Ferrari have been forced to rename their new Formula One car in order to avoid a court battle with Ford.
The Italian team had named their new car the F150, which they hope can help Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa to the world championship in 2011, as a means of marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
However, Ford objected claiming that this represented a trademark infringement as their F-150 truck is one of their best-selling models in the United States. It has been reported that the American manufacturer filed court papers asking for Ferrari to be barred from using the name and seeking unspecified damages.
Ferrari have attempted to avoid a dispute by renaming their F1 car the F150th Italia, although the Italian marque insist they do not believe there was any confusion.
A Ferrari statement read: “On the subject of the name of the new Ferrari Formula One car, the Maranello company wishes to point out that it has sent a letter of reply to Ford, underlining the fact that the F150 designation (used as the abbreviated version of the complete name, which is Ferrari F150th Italia) never has, nor ever will be used as the name of a commercially available product – indeed there will definitely not be a production run of single-seaters.
“In fact, it has always been the case in the history of Scuderia names, that they represent the nomenclature of a racing car project and are linked to a chronological order with a technical basis, or in exceptional cases, to special occasions.
“This year, the decision was taken to dedicate the car name to a particularly significant event, the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, an event of such great importance that the Italian government has declared, for this year only, a national holiday.
“For these reasons, Ferrari believes that its own contender in the forthcoming F1 championship cannot be confused with other types of commercially available vehicle of any sort whatsoever, nor can it give the impression that there is a link to another brand of road-going vehicle. Therefore it is very difficult to understand Ford’s viewpoint on the matter.
“To further prove it is acting in good faith and that it operates in a completely correct manner, Ferrari has decided to ensure that in all areas of operation, the abbreviated version will be replaced at all times with the full version, Ferrari F150th Italia.”