MARANELLO, Italy. — Ferrari is looking into the possibility of entering the NTT IndyCar Series.
The automaker and storied Formula One racing team confirmed the inquiry to Sky Sports Italia this week. Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said they are also looking into expanding to running sports cars as well in series’ such as IMSA.
The move has also been spurred by Formula One’s impending team budget reduction for the 2021 season.
“Ferrari feels a lot of social responsibility towards its employees and we want to be sure that for each of them there will be a workspace in the future,” Binotto told Sky. “For this reason, we have started to evaluate alternative programs and I confirm that we are looking at IndyCar.”
Formula One is the most expensive racing series in the world. In 2020, teams were allowed to spend as much as $175 million per season on their racing efforts. With that cap being reduced to $145 million in 2021, Binotto said that would require the team to make staffing cutbacks if they continue to exclusively compete in Formula One.
This isn’t the first time Ferrari has considered joining the IndyCar ranks. In 1986, Ferrari announced its “Ferrari 637” project in which they built a CART regulation car after getting some help from then-IndyCar driver Bobby Rahal and racing team Truesports. Ultimately, the team opted not to pursue the project any further.
Former F1 World Champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti said told “Trackside” on 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis he’d love to see Ferrari be involved with IndyCar in some capacity.
“It would be nice to see if something could be done,” Andretti said. “IndyCar obviously would love to have Ferrari involved in one way or another. Maybe, even Ferrari would be willing to just be the third engine manufacturer to provide engines for IndyCar, which would be great.”
For Ferrari to become a full-time racing team in IndyCar, Andretti said IndyCar would have to make some changes to its own regulations for that to happen. Andretti speculates Ferrari would not be willing to run their engine on a Dallara chassis. Dallara has been the exclusive provider of chassis to IndyCar teams since 2009.
If Ferrari were to decide now to enter IndyCar competition they would be the second full-time Formula One team to do so in as many years. McLaren returned to IndyCar full-time this season in a merger with Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports to form Arrow McLaren Racing.
For now, Andretti is hopeful Binotto and other Ferrari executives are willing to work with new NTT IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske in finding an avenue to get the prancing horse to come and compete in the United States.