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Montezemolo takes aim at the future
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Nov 2011   |  4:56 pm GMT  |  127 comments

There has been a lot of chatter in the last 24 hours with reference to statements made by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo yesterday at the Finali Mondiali event at Mugello.

Many commentators have read Montezemolo’s line as “Ferrari boss threatens F1 pullout” but it isn’t easy to decode his message here. I’m not sure that he meant to go that far on this occasion and that’s why the notorious Horse Whisperer was deployed on Monday to play down suggestions that Montezemolo was making threats.

What is clear is that he was doing something he likes to do from time to time, firing off some criticisms of the current state of F1 and he threw in the line “Formula 1 is still our life, but without Ferrari there is no Formula 1, just as without Formula 1 Ferrari would be different.”

He also said, “If they still want Ferrari then F1 must change and go back to being about advanced research, with the necessary attention to costs.”

What I think is going on here is a bit of frustration with the season just gone and the poor performance of his team (he later picked up team boss Stefano Domenicali for not being ambitious enough in his stated ambitions for 2012), combined with a desire to spell out that we are now at a delicate moment for the sport, with just over a year until the expiry of the Concorde Agreement, in which to agree the shape of the sport post 2012 and that the teams, governing body and commercial rights holders need to come together and get the right blue print for the next phase of the sport.

Far from this being about Ferrari going out on a limb to threaten to walk away if it doesn’t get what it wants, Ferrari is broadly on the same page as the other teams in seeing this moment as an opportunity, even if they done’t all agree on some of his ideas, such as third cars and more testing.

This is an episode in an unfolding narrative and it’s important always to remember the big picture. Talking to many of the team principals recently, with this next round of Concorde negotiations coming up, the sport has an opportunity to make some changes and to set itself up for the future.

The teams feel, for example, that they generate all kinds of data during race weekends, which fans would love to access. Team radio only scratches the surface of it and they’d love to do more with the internet to bring that to the fans. But that isn’t possible in the current set up. All of these things need to be brought up and discussed and tied into the future plan.

In terms of revenue sharing, as well as negotiating how the cake should be divided up, they also want to enlarge the cake and want to play a part in that.

Although Bernie Ecclestone says that F1 doesn’t need another Concorde Agreement, it is vital for his partners CVC if they are to make an exit. Without all the teams signed up to race they have an asset which is hard to value and thus hard to sell and there are buyers wanting to make that move.

Before the teams sign on the dotted line, they have an opportunity to play a role in shaping the next generation of F1 and no-one appreciates that better than Montezemolo, who has been involved in F1 one way or another via the Agnelli family and Ferrari since the mid 1970s.

So, Montezemolo’s words come at a time when many things are on the table from technical rules to intellectual property exchange to testing. And looking at the success of team led initiatives like the DRS wing, in response to research with fans who said they want to see more overtaking for example, there is a confidence among teams that they can play a central role in scoping out the future.

Of course there is always the latent threat of Ferrari leaving the sport, should their path to this be blocked, but that always exists and this threat has always been Ferrari’s most powerful lever.

It’s not the first time he’s reminded everyone of Ferrari’s historical roots in the sport and its importance to the sport and it won’t be the last.

With the state of crisis in Italy at the moment, it appears that the routes into politics for him are more difficult now. I think he can see a role for himself in F1 for the future. Far from leaving the sport, he can see a way of staying central to it.

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127 Comments
  1. Merlinghnd says:

    I must say I have heard it allbefore in one way or another.

    As I understand it, Ferrari get the largest share if the pie under the present Concorde Agreement because of their “historical standing” in F1.

    Would Montezemolo take a cut in this to make F1 fairer, I don’t suppose so.

    Always wonderd where Ferrari would go if they pulled out of F1, empty threat in my view.

    1. franed says:

      A cut of 50% would bring them in line with other teams.
      Stopping the banned Philip Morris money would be fairer too.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        How would stopping their main sponsor be fair?

