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Theatre from Montezemolo but the intent is clear
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Theatre from Montezemolo but the intent is clear
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jun 2009   |  5:27 pm GMT  |  26 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo made a high-profile visit to the Le Mans 24 hours today and was the official starter of the event.

His visit had been planned for some time and was highly symbolic; the Le Mans 24 hours is not sanctioned by the FIA and with the fall out over Formula 1 entries for 2010 Montezemolo was keen to show that there is life beyond the current set up in F1.

FOTA has made it clear in the last 24 hours that it wants to see reform of the way in the FIA is run and is urging the body to act against it’s president Max Mosley. Failing that, he made it clear that a breakaway remains an option.

“Everybody sees what is happening in Formula 1. I do not understand the reason,” he said. “Anyway I think our conditions are constructive, are very clear: governance, stable rules – the people don’t understand any more rules that change every six months, one day it’s KERS, another day it’s standard engines – and looking ahead to have a balance between cost and revenues, to let new commerce enter.

“I’m very pleased to have new teams, and when I say teams I mean Formula 1 not Formula 3.

“I don’t think it is possible to compete at the maximum level, I mean to try to win in too many series. I think there is Formula 1, there is racing like Le Mans, and racing in the United States which is extremely challenging – as I mentioned before, Indy or something like this.

“Our intention is to continue to participate in Formula 1 if there are the conditions. If not, as I say to our tifosi all around the world who have been in touch with us on our internet in an unbelievable way, the DNA of Ferrari is competition. If we stop in F1 we will do something else, and for sure Le Mans will be one of our first priorities.”

“There is a historical connection between Ferrari and the 24 Hours and I am glad to be here to start one of the races of which I admire the spirit of competition you can feel here,” Montezemolo said. “We have many things in common; for example the connection to the terroir: I can see the people living here and they are happy and proud to host this great event and collaborate to set it up, just like it happens at Maranello. It’s true that many years have passed since the last overall win of a Ferrari in this race and I have a dream, which is also a wish, to see sooner or later an official car starting in the race.”

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26 Comments
  1. Rhys Xanthis says:

    Any idea on when this so-called “Dossier” will show up James?

    Surely it has to be by Monday evening, otherwise there is very little time…

    And from what I read, Max is supported by some hardliners in the World Motorsport Council…any chance at all of him being removed by the WMC (and most of our problems would disappear…funny that!)?

  2. Ged says:

    No doubt Max is preparing his retort & will unleash it in the next day or two.

    Given that he’s recently said, “F1 does not need Ferrari” only for him to prove that oh yes it/he does, when he put them on the entry list against their will…

    And given that he said the manufacturer CEO’s were in favour of his measures only for ACEA to issue a blatant statement against him…

    I’m not sure there will be any substance behind the bravado.

  3. Leo Allen says:

    Many of us think Mosley and Ecclestone, having created modern F1, are now in the process of destroying what they created. They should go. They should go now, and give the tremendous world-dominating series F1 now is, the chance to grow and reach an even wider world audience.

    Mr Mosley and Mr Ecclestone, your day is over…..

    But then I read what Sen. Montezemolo says and the shallowness and deviousness of his message chills….
    His deliberate appeal to the worst instincts of people for whom Ferrari can do no wrong. People whose depth of perception goes no deeper than the flame red paint on his company’s racing cars. If ever there was a risk of us F1 enthusiasts jumping out of the frying pan into the fire it would be to listen uncritically to people like Montezemolo.
    Whose only aim is to keep Ferrari’s exclusive and biased advantages operating on full power into the forseeable future.

    Montezemolo is the CEO of a major Italian commercial operation whose sole aim is to exercise control over their most powerful marketing tool…F1. He will say and do whatever it takes to further that end.

    As far as I am concerned Montezemolo’s concept is at least as dangerous for the generality of F1 as is the current FIA/FOM mismanagement.
    power base.

  4. Chris G says:

    I’m sure Le Mans would love to have Ferrari back…but on the rebound? Bit fickle.

  5. Kloothommel says:

    Breakaway should happen now, get rid of the Max ‘lord of the rings’ and Bernie ‘my precious’ for good.

