With 2015 Ferrari power unit supply secured for Italy’s second F1 team in 2016 and reports published by the Reuters Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, has hinted Ferrari power units may soon sport Alfa Romeo branding for a customer team within F1. The possibility of Scuderia Toro Rosso adopting the branding is an increasing possibility.
Whilst public offerings in both the New York and Milan stock exchange have effectively spun Ferrari off from FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, through majority shareholder Exor retain significant shareholding in the sports car maker and as such remain keen to transfer the racing pedigree across other brands within the organisation.
Both Scuderia Ferrari and Scuderia Toro Rosso have declined to comment on speculation around possible branding at this time, but the rumours have not dissipated. With news emerging this morning that Spanish oil giant Cepsa have not renewed sponsorship commitments with Toro Rosso clearing the way for possible Shell branding with the team for the 2016 season possible alignment appears increasingly likely.
The rationale for FCA and Ferrari to pursue such a move exists on both a commercial and sporting front. Commercially FCA could lean on the youthful nature of Toro Rosso, Red Bull and the young driver line up in an attempt to entice a younger audience to the Alfa Romeo brand, a brand which with ambition exists to more than quadruple sales by 2018. From a sporting perspective there is then the question around the future of Max Verstappen; following a sensational rookie year in 2015 many expect Mercedes and Ferrari to be battling to secure his services at the earliest possible juncture. Getting Verstappen under the Alfa Romeo brand whilst still under Red Bull contract and exposing him to virtues of life as a Ferrari driver may go a long way to steering the decision toward a scarlet future.