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Montezemolo calls for calm in fresh F1 row
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Montezemolo calls for calm in fresh F1 row
Posted By:   |  27 Jun 2009   |  7:30 am GMT  |  31 comments

Ferrari and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo has gone on the media offensive in the past 24 hours, putting out some messages, not in response to FIA president Max Mosley’s complaints about FOTA’s behaviour, but stating his own case. He calls for an end to ‘polemics’ in F1.
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There is no hint of apology in his statements, nor a response to Mosley’s claims that the breakaway could still be on. There is only a clear reaffirmation of the principles on which FOTA negotiated the deal on Wednesday.

FOTA are very keen to show that they put the fans’ interests at the top of the agenda and so Montezemolo answered a range of questions from fans on the Ferrari website: “What I can guarantee you is that Ferrari and FOTA are busy to keep the spirit and the essence of F1 alive, constantly listening to our fans,” he said. “As far as the tracks are concerned where the races are held, the historical ones have always had a great fascination; for Ferrari and for all the other teams it will be important to get back to North America. ”

“One of the main engagements of FOTA is to reduce costs to get to the level of the early 1990s in the next two years without losing the technological and sporting challenge of the highest level.”

Montezemolo also gave a global overview of the week’s achievements,
“First of all, I think that what we have obtained are three very important elements – stability, less costs – it means coming back to the level of the costs of the 1990s and also that F1, which is far more important, will remain F1 and does not become F3. This is crucial for us.

“Of course we have to improve everything and this is why we want to be more involved in the decisions of the sport, because we want more spectators in the circuits, tickets less expensive because today the tickets are too expensive, and to have more show.

“Maybe the possibility to have some teams or all the teams to run even a third car, to have more possibility to overtake – but increasing technology research, extreme performance and overall competition.”

“Now, stop with all the polemics, because we love F1. We don’t want to contribute to … take off the big charm and the unique elements of F1.”

The idea of a third car was mooted in Bologna on Wednesday and the name of Valentino Rossi was mentioned. Rossi said yesterday that he was interested in the proposal, when his contract with Yamaha is up at the of 2010.

Incidentally, I asked yesterday whether Ferrari still has the right of veto over rule changes and the answer is “yes”. The agreement is still in place. Ferrari had launched an arbitration in Lausanne to attempt to prove that the FIA had breached the agreement and so Ferrari were not bound by it. But now that the conditions have changed, they have stopped that arbitration and view the agreement as still being in place, which means they still have the veto right.

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31 Comments
  1. Gilraen says:

    For the occasion I became a member of that forum and heard and read the responses to the fans questions.

    FOTA is making more of a positive impression of caring about F1 and fans, than FIA ie Max does.
    It’s good to see that Di Montezemolo is not apologising and just moves on.

    So Ferrari still have their veto right. Thanks for that info JA :-) That makes Max’ crusade look even sillier

  2. Harveyeight says:

    My understanding of Ferrari’s veto is that if they disagree with any changes to the regs they cannot be bound by the terms of any concord agreement with regards to tenure. In other words they could pack their bags at any time.

    Regardless of whether it remains or not at the moment, the big question is whether it will remain, or remain unique to them, in the new CA.

    At least Luca di fought off the temptation to take a swipe at Mosley – in the unlikely event of not mentioning him at all not being considered an affront – so perhaps restraint is the new watchword. FOTA must have been jubilent after Wednesday’s meeting but there are no excuses now for excessive rejoicing at others’ expense. The Formula 3 dig was, perhaps, not beyond the pale. Indeed, it served to remind us what was on the cards if FOTA had not taken a stand.

    The sugggestion of ticket prices coming down is only possible for Silverstone if CVC lower their demands as the sales are the only income for the BRDC. However, it is a free market and the masses at the circuit show that many are willing to pay the prices asked. The argument that they are unreasonable seems, er, unreasonable to me.

    Turkey, however, need to have a free gift with every ticket. Buy one, get a stand free.

    To give Ferrari their due, a lot of their promotion is fan-centric and has been over the years so the changes Luca di is proposing are not so far out of reach. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

    All the talk now seems to be about possibilites and improvements to the show. Cor! What a difference a week makes.

    It was refreshing reading something from FOTA or Mosley without nasty digs. It almost makes one hope for a new golden age.

  3. Ian says:

    I find all the posturing and petulance exhibited by both parties extremely childish and embarrassing for all concerned.