    2. Shane says:

      I think Ferrari would go wherever they want, and McLaren, RedBull and Mercedes would join them (note: I did not say follow).

      Who wants to compete in Formula 1 without the possibility of beating Ferrari? RBR are so fantastic because they are up against the likes of Ferrari and McLaren (and Williams for that matter).

      Ferrari’s reported $50,000,000 per year is well earned. They have remained in F1 through thick and thin and in my opinion they deserve it. As McLaren increase their longevity, their share increases too (as do all teams). I would argue that at some point McLaren and Ferrari should be made relatively equal.

      1. . says:

        Give all other teams 50 mill extra to spend like Ferrari and Ferrari would not finish in the top 10.

      2. Shane says:

        I don’t disagree, but for a sport so steeped in history I think Ferrari are due their money for sticking with it.

      3. Liam in Sydney says:

        Give all other teams 50 mill extra to spend like Ferrari and Ferrari would not finish in “the top 10.”

        Yes, but that’s not the point, is it? It is simply a reward for Ferrari’s participation while every other car manufacturuer has come and gone, and can’t be trusted for the long haul. Fair? Maybe, maybe not, but since when was the money behind F1 supposed to be fair?

      4. wayne says:

        The extra money does not give Ferrari an on track advantage over the other BIG teams. If the resource restriction agreement says ‘you can only spend X’, then regardless of how much money you have avaialble you can still only spend X. What the extra money does is help protect the rest of Ferrari’s business from the risk/reward ratio of taking part in F1.

        I’m not syaing I agree with the fcat that Ferrari are an exception, but that’s how it is (if the RRA is worth the paper it is written on).

      5. LT says:

        Who wants to compete in Formula 1 without the possibility of beating Ferrari?

        Everyone! Because RB is the benchmark to beat not the reds. If they do leave (which I don’t think they will) good riddance IMO.

      6. Bru72 says:

        Red Bull….Jaguar…..Stewart? All the same team. Next year they may have another name. Nobody would care if they changed name again, as they are not a team that people get emotionally attached to, just a brand.

      7. wayne says:

        I don’t agree with ‘good riddance to Ferrari’ but I do agree that teams should be more interested in beating RBR currently than Ferrari.

        And Bru72, Ferrari is also just a brand. Other road car manufacturers make cars at least as good as Ferrari (The new McLaren MP road car is reviewed as utterly exceptional) but it is the brand that makes the difference.

      8. wayne says:

        This is a nice point. Other car manufacturers do indeed use F1 as short term exoperiments, Ferrari deserve some recognition for ‘sticking with it’. However, the Likes if Williams and McLaren will at some point deserve the same treatment.

        I suppose it could be argued that in the age of resource restrictions, the extra cash does not even give Ferrari any sort of advantage – it’s not liek they can take that extra 50 mil and use it on top of what they would spend anyway. At least this woudl eb the case if the resource restriction agreement was anything more than the usual F1 smoke and mirrors.

        What I do not agree with is this idea that there is no F1 without Ferrari. That is utterly ridiculous in every sense. Maybe there would be a small short term-drop off, but many of these people would come back. And new fans from all over the world watch F1 every month, most of these guys are not interested in the histroy of F1 but they are interested in its future.

        It’s like saying there would be no world-cup without Brazil, or no premiereship without Manchester United – garbage. There would be an immediate emotional reaction to Ferrari leaving whihc would quickly give way to comon sense.

        What really affects F1 is when decisions are taken for pure greed that start to hit long-term fans in the pocket or challenge their moral compass- SKY TV is such a deal. I thought nothing would ever stop me watching all F1 races, but SKY TV has done just that from next year. Not even my love of F1 will prompt me to give money to the Murdochs.

      9. Shane says:

        I suppose my point is this: Ferrari would only leave F1 to compete against the best in the world in some other series. The best in the world are their peers in F1. Formula One without Ferrari is just an open wheel formula series with HRT, Marussia and Caterham.

