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"F1 can survive without Ferrari" says Mosley
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"F1 can survive without Ferrari" says Mosley
Posted By:   |  02 May 2009   |  12:08 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Yesterday I met with Max Mosley for a long interview which is in today’s Financial Times.

He was in London briefly following this week’s world motor sport council meeting where the £40 million budget cap was voted through.

I posted yesterday on the letters exchanged between him and Luca Di Montezemolo Ferrari president. Ferrari are very angry about the budget cap plans and the ‘two tier’ system which might see two classes of car racing in F1 next year. Montezemolo’s letter hints at a possible legal challenge to the plans.

I asked Mosley whether F1 could survive without Ferrari.

“It could,” he said. “It would be very sad to lose them. They’ve been in the sport since the start, but if it’s a choice between that and a situation doomed to failure and which would collapse F1 …  We are not going to bend over backwards to keep them.”

Mosley described the budget cap move as “by far the biggest development in my time in the sport”.

He is confident though that this is a time for action, not for wait and see, as the economy struggles to recover from global recession and cars companies are losing £1 billion a month. But he accepts that it might go wrong and that this summer could see a damaging stand off between some teams and the FIA.

“If you are trying to make big changes things can go wrong,” said Mosley. “We may have a very damaging conflict, it’s possible, but we are prepared for that. We’d tough it out. We’ve got very little room to negotiate, but the message I’m getting from the board of two or three of the manufacturers is that if you can keep us in F1 so that the cheque we write is not more than €25 million, you can consider this a pretty permanent arrangement.”

In recent years the manufacturer-backed teams, like Honda, BMW, Toyota Mercedes and Renault have fuelled an arms race of costs, but the boards of those car companies take a different view, according to Mosley, especially now that the economic picture has deteriorated.

“We have contacts with the boards other than through the teams. The teams spin to the board. The CEO hasn’t got the time, knowledge or expertise to question it. But now because they are all [short of money] to throw away tens of millions on F1 is not acceptable.

“I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, ‘I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend £100 million more than the FIA want me to spend, then the board will say ‘Why can’t you spend £40 million if the other teams can do it?’ ”

Mosley believes that Formula 1 has “gone down the wrong track”, with the emphasis on endless costly developments, rather than genuine innovation.. He believes that the budget cap reverses that trend.

“The cleverest team is going to win, not the richest. It’s manifestly fair because it litterally is the one who makes the best invention who will succeed, Invention is cheap, it’s refinement that is expensive and F1 is now refinement orientated. It’s probably our fault for allowing rules to develop in such a way that refinement is the means of progress rather than invention.“

* Tomorrow I will post the second half of the interview, with some interesting observations from Mosley on Ron Dennis, an explanation of how the cap will be policed and thoughts on how long it will stay in F1.

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  1. Marcus says:

    James, surely Max’s plan is to use the “two tier plan” to say the teams who want to spend freely still can, and hence have less argument to not compete; but ultimately they will all choose to compete under the “capped tier” and then Max will eliminate the “uncapped tier” as it will be redundant?

  2. Tommy Karamin says:

    I have to say that I agree with Mosley on this one. The budget cap IS the way to move forward. The economic crisis would, otherwise, destroy F1. Engineers should be given the freedom and space to bring clever new ideas to the sport. And I think that by giving the chance to new teams to enter the sport, many new jobs will be created. At least as many as those which will be lost by the big teams…So, no big harm there! I’m looking forward to the new rules actually, because we have to see what will happen with the KERS etc…

  3. jed says:

    Max Mosely is 100% correct here. If ferarri quit F1 over this then so be it. “Checkbook racing” should be eliminated. If the budget is capped it is the best and the brightest that will win. 40 million is more than enough to keep F1′s dna as the most technologically advanced form of motor racing.
    More power to the FIA.

  4. Oliver Drew says:

    He (Max) is of course correct. What is fairer than every team having the same budget and then making the best of it with the best team, rather than biggest budget, winning at the end?

    I hope that this will all settle down, that the manufacturers (Fiat/Ferrari, Mercedes, Toyota, BMW) tell the teams that they will be limiting their budgets anyway and to live with it.

