to want one of its other brands to try to forge that type of connection with the FIA’s all-electric world championship in people’s minds.

FCA is considering entering Formula E, but not with Ferrari, CEO Sergio Marchionne told Motorsport.com on Wednesday. Marchionne was asked about whether a FE campaign was in Ferrari’s future plans following the news that the Italian marque’s F1 rival, Mercedes, would join the championship in 2019.

Shortly after Mercedes announced its move, Porsche voted to enter FE at the expense of its Le Mans Prototype 1 operation.

“I talked with Toto (Wolff), but I do not think Ferrari enters directly," Marchionne said. “However, we are thinking of doing so as FCA. And if we will enter, with one of the brands from the group, we do not know which one it will be right now."

Given that the electric open-wheel series is contested largely by premium manufacturers, such as BMW and Jaguar, FCA likely would choose Alfa Romeo and/or Maserati. Either one would be plausible, as both are Italian luxury brands that competed in F1 during the category’s infancy, though Alfa seems like the more probable option.

Alfa Romeo entered nearly twice as many F1 Grand Prix as Maserati (110 compared to 56 ), is the manufacturer that gave Enzo Ferrari his start and its Quadrifoglio emblem is advertised on the side of Scuderia Ferrari’s SF70H racers.

What’s more, FCA is attempting to relaunch Alfa Romeo in the U.S. and FE would give it a good platform to appeal to a younger demographic. Plus, Alfa highlighted its racing heritage in its Super Bowl LI commercial, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it has its sights set on returning to the world of motorsport.

Sergio Marchionne
Sergio Marchionne

07/31/17 Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has been forced to eat his own words after putting his foot in his mouth saying a Ferrari would never be all-electric. He has now come to realize that most countries are going to ban internal combustion engine cars so if Ferrari wants to sell any cars at all they will have to build all-electric cars.

After finding that his foot doesn't taste too good, Marchionne has confirmed that Ferrari is looking at joining Porsche and Formula 1 rivals Mercedes in signing up to race in Formula E in the near future.

Speaking after watching the Ferrari Formula 1 team secure a 1-2 finish in the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix, Marchionne talked briefly of his interest in the championship saying, “In the wider sense of what we do with cars between Maserati, Alfa (Romeo) and Ferrari, we are looking at this with interest. Maybe with one of the others — not Fiat — but Alfa or Maserati."

Again he puts his foot in his mouth. We will repeat, when countries ban fossil fuel burning cars, Ferrari will have no choice but to build electric cars……or go out of business. So saying he won't put the Ferrari name on an all-electric race car doesn't bode well for the future of Ferrari.

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