  6. Alex T says:

    Di Montezemolo just sounds like a grumpy old man. I think he has been in the game too long and it would actually benefit FOTA and Ferrari if he were to retire. Statements like this don’t help his team, Formula 1 or getting the mess sorted out. And as for Ferrari going on about double diffusers again – tough – they weren’t clever enough.

    We all remember the Ferrari Indycar stunt in 1987 – if these statements are meant to be brinkmanship he should have taken lessons from the Old Man Ferrari. He really knew how to ratchet up a situation!

  7. nick says:

    He does have a point. What is up with all these rule changes to “cut costs”?
    In 2006 they switched to V8s in order to costs. Redesigning a whole new engine is not a cheap endeavor.
    This year saw immense rule changes that shook up the status and caught mclaren and Ferrari napping.
    And now Mosley wants to completely change the car for 2010? What will happen in 2011? V6s all round?
    Max has to go before the series becomes slower than gp2

  8. Jonathan Gitlin says:

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say the FIA has nothing to do with Le Mans – the ACO is affiliated with them, and if there was no link or oversight, how could the Peugeot team be appealing their protest against the Audi R15s to the FIA next week? http://openpaddock.net/?p=1185

  9. roberto says:

    Dear James,

    I think Montezemolo is playing the game at perfection, he took advantage of a prestigious scene, were carmakers that doesn’t compete in F1 run their cars (Audi, Peugeot) and simply said to the FIA you can take your F1 and put it wherever you want it because we Ferrari can go anywhere we want and 8 teams will follow us.

    I think the only way the problem will be settled is with Mosley’s resignation, all cards are on the table, I doubt that at this point a win win situation exists.

  10. RB says:

    Interesting, the LeMans event simultaneously runs multiple classifications of cars.

  11. Simon Smith says:

    Hello,

    What’s the difference between KERS and Hybrid Engine Technology?

    Potentially KERS is one of the rare pieces of technology that could seap into the mass car population,
    unlike traction control or Paddle Gear Shift.

    Simon

  12. sean says:

    Hi James
    How does the FIA work. Do all rule change’s have to go via commitee, then voted on by a board then handed back through the appropriate manager’s etc.We don’t seem to hear how the process that these decision’s are reached or do they just make it up as they go.

  13. LameDuck says:

    More saber rattling. There’s no way LeMans could replace F1 as a marketing vehicle and he know that. I would expect to see Ferarri in LeMans as well as F1, they have to money to do it.

    Right now I don’t care if they break away or not, I just want it sorted, I’m sick of it and Frankly, if I could get my money back for the Hungarian Grand Prix, I wouldn’t go now…

  14. MartinWR says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the attempt by the ACEA (the European car makers), or perhaps I should say its president Renault boss Carlos Ghosn, to meddle in F1 is ludicrlous, and takes the politicking to a new and quite inappropriate level? If this is all they are good for, I am beginning to think that it would be better if family car manufacturers got out of F1 altogether, and left it to those whose core business and sole raison d’etre is winning races. Good for Williams, they look more and more like the sort of outfit, in terms of size and commitment, that should be the model for F1 to aim at.

    FOTA are flailing around madly in a pathetic attempt to ramp up the pressure on the FIA by every possible means. In doing so they are making F1 and themselves look ridiculous. The long term commitment to F1 of family car manufacturers will always be uncertain, because F1 is no more than a side-show for them. Their commitment is even more uncertain than ever now, with demand for family cars decimated. For all the noise they are currently making, any of these manufacturers could pull out of F1 at the drop of a hat, as they have frequently done in the past. Whilst pinning all the blame on Max Mosley of course.

  15. AC says:

    Why “theater”, because Di Montezemolo is Italian?

  16. Jim says:

    Hi,
    F1 is the top race and should have the top cars whatever the cost. Dump Mosley and Ecclestone before they ruin F!.
    I look forward to Jensons next win.

  17. Spenny says:

    Here is a question for you to ferret out, James, which having had a weekend away from it all, popped into my head:

    Have the FIA determined whether Ferrari have entered under the cost capped or uncapped route? It seems to me that this is an Achilles Heel – the conditional entry was based on the 2009 rules, and therefore Ferrari made no determination of which 2010 conditions – which had to be specified – they were entering under. How can the FIA dictate the commercial terms under which Ferrari have entered?