    F1 has to live within its means, it has to cut back and I think that the current proposals are the right thing for the long term future of the sport – not forgetting the pain of the people who will sadly lose their jobs.

    As for Ferrari leaving, if that occurs (and I do not think that it will) then so be it. I think that Ferrari’s role in the sport is generally over-played. Nobody I know who watches F1 watches it for Ferrari, they watch it because it is F1. Though of course I am one person with a few F1 friends, not the whole world!

  5. Internet says:

    Mosley is right. Ferrari needs F1 more than F1 needs Ferrari.

  6. TSN says:

    F1 will survive on a much smaller scale without Ferrari, but who really wants to watch a series where teams like Lola and Prodrive are leading the way, the budget cap will do nothing but lower the standard of F1. Ferrari should dust of that IndyCar project.

  7. Matthew says:

    doh! leave me hanging James! Good as ever. You really are one of the very best f1 journalists.. dare i say. ever?! ( I might be having a moment, I’ll check back tomorrow and confirm or deny it )

  8. MM says:

    Yeah, “invention is cheap” but genuine innovation usually leads to costly developments.

  9. John says:

    I disagree. As an engineer most of my life and also a racing driver, I think that innovation need not be expensive. With engineering you can design and spend a minimal amount to get to a level that is there or thereabouts. Where it gets expensive is chasing a tenth of a second continously all season to get to the front by spending a fortune on wind tunnel time, design work, prototyping, FEA, exotic materials testing etc etc. With budget caps on all teams you wont need to spend 15 million on a carbon fibre gearbox casing design or £5000 on a titanium nut when a magnesium/aluminium alloy one will do because no other team will have the means to do so and that way it will be a more level playing field. There is true innovation without money. Look at modern Japanese sportsbikes, they are 95% every bit as advanced design-wise as an F1 car and in some areas more so yet they cost £10,000 each. Why does an F1 steering wheel cost 10′s of thousands? does it need to be carbon fibre?, Does an F1 car need carbon mirrors? As an example go and look at at a 1970′s F1 car, far simpler, uses less exotic materials but just as elegant and still very quick and exciting to watch out on track. At that time there wasnt big budgets like we have now so the driver and innovation was more important than spending money to get to the front and the racing was closer. Its why in the late 70′s we had some weird and wonderful designs not constrained by rules and having to spend millions to get that double deck diffuser

  10. MartLee says:

    It’s funny isn’t it, when the budget cap was first mentioned my gut reaction, like many fans, was to think it would kill the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ reputation. But now I’m totally in favour.

    When teams have to focus on where to spend the money they are bound to prioritise innovation and invention, or those areas which will deliver the most track performance per £, over ‘luxuries’.

    Max’s famous example of the $1200 wheel nuts they use just once was a clever one to highlight. Whilst they might last several races, or even a whole season, with unlimited money of course you’d replace them every single tyre change just to be safe.

    The financial rewards are now so great, why risk a few grand on wheel nuts when a points finish earns you hundreds of thousands? A DNF for the sake of that would be a false economy.

    Yet I don’t agree it’s the fault of the teams. With the regulations stifling real innovation, teams innevitably spend money reducing tiny factions of percentages of failure (and build the reliability we’re seeing this season).

    Don’t blame the players, blame the game.

  11. Cameron Kelleher says:

    s

  12. Jose Arellano says:

    Why not keep pushing on cost reduction instead of this budget cap…..

  13. tEQUILLA sLAMMER says:

    what a great post Oliver!!! refreshing for someone who doesnt live and breath this daily blood letting!!! #:)he he

  14. Sam98 says:

    Max is spot on with a budget cap.

    Personally though I’d appease the manufacturers by allowing £80m over the first two year period to be split however they see fit.

    This would;

    a) allow some leeway for a “run down” year
    b) allow them to invest in significant one-off developments, like KERS, that would otherwise decimate the annualised pot in any given year
    c) allow them to invest in creating reliability – no auto manufacturer wants to see cars failing on the grid with their name all over it

    After two years, there’s bound to be a rise in the cap even if it’s only a modest few million. Everyone would meet somewhere in the middle (well a bit lower than the middle) by year 3 with the pain of the cuts behind them and experience of running with fewer resources.