    How old are these people again?

    Yawn.

  4. David S says:

    For this;

    “What I can guarantee you is that Ferrari and FOTA are busy to keep the spirit and the essence of F1 alive, constantly listening to our fans,”

    Read;

    ” I can guarantee Ferrari will do everything in our power to control FOTA, make sure the rules of F1 are in Ferrari’s favour, and ensure that if you are a Ferrari fan you will be happy. The rest don’t matter and the other schmucks haven’t got a clue….’

    For Prancing Horse read TROJAN HORSE……

  5. Jo says:

    James, I am confused.

    When you say that Ferrari say they retain the right of veto, do they mean that they specifically had confirmed their right of veto or that they are assuming it remains in place because we have reverted back to what the situation was before this mess took hold, in which case we won’t know until the matter is tested?

    And, further, I thought the right of veto only came about in 2005 as a carrot the FIA offered to Ferrari to have them side with them over the GPMA? I did not think it was part of the 1998 Concorde Agreement (with 2000 Amendments). In which case, is it only the commercial side that is operating as per the 1998 Concorne Agreement (with 2000 Amendments)? In which case, what is the agreement that attaches the FIA’s relationship to this?

  6. John Bee says:

    If Ferrari keep their veto, that’s pretty much the end of F1 for me and no doubt many others. They can’t claim the moral high ground, whilst being in a position to torpedo innovative work by the other teams. If there was a Top Ten for F1 dirty tricks, this veto would be at No 1.

    We’ve seen Renault suffer because their mass damper was banned and it’s become obvious it was banned, because Ferrari objected to it, when they were unable to get the damper to work on their chassis. I’m certain there are other instances of Ferrari using the veto which we’ve never been made aware of.

    If Ferrari won’t drop their veto, pressure should be applied to force them to do it and I don’t want them to receive money from Bernie as compensation if they do lose this totally unfair advantage.

  7. jw1980 says:

    An interesting report James. How much influence does FOTA have over the calendar? This surely will be the next battleground. FOTA wanting the calendar tailored to the needs of the fans, FOM to where the money is. Ultimately I do not believe the likes of Malaysia, China, Turkey et al will be prepared to pay mega bucks for the right to hold a GP for much longer. I also sense that Bernie is tired of the lack of local support for such events (note his comments for China for this year). What part does CVC play in this? A mixture of the FIA calendar and FOTA’s calendar would be ideal. Tilke’s circuits may not be perfect but by and large they are superior to the new circuits built in the 80s such as Jerez and Hungaroring. Returning to North America is essential, maintaining a presence in Asia beneficial (Japan, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and India (due to their increasing interest in the sport)), races in Australia, Brazil and South Africa (very enthusiastic for the sport in this country – go to Maputo in Mozambique on GP weekends to see why) all underpinned by a strong European section.
    Third cars is also a fascinating prospect. Would this be for a number of teams, just Ferrari or everyone? How would this effect the new teams, grid sizes, etc?
    The one negative in this report would be Ferrari’s veto. We saw how this indirectly affected last year’s world championship. Thankfully Hamilton won the world championship but what would have been one of the greatest races of all time was ruined by poor stewarding (Belgium). You can’t help but feel that once everything settles down again Ferrari could be in cahoots with FIA and dubious stewarding could return….

  8. Louis says:

    Hopefully Ferrari’s going to use that veto right – when necessary – on behalf of FOTA and not unilaterally against the other teams? Seems like they’re going along greatly.

  9. ati says:

    So little Monte first started the ‘polemics’, right after the deal, he could not even wait 1 second to patronize and call people dictators. And now he knows he made an arrogant mistake, jeopardizing the deal, others mustn’t involve themselves in ‘polemics’.

    It shows it’s not just Max who is the problem. He is too. Both should leave F1 with their childish ‘polimics’.

    When will adults get their jobs?

  10. GP says:

    The revelation that Ferrari has kept its right of veto is surprising. I would love to hear the other team principals’ reasons for allowing it. How can a professional sport allow such unfair play? I find it hard to understand.

    Surely, somebody is going to challenge such a preposterous clause.

  11. Ambient Sheep says:

    Ferrari still have the veto right?!? Oh dear, that’s grim. Not good news at all. :-(

  12. Malcom says:

    James a little off topic, but will you be replacing Peter Windsor who does pit coverage and also offers commentary during the race at Speed Channel here in the United States?

