Lamborghini CEO Shoots Down Formula One Entry
Stefano Domenicali points out more important priorities for the Italian automakerby Kirby Garlitos, on
Lamborghini may have Stefano Domenicali at the helm as its new chief executive officer, but even having the man who once took charge of rival Ferrari’s Formula One team isn’t enough for the Italian automaker to consider entering motor racing’s highest level of competition. Domenicali himself said as much in a conversation with AutoWeek, saying that Formula One “is not a priority” for the Italian automaker.
The new CEO’s statements are not different from his predecessor, Stephan Winkelmann, who also shut down any possibility linking Lamborghini back to Formula One for the first time in 20-plus years.
Sure, it would look cool to see Lamborghini return to Formula One, but there are a multitude of reasons that can be tied into its refusal to make the jump. Domenicali talked about “other priorities” and that’s true, both from a manufacturers and motorsports perspective. Right now, the biggest and most important priority is to expand its production capabilities with the impending arrival of the Urus SUV, which is projected to be the biggest volume model of the automaker. Having the facility and the resources in place to accommodate the SUV’s production is important for Lambo to continue functioning to its normal capacity. That also ties into its two existing models – the Aventador and the Huracán – as well as the multitude of special edition models it routinely creates.
Then there’s Lamborghini’s motorsports priority. It’s easy to overlook the company’s absence from Formula One and dismiss its motor sports credentials. That couldn’t be further from the truth though. Lamborghini is heavily invested in the sport. It builds GT3 race cars for competition. It has its own single-make series (the Super Trofeo). It also has an in-house driver development program that goes all the way to the grassroots level, specifically the recently launched Kart Driver’s Program.
Based on all of these, Domenicali does offer a fair assessment of what Lamborghini’s priorities are and how those priorities take precedent over any ambition to enter the chaotic world of Formula One.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Why it matters
Once upon a time, I thought Lamborghini didn’t want to enter Formula One because it didn’t want to get embarrassed the way it did back in the early 90’s when it was involved in the sport. Considering the reputation of Lamborghini, the automaker failed to make a mark in the sport in the short time it was there. Some might even say that “making a mark” overstated Lambo’s achievements. It’s harsh, but it was also true.
So I chalked it up to that. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to realize that Lamborghini is actually being smart about not venturing into Formula One given the chaotic nature and circus-like atmosphere of the series. Maybe it makes sense from a technical standpoint for Ferrari and McLaren to be a part of it, but Lamborghini has shown that it doesn’t need Formula One to be a step ahead of technological innovation. It’s been able to do that without being in the sport so why even bother enter in the first place.
I think Domenicali is speaking honestly when he said that the company has more important priorities than Formula One. On a number of levels, Domenicali is right. From its production cars, research and development, and other motorsports ventures, there are just far too many things going on in Sant’Agata that are more important for the company than making a break for Formula One.
Is this going to be the case forever? I don’t think so, but even in the long-term future, I don’t foresee Lamborghini entering Formula One. If anything, I give it a bigger chance that the Italian automaker opts for Formula E instead. I have no facts to back that up, nor do I have any sources telling me anything. It’s a completely gut feeling that may or may not happen, except that if it does, I wouldn’t be surprised the least bit.