As the last of the big three hybrid hypercars to get its full public release the LaFerrari has won the Mexican stand-off against the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1. Ferrari now knows what it has to beat to win the schoolyard arguments.
To help win that battle the LaFerrari, like its two adversaries before it, will offer itself to the world’s leading motoring journos for judgement. For a car of this significance the media cycle is a carefully regimented process which relies on agreements between manufacturer and journalist to ensure words and images are fired off in a coordinated assault to gain maximum impact for the manufacturer. That’s the price the gilt-edged invitation brings for the motoring hack.
In the case of the LaFerrari you’re going to be reading all about it next week, from 30 April, as the first of two embargoes is lifted. Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar is one of the lucky A-listers who will be able to tell the world what he thinks about the LaFerrari from day one. He’s detailed the process in a recent blog entry, and explains a second embargo is in place for what we will call B-list media outlets.
The A-listers, those invited to the launch by Ferrari, will be free to publish their thoughts next Wednesday, while the B-listers, the outlets who will syndicate the words of Sutcliffe and his A-list mates, will have to wait another month before they can go public on 26 May. A whole month! It will be old news by then.
The issue here is that Ferrari has changed the rules slightly. Originally the B-list date was 12 May and notice to that effect had previously been issued by Ferrari. We’re not sure why the late change has been made, but as Sutcliffe explains:
“Editors of the world’s car magazines and websites that haven’t been invited to drive the car direct, and who were relying on those who have to provide words and pictures to publish on 12 May, have just gone into a complete flat spin. Hundreds of cover stories that were due to hit the streets globally about the car on or very soon after 12 May have just disappeared into the ether.”
To enforce its new media deadline Ferrari has said it will fine any journalist or media outlet who chooses to break that second embargo. It’s been reported that the cost of that fine will be €50,000.
The question now remains, would a magazine be able to recoup the cost of a €50K fine in extra sales if they go early with a LaFerrari cover story? And if an editor does choose to break the embargo, accepting the fine in the process, what’s to stop them from going live much earlier than even the original 12 May embargo?
If you’ve made it to the end of this article you may well be interested in Jalopnik’s thoughts on the embargo system, which it shared with the world in April last year.