  15. tarun says:

    ferrari were best all these years not due to their money but because they were most talented bunch of people out there and worked as a team
    you can take the examples of honda toyota they all spent way more than ferrari and coudnt produce a race winning car

    f1 without ferrari is totally unthinkable
    what max suggest here is that leaving the best team out of the sport and have a competition between the teams such as minardi’s
    certainly in this future of f1 we will see more of cars likes of minardi winning races than ferrari

    its totally unacceptable..the two tier is gonna ruin f1

  16. Rich says:

    Serious question, does this budget cap cover fines imposed by the fia? ask him next time you see him James!

    If it does, mclaren might as well quit now and start up another series.

  17. tarun says:

    seriously its not about ferrari winning the championship and not others
    but i wouldnt wanna watch a race between usf1 force india n the rest fighting for championship
    i dont believe that those teams have the best drivers f1 has got…
    it will be only possible for them cause of the unfair advantage given to them by this two tier system

    we want more teams in f1 but not in an 2 class race system environment
    why do fia want to reduce the level of competition certainly if you want to watch cars driving on equal capacity… watch gp2 or a1…formula 1 should be the pinnacle of the motorsport
    no dumbing down please
    its not just about ferrari, i dont see likes of bmw mclaren reducing their budgets to get into capped category
    well it would be a shame if fia tries to present ourselves with formula 1 as the pinnacle of motorsport without the likes of mclaren scuderia and those beamers fighting for it

  18. Alv says:

    It would be interesting to read what Mosley have to say about the impact that the so called ‘grey rules’ are having on costs. They should put clear rules in place to avoid ‘refinement’ imho

  19. Richard says:

    BBC are reporting this story as the banner headline on their F1 site. About half-way down the piece Mosley’s comments are attributed to an interview with ‘the financial times’.

    I’m ot meaning to stir but pretty much every F1 fan in the UK knows who James Allen is. Maybe the BBC should have defined the source of their article a little more. It surely adds greater credibility to the piece. If you were to log-on to most F1 fan sites right now you would probably get a sizeable helping of Ron Dennis getting snubbed by Lewis and the like. The quoted source is usually the Daily Mail or suchlike.

    Good quality journalism, particularly in modern F1, is rare and should be applauded and clearly attributed. Well done James.

  20. sean says:

    It’s not a question if F1 can survive without FERRARI no one is bigger than the game but it is a dangerous game the FIA are playing. This is no longer an option if you read between the lines of what max is saying he believe’s he has at least three of the board’s as well as the independent’s on board.But they may no longer be interested in competeing in a championship has been dumbed down and as for the TV companies they to may be looking at there financial commitment especially as the most popular team is not involved and regardless where your allegiances lie they have the biggest fan base, their ITALY’S national team.It may be easier for Mercedes,BMW & Renault to stepout all together remember board’s hate negative press and that’s what F1 is getting at the moment in bucket load’s. Mothball the teams or just supply engine’s until the world economy heat’s up again.

  21. dave says:

    Luca may appear to be throwing his toys out of the pram again, but his point is valid: a two-tier system will be confusing and is not the best way to proceed.

    The sport IS bigger than Ferrari, but while the his comments may be valid, Max, should not be allowed to express his opinion until he pays his fine to the FIA for bringing the sport into disrepute.

  22. Adam Tate says:

    If they want true innovation from 2010 on, they need to free up the technical regulations! That’s what has hampered most innovation, it stopped several teams when first investigating the double decker diffusers. And for heaven’s sake, why must the front wing or rear wing be exactly however many millimeters long, let there be some freedom in the shape of more of the car’s components. If you can’t change the basic things, that’s when all the tiny refinements come in, like flick ups, horns, and chimneys all came and evolved so rapidly. Maybe let them use, I dare say it, some ground effect?!

  23. Christian Stewart says:

    Max spinning away – so many obvious questions arise from his statements, I hope you followed them up.

    The real question is his position at the FIA – would the loss of Ferrari lead to his departure? With Todt being lined up as a successor, Montezemolo has Mosely in his sights.

  24. AmandaG says:

    I think it can in a way but it wouldn’t be the same without them. They are the only team that have been there from day one. The sport is losng its heritage with the new venue’s, and tbh they seem a bit samey samey. They lack the rough hard racing, they almost seem clinical. We need some sort of history to keep and Ferrari are the biggest history of the sport which is stable.

