The return of Ferrari to the top of endurance is a historic event for the Cavallino manufacturer, interrupting an absence that lasted fifty years. The Maranello house had announced the Hypercar program in early 2021, shortly after the entry into force of the spending cap in Formula 1. The previous expression of the Cavallino’s interest in an IndyCar program to redirect the economic and human capital previously invested in Formula 1 had led to think that the decision to build a prototype for Le Mans was the result of the resources saved with the budget cap.
However, during the interview given to FormulaPassion.it, the GT Sports Activities Manager Antonello Coletta explained how the 499P project was born with very different dynamics: “The idea started at the very moment in which the FIA decided to make a new regulation for the premier endurance class. Ferrari, which by definition always sits at any table when a novelty opens, sat down at the FIA table to talk about this too. It’s a discussion that lasted a long time, because it started almost three years ago. I must say that at that moment there was really no conviction of being able to return to compete in the top category. Then the regulation changed direction and we understood that the time might have come to be able to go up a step, even at the same time as the closing of the GTE class, also provided for by the regulation. This is also due to the great uproar that Ferrari had in this class between the 1950s and 1960s. Coming back fifty years later seemed to us a very interesting challenge and above all one that could also strengthen loyalty with our customers and the image of Ferrari itself. Therefore, we presented the project, which was approved with great enthusiasm, and today here we are ”.
Coletta then underlined that the campaign at Le Mans does not derive from the arrival of the budget cap in Formula 1, with no transfer of personnel within the company: “All this means that it was a strategic choice, which had no connection with the budget cap in the Formula 1 world championship. This is a strategic choice of Ferrari and it has been decided to return ”. The link with the Gestione Sportiva therefore remains purely technical, since the high-voltage battery of the 499P benefits from the basic technology developed in Formula 1.
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