Former Ferrari F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has announced that his current employers, Lamborghini, have no intention to enter Formula One as they focus on their racing program elsewhere.
Domenicali, who lost his role at Scuderia Ferrari in 2014, was quickly snapped up by VW-Audi and made CEO of Audi owned Lamborghini. The manufacturer currently enjoys its own exclusive racing series, the Huracan Super Trofeo and also has a catalog of customer teams racing in the various GT series.
When pressed on Formula One being a potential outlet for engineering, Domenicali responded with,
“I have to say this is not the priority today, because we have other priorities above this.
We also have a system that is working really well in racing, and credit for that goes to all of the people who have chosen the sports programme very well.
However, you cannot think of a brand like Lamborghini without motorsport.”
– Stefano Domenicali
The Italian, who enjoyed 20 years at Scuderia, knows too well that Formula One can be a mixed bag for reputation, especially for a luxury manufacturer. Lamborghini were last involved with Formula One in the 1991 season to no success. The outfit provided the Modena team with Lamborghini engines and a hefty one-off financial installment and not much else. The teams were unable to get through qualifying most of the time and crumbled due to the lack of real infrastructure, but given the deliberate lack of affiliation, Lamborghini’s reputation wasn’t damaged.
Lamborghini are owned by Audi, who also revealed no intention of joining the F1 paddock earlier in the year for an obvious reason. Earlier this year in March, the head of Motorsport for the Volkswagen group (Who own Audi… Who own Lamborghini), Wolfgang Durheimer said that F1’s sporting and political situation wasn’t “predictable enough.”
Where other sporting categories like the WEC and DTM provide a consistent environment that focuses on racing, F1 is considered too unstable for even the strongest automotive brands out there. On the other hand, maybe the VW group don’t want to come off second best to Mercedes and will look for a future slot beyond the Mercedes era. Either way, evidence that the misdirection at the top of F1 is doing more than just irritating a handful of fans, it appears to be putting manufacturers off too.