    James a quick question Ferrari related.

    Have you heard the song Felipe Baby yet? If so what do you think? (I’m a Ferrari fan and I think its brilliant).

  25. lower-case david says:

    i dunno, i kinda thought the point of blogs nowadays was sorta supposed to be a lot more Guido Fawkes, and whole lot less Robert Peston?

    1: Budget Cap
    2: ???
    3: Innovation/Profit

    go on JA, get stuck in with a bit of that old speak truth to power malarkey, the lobby credentials won’t get pulled.

    i can imagine how the CEOs and boards, who try to manage multi-billon dollar global enterprises will appreciate being publicly condescended to like this, their professional abilities and competences insulted by a small-time, stacked-deck politicker such as mosley … treated apparently as incapable children that need the bold max to intercede and parent them, poor lambs.

    no, his private team of crack paris bureaucrats, rulebook manglers and wrc grooming experts, will centrally control, specifiy, price, regulate and audit everything, including demanding full visibility of all associated and subsidiary private business accounts. (‘ere behave, stop laughing up the back, it’ll work)

    wonder what the bookies say, a cheeky tenner on Ron to be announced as ’09 FOTA-nominated candidate for FIA presidency. Luca has probably already been on the blower to tell Todt to sit this one out for now.

  26. Chaos says:

    Salary caps/ budget caps designed to even competition or reduce costs only dumb down the sport.
    In Australia Manly, last years rugby league champions, are this year 2 wins/ 6 losses and sitting 3rd last “…On death row” from the NRL site with a quater of the season gone. How much is due to the salary cap I have no idea and do not care because the sport is dull. 16 equal teams are as equally booring as interesting.
    Find another way to reduce costs rather than ensuring every winning team under a contrived system will have an astrix beside thier name.

  27. AMS says:

    Max Mosley worries that due to the current economic climate the car manufacturers would leave Formula 1. So what? That would bring back the private teams and that would make F1 what it once was. Worries about engine suppliers? There should be any… Cosworth is just waiting for an order.

    Initially I agreed with the budget cap. But I don’t anymore. Just imagine the FA putting a budget cap for the Premiership team and ban Man Utd and Chelsea to spend money because teams like Stoke or WBA can’t spend the same amount.

  28. MartinWR says:

    The major flaw in the current proposal results from the obnoxious and extremely unsatisfactory two tier regulation structure. However two tiers are at root only there because a minority of teams, with Ferrari in the forefront, insist on being allowed to win races by means of quite grotesquely excessive overspending rather than top quality design and DRIVER SKILL.

    If this small minority of players could be weaned off their addiction to financial muscle power as a means of prevailing, then the way would be open to producing a single set of rules for all the teams to work with. That would be a huge step forward, but currently the likes of Ferrari stand resolutely, dinosaur-like, in the way. It could also make it possible to retain the engine rev limit and so largely eliminate that particular unreliability factor from future competition, which the current proposal seems to be reintroducing.

    This whole problem could and should be resolved by the teams within FOTA, but their inability to agree on anything, ever, seems always to demand the external application of the jackboot to their derrieres. And as usual that’s what they are getting!

  29. F1 can survive without Ferrari” says Mosley…
    I think F1 would be better with Ferrari and without Mosley.
    Whilst Mosley’s weaknesses might entertain I think Ferrari is more integral to F1 and motor sport generally.

  30. Douglas Ross says:

    F1 without Ferrari is worse than saying F1 doesn’t need a British Grand Prix.

    Instead of looking for Ferrari to leave surely its time for Max and Bernie to go.

    If FOM did not take as much money as they do then circuits could reduce their ticket prices and increase the crowds, and more money could be split between the teams thus reducing actual costs.

    Also how much does it cost to fly the F1 entourage around the globe to places where there is no F1 history to race in front of empty stands

    Surely this is where the costs should be cut first

  31. John Kilmartin says:

    It seems to me from most replies that those who express an opinion are quite shallow thinkers. Not one question or reflection on the short term consequences of the budget cap on the operations of the higher spending teams as a going concern.