        Ferrari are not dumb, if they left F1 it would be with their rivals and F1 would die. Ferrari know this and F1 knows this. That is why Montezemolo is posturing, he is reminding people that F1 is the teams, not the race organizing body.

    3. Wayne says:

      I agree, although this ‘there is no F1 without Ferrari’ is fantasy. No team is indispensible, a few years after Ferrari quit, no-one would be particularly bothered. Who would REALLY switch off if Ferrari quit – not me although I would be sorry to see them go. Add to this the fact that Ferrari get more revenue from F1 because of their supposed ultra importance and you end up with the largest but greediest child in the ball pit.

      If RBR stop being naieve and allowing Bernie to drive a wedge between the teams (as he has always done historicaly), the teams can certainly get a larger slice of the pie this time out. BE has always used Ferrari for this purpose, it seems as though this time round he has chosen RBR to be his fulcrum.

      1. The day Ferrari stop racing in F1 would be the day I stop watching it.

        With the whole Sky/BBC fiasco and the way the sport works, I’d walk and never look back.

      2. Bru72 says:

        Likewise. Ferrari are the reason I watch F1. It’d be boring without them.

      3. wayne says:

        Yes but for everyone who stops there would be 100 who do not. The loss would not be great. Plus many of those who ‘stop’ would come back and watch again at some point, we all know it.

      4. MISTER says:

        Same here.

      5. John Ferdinand says:

        My passion for Ferrari died when they signed Alonso – for me its like they are not in F1 at this time – I bleed Ferrari Red, but I can’t get myself to blindly follow them when they sign people who do not belong in a Ferrari. Alonso has destroyed the passion!

      6. Don Farrell says:

        I totally agree….

      7. Brisbane Bill says:

        I bet you wouldn’t. Discounting the Sky issue for a moment, as much as I enjoy Ferrari participation and recognise what they add to the sport, the sport I love more would still go on without them just as it has when the various other big name teams have withdrawn in the past. Given that the Ferrari roadcar product is marketed hugely off the back of F1, I would say Ferrari needs F1 more than F1 needs Ferrari.

      8. Ferrari is not A big name in F1, it is THE big name in F1. Teams come into F1 to try and beat Ferrari. McLaren as well, but to a lesser extent. Williams is also a very important team but being largely uncompetitive for a decade means that people don’t really look at them the same way as they used to in the 90s.

        I’m disregarding what the effect of leaving F1 will do to Ferrari and focusing on the result of Ferrari leaving the sport itself. Having said that, I’m sure they could glorify Le Mans or something to the same standard and say all of their technology is derived from racing there.

        F1 is only the premium motorsport because of the teams and organizations involved. Take the biggest brand out of F1 and it’s absolutely worthless. Trust me, Bernie would kill to make sure Ferrari stayed put in F1.

      9. Andy C says:

        I think Ferrari fans overstate the importance of Ferrari in F1.

        I can guarantee you, McLaren and Redbull are in F1 to win the WDC. And if Ferrari are not in F1, it will still thrive.

        If someone told you in the mid 90s that Williams would not compete for honours in the current day you’d probably say they were mad.

        I have no issue personally with recognising that Ferrari are a great of the sport. It does not in my view enable them to ride roughshod over the sport, purely driven by self interest.

        It almost comes across to me, that Ferrari cannot win in modern day F1, so lets go back to the good old days when they were able to flex their muscle by running cars around Fiorano every day of the week.

        I really like Ferrari, as a brand, and for its heritage. But personally I’ve always felt LDM has no respect for the sport of F1.

        There are two indisputable facts. Ferrari needs F1, and F1 needs Ferrari. Neither one would be as strong without the other. But that doesnt mean it wouldnt continue as the premier motorsport.

        And where would Ferraris USP be against someone like Aston Martin, Lamborghini etc if it pulled out of F1.