  13. Rob says:

    Is it possible that the contract Ferrari has with FOTA obliges them to only use their right of veto under direct instruction from FOTA based on a vote within the group?

    That would be a good thing as it would allow the group to keep the FIA from meddling.

    Might also explain why the others arent upset over the Ferrari veto – because it effectively gives FOTA in general a veto.

  14. Rudy Pyatt says:

    The idea of third cars is appealing. No doubt some teams – Williams? – will protest that this will give too much advantage to bigger teams in the Constructors’ championship. Such fears are misplaced, fly in the face of history and current practice, and are, in any event, are easily addressed.

    Third and even fourth entries with “guest drivers” were common in F1 from until the ’70s (so were customer chassis, but that’s for a later rant). MotoGP still does it, via “wildcard” entries. New driving/riding talent was, and is, found this way. New teams in particular can bring in new driving-blood this way — and extra income.

    It’s the most logical way to use rent-a-drivers (offsetting the cost of a third car) and build interest in new(er) markets (further offsetting the cost of a third car via one-off sponsorship, itself something that could lead to a broader commercial arrangement with that sponsor): The planned round in India, for instance, would allow Force India to put a local driver (with a superlicense of course) into a third car. Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are obvious names for guest drivers here in the US. Doubtless there are many such talents, in the UK alone.

    Bernie Ecclestone should endorse this idea for marketing benefit alone; it will certainly “add to the show” as the major players claim to be seeking.

    The concern over constructor’s points is easily solved: Just award points to the highest two finishing cars from each team. Drivers points would count for everyone. This will give incentive to those drivers with designs on the championship to race with maximum effort for maximum points and pass on-track — or risk dropping critical points to someone not competing in every round.

    Obviously, the Sporting regs will have to be changed, i.e., ending the ban on spare cars and allowing teams to nominate third drivers, on a per race basis.

    Local talent aside, it will help teams evaluate talent they have on their testing/reserve/young driver rosters; or put an experienced hand in the cockpit to increase the odds of getting points for the team.

    Yes, I heard you: Dump the “no team orders rule” too.

  15. Foobar says:

    Remember that the veto only – AFAIK – allows the Ferrari to disagree with any new rules proposals.

    This means that vetoing any existing rule is beyond the scope of Ferrari’s rights (eg. the double diffuser issue).

  16. Jeremiah says:

    I hope that Mosley gets re-elected and that we end up like we were a few weeks ago.
    After the dust settles, this has all been window-dressing for the masses.

    The fans have not been taken into account. What we wanted was something else, a newer and better racing with historic venues, better opportunities for all teams, revenue sharing for the good of the sport, etc.
    Instead we have ended up with the same old shady oligarchy with a little bit of lipstick on it.

  17. Gilraen says:

    Aks yourself who signed the contract with Ferrari giving them that veto right and when and why…..
    Hint: 2005, GPMA.

    Now, for that reason alone we need to be wary of Ferrari’s position, I agree. But for the time being it is Mosley who is really loosing it.

  18. Mike says:

    I was wondering when the rules for 2010 will be formalised?

    There seems to be a lot of uncertainty and I’d have thought this will be seriously hampering the new teams in particular.

    After the farce over the badly-written rules that led to the diffuser controversy, I hope the FIA gets its act together this time.

    For example, the question of how big the fuel tank needs to be must be quite important?

  19. CanadianFan says:

    I can’t believe I’m siding with anyone from Ferrari, but I agree with LdM that the polemics need to end. Now, would someone take MM aside and convince him of the same thing? Unless the FIA wants to prove they are incapable of running a soap-box derby, let alone F1, they need to muzzle MM until after the October election, or at least lock him away in a padded room until then. If they can’t shut him up, they all need to resign, en masse, and get some fresh blood involved, including people who are not senile, out of touch with reality, and just too old to care anymore.

  20. Howard Hughes says:

    Once in the 70s, when Luca was at the helm of Enzo’s Ferrari team, he turned up at a house party one sunny day in Italy wearing leather trousers and a leather jacket, with nothing on underneath.

    Someone suggested a swim, as it was hot… No problems for Luca, who calmly stood up, stripped off before everyone, and dived naked into the pool.

    But I digress.

    There is no way on this Earth he will even begin to sniff at putting FOTA or the fans’ interests before those of Ferrari. I wouldn’t trust him with my baby nephew’s toys.

