Caught between eras, Formula 1’s struggle to downsize has only been intensified by coronavirus. No team better encapsulates this struggle than Ferrari.
As F1’s poster boy, Ferrari symbolises the excess and exclusivity that is F1’s elixir. Ferrari embodies the aspiration and impossible glamour of some fantasy world that glitters with promise like sun rays dappled in a Mediterranean cove – and that’s where F1 has always lived. Selling a tantalising glimpse of that world is F1’s bread and butter.
To produce that show costs money and requires global scale financing and broadcasting. That money is sucked in from the hard, vulgar commercial world outside the fantasy bubble. So long as oxygen was supplied, the competitive entities inside expanded like goldfish growing to fill their pool. The pool was made smaller by the banking crash of 2008, and it’s been made smaller again by the virus. The fish inside it are still as big as when the pool was full size, and the biggest fish of all is Ferrari. The pond may not be big enough for all the bloated fish to survive, but Ferrari is seen as the key to keeping the pond viable. Ferrari is in a strong negotiating position, but getting what it wants could further endanger its whole marine biosphere.