Vasseur rules out using Ferrari's ultimate veto - for now

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Now that he's taken over as Ferrari principal, Frederic Vasseur has what amounts to Formula 1's 'nuclear button' in his hands - the Scuderia's unique power of veto over any and all rule changes, which no other team possesses.

The controversial measure, which was retained the last time that the Concorde Agreement was renegotiated in 2019, means that Ferrari can unilaterally block any regulation change it feels is not in its or the sport's interest.

Ferrari was given this power in the 1980 when it was feared that they could walk away from the sport altogether, which threatened to mortally damage F1 at the time.

The veto was originally a demand made by Enzo Ferrari to ensure that Bernie Ecclestone's FOCA team association could not unilaterally establish or change F1's rules without Maranello's consent.

Former FIA president Jean Todt - himself a previous Ferrari team principal - often suggested that the veto should now be discarded altogether, but it remains in place to this day.

"Will we ever use it? I doubt it," said Ferrari's then-CEO Louis Camilleri in 2019 when the veto was last discussed. "Just the fact of having it, does it get people’s attention? I think so.

Ferrari logo. 25.10.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Practice Day.

"Everyone, including our direct competitors, realises that Ferrari is key to F1 and F1 is key to Ferrari," he added. "If Ferrari were to exit F1, would it be the same thing? I don't think so."

Although it's rarely used, Ferrari did utilise the veto to block proposals to cap the cost of customer power units in 2015.

Now that he's taken over from Mattia Binotto as team principal at Maranello, the veto's future use lies in the hands of Vasseur - although he doesn't directly wield it himself, as he explained to the media recently.

"It's a team representative and an F1 Commission representative on the World [Motorsport] Council," Vasseur noted, following a meeting of the F1 Commission in Bahrain which he said "was quite smooth and we'll have a debrief about it."

"I'm supposed to vote in function of the decisions of the teams, this is crystal clear," he continued. "[But] the quality of the job done at the F1 Commission level is very good.

"When we are bringing something [forward], the next step I think is quite finalised," Vasseur added.

"I think Ferrari have never used [the veto] in the past because of the level of work done at the F1 Commission," he suggested. "Even if sometimes we are not on the same page and are fighting each other!

"I don't see where we could use [the veto] in the short term," he asserted. "I mean that honestly."

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