  18. Bill G says:

    Not for the same prize though….

  19. MS says:

    I was about to say the same. It’s funny how Ferrari’s argument has gone from complaining about a two-tier championship to just an all-out character assassination on the FIA and Mosely once the idea of a two-tier championship was dropped.

    And I wish Ferrari would drop the whole “we’re doing badly because of the rules” argument; everyone (including Red Bull, who didn’t have a double-deck diffuser) have been racing under the same rules.

    Ferrari are supremely arrogant, and I personally wouldn’t miss them. The sport would suffer though, and a lot of support around Europe would go.

  20. MartinWR says:

    Nice to see a thoughtful contribution to the debate for once, and one that eschews the all too frequent jingoistic reverence for the spoilt brat of F1, Ferrari. There is great fault on both sides, unfortunately. The disastrous introduction of KERS, which left the teams that lavished an absolute fortune on it trailing behind the teams that didn’t use it, and at the bottom of the championship table, was a typical example of the FIA’s misguided governance of the sport, and completely at odds with the aim of bringing down costs. But in the real world, short of Bernie buying F1 back from CVC and clearing its debts and interest burden (unlikely), the only choice will be between the FIA, with all its faults, and Montezemolo of Ferrari and the mass market car makers, for whom F1 is little more than a whim. Reluctantly, I know which of the two makes the most sense, or at least, is the least worse option in the circumstances.

  21. Suzy says:

    Who are the “family car manufacturers “? Ferrari, who have been in the sport since the beginning? Renault, who were winning the very first Grand Prix in 1906? Mercedes, who are in racing since the beginning of the 20. century?

    All this bla-bla about “garagists” having more passion for and tradition in racing is such an unjustified myth.

  22. Leo Allen says:

    Brilliantly put MartinWR !

    For all the big vehicle manufacturers F1 is simply a marketing tool ..! Oh yes, they can wrap themselves in their national flags and bang on about their company’s ‘sporting heritage’…….what a load of tripe ! They’re in it to flog tin boxes ! ( and as for the usual line trotted out by fans of a certain red car, to the effect that Ferrari is a pure sporting line running right back to Enzo, all we need to remind ourselves is that Ferrari is owned and run by Fiat. That tin box makers don’t come much bigger than Fiat. That Fiat is seen by the current Italian government as representing Italy to the world. QED.

    That said, I would hate to see Ferrari leave F1. They provide so much entertainment throughout every season.
    Whether its fuel hoses forming a line dance down the pit lane, or the latest outburst of toys-thrown-out-of-pram
    or petulant posturing, life in F1 would be so much duller without the Maranello Mob…..

  23. Tifoso says:

    200% nail on head, Suzy

  24. rpaco says:

    KERS is a means of recovering energy from the slowing process, in F1 the energy is allowed to be derived from the Transmission train rather than just the brakes. However it is a very “Green” concept and a step in the right direction for “greenness”. Current capped 2010 regs allow KERS to be applied on all four wheels, that is a huge challenge and will allow some very significant advances in electrical braking technology if anyone can afford to do it under the cap which is extremely unlikely.

    A Hybrid engine can have both a petrol or diesel engine AND an electric motor plus huge batteries/fuel cells to store the electricity to drive the motor, example the Toyota Pious, sorry Prius. In fact the amount of carbon expelled during the manufacture of such vehicles far exceeds that of conventional vehicles and they will need to be driven very frugally for many many years until they revert to the total emission levels of conventional vehicles.

    Sorry if above is too verbose (as I have been told before) but I could write several pages on the subject(s)

  25. simon wilson says:

    Well hate to say this but traction control and paddle shift are 2 of the technologies that have already crossed into production cars

  26. rpaco says:

    Read Technical regs Article 2.2 and sporting regs Appendix 5.

    However you will see that Mosely has totally disregarded those regs.
    There is also the mystical Concorde agreement which supposedly contains legally binding clauses covering money, regs and all and sundry but it is a secret, which is only ever invoked as a source of authority for some of the rule changes decisions without any other explanation. It ran out in 2008 but extensions were supposedly signed by the teams as the only means of getting their money from Bernie, though they each seem to have signed different versions of it. Note that “Concorde agreement” has been struck out of the Tech regs for 2010 as a source of authority.

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