      10. Fair call, but the whole point of Ferrari is that they’ve thrived through it all. Whereas teams have come and gone, Ferrari has stayed. Williams is a relatively young team when you compare them to McLaren and Ferrari.

        The likes of BRM and Lotus used to be superpowers in F1 and now Lotus is nothing more than a farce and BRM folded ages ago. Very little people talk about them. I’m sure if Williams left, it would be a big deal but considering where they are now, I’m sure a lot of current fans wouldn’t mind, myself excluded.

        The likes of McLaren and Ferrari leaving would leave a much bigger hole behind, Ferrari more so than McLaren.

        And I still believe Ferrari CAN and will win in modern F1. It’s easier to build up to the RRA the way Red Bull and Mercedes have rather than build down the way McLaren and Ferrari have been forced to.

      11. Rudy says:

        It seems a lot of people writing here don’t know or don’t recall F-1′s history. When I read that “everyone is more interested beating RBR than Ferrari” I can’t help thinking about people’s nonsense. What is for you RBR? A grand marque with firm roots in motor racing or a marketing arm. I really hope you have heard about Lotus (the original, not these Genii clowns), Tyrell, Brabham, Cooper, Alfa. That was when F-1 was a sport. Now is business. Today drivers don’t beat drivers. Today wallets beat wallets. It is the sour reality of our much beloved “sport”.

    4. young slinger says:

      Agreed. But he does have a point regarding the ‘cutting edge’, just look at all the advances made in F1 we now take as standard on our road cars.

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        Such as?
        The safety and economy aspects of average road cars isn’t from F1. Air bags, anti-lock brakes, front wheel drive, crumple zones, seat belt tensioners, fuel injection, variable valve timing, turbo charged engines (for economy not performance) – most of this stuff is from rallying and touring cars. F1 gives us the exotic performance road cars that feature flappy paddle gear change, active ride suspension, ground effects, advanced vehicle stability (that links the wheels with brakes and steering as opposed to basic traction control) and bucket loads of horse power through finely tuned and delicate V8, V10, V12 engines. None of that appears on my late model Mazda 3.

      2. mike says:

        Dear Sir
        Where do you get your info from

        fuel injection, variable valve timing, turbo charged engines (for economy not performance) – most of this stuff is from rallying and touring cars.
        REALLY
        In fact Porsche pattened them both around 1950s
        in an attempt to beat the big engined Ferraris
        and that was for the lemans cars as was the double cluth gear box as used by Audi
        F1 has helped in the development of road cars way beyond and befor your mavda was designed
        it takes aprx 10 nto 15 years for the developments to reach road cars
        in the next 5 years you will see a kers derivertive on most cars thats is from F1
        Tire durabillity is also from F1 aurodymanics are from f! giving better stability in wind and high speed
        without F1 and Ferrari there would be only box cars to drive with 3 gears check the motor history of development first there was Alfa romeo with Aston Martin then came Ferrari
        and all who followed wanted to beat Mr Enzo
        Lotus
        Brabham
        Tyrel
        Porsche
        to name but a few
        So to sum up F1 with Ferrati helped spear ahead the development of cars we all drive today
        thanks mike

      3. Brisbane Bill says:

        Mike – you are talking about the first 25 years of grand prix cars. What has moved from F1 to production family saloon cars in the past 30 years. Granted, sports cars have produced some flow through – as well as the clutches, Audi were the pioneers of researching drag coefficient – but that is still NOT from F1 technology. Sorry, but F1 technology has less relevance to production road cars than other forms of motorsport. It may hold true for Ferrari, who only produce exotic, expensive road-going sports/race cars but the average car buyer isn’t interested in (or can afford) such technology. As for KERS – well, F1 is actually taking that technology from other places. They may be refining it for competition use but that would be far from technology used in production road cars – if such systems ever do go into the mass market.

      4. thomas says:

        List some please?

        13″ wheels!
        pneumatic valves!
        ‘green’ lithium batterys!

        movable rear wings…. no wait they where on road cars first!

