Why it matters to you
Ferrari is more closely associated with racing than just about any other automaker, so its Formula E decision is a weighty one.
Automakers are flocking to the Formula E electric racing series. BMW recently announced that it would step up its involvement in the series, while rival Mercedes-Benz will ditch the German DTM race series in order to free up resources to join Formula E. Then came the bombshell announcement that Porsche would end its successful Le Mans program, and race in Formula E instead.
Even Ferrari, which doesn’t have any plans to sell electric cars, looked like a possibility at one point. Last year, CEO Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari planned to enter Formula E at some point. He has apparently changed his mind, though, recently telling Motorsport.com that Ferrari won’t join after all.
But Marchionne is also head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which is still more or less Ferrari’s parent company even after a stock sale separated the two entities on paper. Marchionne said one of FCA’s other brands may enter Formula E instead.
“However, we are thinking of doing so as FCA,” Marchionne said of a Formula E entry. “And if we will enter, with one of the brands from the group, we do not know which one it will be right now.”
Aside from Ferrari, FCA has curtailed its racing efforts lately, so there is no other brand heavily involved in motor sports that would be an obvious choice. Given Dodge’s current obsession with gas guzzling V8 muscle cars, it would be hilarious to see the American brand troll everyone by joining Formula E. But that probably won’t happen. Alfa Romeo has a solid racing history, and performance is a big part of the brand’s marketing, but it has no real electric-car plans either.
But FCA has another storied Italian brand in its lineup. Maserati is also strongly associated with racing, and Marchionne recently said the automaker would begin electrifying its model lineup in 2019, and might sell only electrified cars after that. Even if these new Maseratis are plug-in hybrids rather than all-electric cars, Formula E might be a good way to promote them.
That’s at least a bit more plausible than Ferrari joining Formula E. If Marchionne has his way, Ferrari will never produce an electric car. He once referred to the idea of a Ferrari electric car as an “obscene concept.” What does that make Ferrari’s rumored SUV, then?