    I have no problem with cost capping. I have long been in favour but have simply considered policing difficult and equity impossible.

    If Max insists he can make it work then we have little choice but to go along (even though he has been wrong countless times before). My concerns turn to the hurried implementation and the very difficult and far reaching decisions the teams are being forced to make in a very short time.

    [moderated]

  32. sean says:

    Just had a thought what if he doesn’t get any new teams.
    USF1 no backers confirmed no engine deal yet
    LOLA looking from a distance at entering.
    PRODRIVE looking for backers just brought aston may not be able to get commitment you do have to get it for more than one season.
    Max stated these team’s will be running at the back when they enter,not exactly a great sales pitch for prospective new sponsorship.If anyone has more info at where these or more team’s are at would be good . They’ve will have to start building within the next couple of month’s surely.

  33. Tony G says:

    Max and Bernie must be so secure that F1 can survive without Ferrari that they give them preferential treatment both in financial assistance and interpretation of rules witness the Michelin affair in 2003 when all of a sudden Michelin’s tyres are too wide at Monza – not dragging them into court like McLaren for bringing the sport into disrepute after Schumacher’s stunt at Monaco, resizing rulers to allow the outsize barge boards after Malaysia, the list is endless.

    Come on, who can we collectively hate if Ferrari aren’t there?

  34. A different James says:

    Ferrari should leave. Mad Max is turning F-1 into a farce like NASCAR. Standard engines, ECU, aero, KERS, why bother? Why is he pretending to allow for technical innovation? Why not just hire an independent chassis maker like Lola, pay Cosworth to crank up the production lines, and be done with it?

    If the idiot Mosley wants to paint F-1 green, then use ethanol for fuel. Make the chassis out of recycled milk jugs instead of carbon fiber.

    As Jezza might ask, “How hard can it be?”

    Forget the inspectors. This way, Mosley knows exactly how much the chassis costs, exactly how much the engine costs, etc., so he can achieve his greatest wish: Total homogenization.

    The job isn’t complete, however: Mad Max should revive his rule of one set of tires per race, this time including practice and qualifying, thus permamently lowering speeds. Bridgestone will be forced to coat the treads with a layer of concrete to add durability. Since he’s eliminating refueling, this will eliminate the only other usual reason for a pit stop.

    Ferrari should leave. There is nothing in F-1 left for them. The idiot Mosley is intent on turning the “F61″ (or “F2010″) into a clone of every other car. 60 is a nice round number on which to end its participation in Formula One.

  35. Northern Munkee says:

    There is even less room for innovation in Indycar, which is single engine/chassis(I think)/tyre formula. Plus if anyone at Ferrari still knows it’s history, “Il Commandatore” said his cars would never race at the brickyard. Indycar was an empty threat then. The fact is apart from dropping down a formula to F3, its one make all the way, Ferrari really only has one alternative, and thats sportscars, a market its already in in GT2, GT3. So really its only area to showcase its tech’ and engineering, would be LMP1 racing Audi and Peugeot diesels, and even with the limitations the ACO have announced, diesels rule the roost. So a Ferrari diesel, and I can’t believe the ACO will rewrite its rules to favour a temporary entry of Ferrari. Temporary as it doesn’t get anything like the press, and brand promotion in the general media. Although its considerably cheaper so that they could do it for £40m. Then again, thats where we came in.

  36. Northern Munkee says:

    Oops my reply to your post if above.

    Ferrari has nowhere else to go save to take its ball home.

  37. James Allen says:

    No, Rich, any fines are exempt. That is quite explicit

  38. I agree with these comments.

    If you look at the technology world, companies like Cisco Systems make more money at the end of economic downturns than any other time. Why? Because the downturn hurts the traditional money-beats-all players but helps the small innovative guys with a good idea. Cisco is good at spotting these and buys them and makes lots of money with these plays.

    Likewise, many successful businesses are setup in times of economic hardship. Often by folks ejected from other organisations.

    They key thing about all of these is that its good design and engineering without having a huge budget – they have to be frugal to succeed. And when times get good that frugality has saved them a shed load.

    No reason it can’t be the same in the racing world.

    Getting Dave Richards back into F1 will be excellent. He has unfinished business. I think his entry will be interesting to watch.

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