  21. Julian Smallwood says:

    What has Max said today………

    Please resurrect the breakaway NOW otherwise this “loony” will never stop

  22. Rich says:

    So… we’re back to status quo.
    What a waste of energy.
    All the talk about restraining spending is just waay too fuzzy to ever be enforced.
    So the new teams will be outspent by several billion and fail pretty quickly. And therefore not making Ferrari look bad.
    And its become pretty obvious Montezemolo thinks *he should be running FIA. Thankfully that hasnt happened – yet!

    Wonderful. I wonder if the IRL is on tv somewhere today…

  23. Rudy Pyatt says:

    … and Max now says that he’s getting pressure to remain and stand for re-election.

    Peter Windsor is about to appear on WindTunnel on Speed. It will be interesting to hear his opinion.

  24. Graham says:

    The teams shouldn’t sign anything until Mosley resigns with immediate effect and agrees in a signed contract not to have anything to do with the FIA forever. Make it a non-negotiable term to avoid a breakaway… or just break away and be done with it all.

    Mac has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to keep his word or to stop with all the acrimony so he must be dispensed with ASAP.

  25. Harveyeight says:

    Carlos Gracia, the highest ranking Spanish motor racing official and an FIA World Council member, has, it would appear, thrown his hat into the ring for the presidency. What other conclusion is there for:

    “Unless Max has gone even more mad I don’t think he’ll back Jean Todt because we all know where he comes from and who he’s linked to.”

    Which seems strange as everyone knows of the somewhat strained relationship between Luca and Jean. And then, perhaps fearing a Ferrari supported challenger, says:

    “I don’t support Max Mosley to the death, but what I am totally in favour of, to the death, is respect for our institutions.”

    Calling Max mad and madder is a way of showing respect then, Carlos?

    He finishes by suggesting that:

    “The worst thing you can do is leave an animal badly wounded. What Luca has managed to do is reactivate Max.”

    From this report, it would appear that Gracia is unlikely to leave anyone bleeding but instead go for the throat.

    So he’s called Max mad, Todt unsupportable and Luca lacking in respect. Not bad for one press briefing. Why doesn’t he just stand up and say: Vote for me?

    Report taken from the normally very reliable F1-Live.

    http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090630100651.shtml

  26. Phil H says:

    Spot on David – I can’t believe everyone is falling for this “we love the fans” propoganda from LDM.
    History shows Ferrari don’t give a rats about the fans – for example, think back to Indy 2005.
    Also, while under Luca’s direction, they made modern F1 so boring that millions turned off watching.
    Their ‘win at all costs’ attitude has driven rival teams like Honda & Jordan etc out of the sport and is one of the main causes of the problems it faces today.
    He was also prepared to damage the sport by breaking it two.

  27. Kevin says:

    Please don’t blame Ferrari for Indy 2005!

    Also, ‘win at all costs’ sounds like a pretty good motto for an F1 team.

  28. rpaco says:

    Kevin
    That sounds like the Stig! (Schmui)
    No I know he wasn’t really (in the usual group of Stigs) and apparently he used slicks on Top Gear in the FXX and so was disqualified. Sounds even more like him, win at any cost!
    Still he was a very popular guest.

  29. knoxploration says:

    As somebody who was one of the fans *at* Indy 2005, I have to say you’re placing the blame in entirely the wrong place. Michelin was responsible for that debacle, and the only solution they would consider was to have the track altered via a chicane so as to place the Bridgestone teams at the same disadvantage Michelin had placed itself in.

    Do you really think, were the situation reversed, that the Michelin teams would’ve agreed to discard their advantage had it been Bridgestone that didn’t bring an adequate supply of tires or attempt to obtain one after realising their mistake?

    Of course not, so why should the Bridgestone teams have done the same? The Michelin teams had plenty of options to get them safely through the race, and they refused to even consider them solely because they wouldn’t be able to beat Bridgestone.

    Not to mention that while you insist Montezemolo “was prepared to damage the sport by breaking it two [sic]“, you ignore the fact that every single other current F1 team agreed with Ferrari’s stance – even Williams and Force India who both publicly signed the letter agreeing with the other FOTA teams’ stance, even if contractual obligations forced them to sign up despite not liking the new rules package.

    Care to cite a statistic showing how F1′s viewership has dropped by millions as you suggest, by the way? I’m going to guess… no, because you don’t actually have one, right? ;-)

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