        There is one. Fake carbon fibre gear knob on your pimp mobile.

    5. Richard says:

      Well of course Ferrari are in the business of making and selling expensive sports cars. – Not sure just how much F1 is contributing to that currently.

      1. K says:

        Semi-automatic gearboxes?
        Enzo that derived the body design from an F1 car?
        Diffuser on sportscars these days?
        +/- gear change?
        McLaren’s brake steer from 10 years ago that’s featured on the MP4-12C?

        The list can go on in terms of contributing F1 to sportscars, or even other ordinary road cars.

      2. Richard says:

        Of course, of course over the years there have been many innovations, but that’s not really what I meant. What I meant was in terms of Ferrari’s performance in the championship, and the cashe they derive from that. Last year of course they came close only to trip up in the last race handing the drivers championship to Vettel. If Ferrari could do what Red Bull are doing currently it would do them a lot of good in their current markets.

    6. Rob Newman says:

      It will be sad to see a team like Ferrari go but personally I don’t want to see them go. I want them to be there and get beaten by other teams race after race. There is no thrill like beating a big team like Ferrari on the track.

      There were other big names which came and went but F1 survived.

      I don’t think Montezemolo is talking with passion; it must be more to do with greed.

      1. coefficient says:

        Indeed, there have been many illustrious names that have come and gone in the history of the sport so F1 would carry on regardless, with or without Ferrari. F1 is about constant innovation and development, as such F1’s gaze is firmly fixed on the future and Ferrari’s withdrawal would be forgotten rapidly. It would have to be, F1 could not dwell upon such an event as it would give the media elbow room for opportunistic headlines like “F1 just a shell without the mighty reds” etc. How many times do you wistfully recall these names when Vettel is hammering the field every Sunday afternoon?

        Alfa Romeo
        Maserati
        Vanwall
        Cooper
        Lotus (the Chapman years)
        Tyrell
        Brabham
        Lambourghini
        Porsche
        Eagle Westlake
        Honda
        Jaguar
        Matra

        I have to admit, I only think about the history of the sport when I’ve got my F1 nerd head on and this is usually during the off-season as I prefer to stay abreast of current events when the race season is underway. During the races my head is very much in the here and now. In season, I don’t think I ever give them a second thought because as Barry Sheene would say “when the green flag drops, the Bulls**t stops”.

        Of course, I would prefer to see Ferrari stay because as many of you rightly point out, it’s important to be beating the best teams. If Mclaren and Ferrari weren’t in F1, Red Bull’s victories would be pretty meaningless. That said, F1 would realign itself, the money would spread out to different teams and the void would be filled.

    7. markdartj says:

      How about IndyCar?

  2. Dan Orsino says:

    The two poles of F1 – Bernie the quiet unglamorous man of action, and Luca Di, the flamboyant glamorous man of words.
    They couldn’t be more opposite.
    James touches on many frustrations here, and my suspicion is if Bernie were in Luca’s place he would solve a fair number of these frustrations with a single radical action:
    replace Massa with immediate effect.

  3. AlexD says:

    Would he be as depressed as he is now if it was Alonso winning another title due to the strong aero car produced by Ferrari?

    1. Luca says:

      burning millions in R&D in aero makes no sense to a car maker…. developments in weight saving, driver safety, fuel efficiency etc… are of more benefit to a constructor who can later apply this to their products for the average joe

    2. Matt G says:

      Ferrari have to do what it takes. With that said, they do not need to like it.

      They want it to change and be less aero focused (Something Jensen sounds he wants too, given his desire for the big tired and more mechanical grip.)

  4. Shgooner says:

    Excellent, measured piece after all the over the top ‘Ferrari threatens to quit F1 stories’. No threats in what he said just interesting. Cheers

  5. ian says:

    Cannot help but agree that aerodynamics plays far too role in F1.The biggest issue is dirty air created by any car in front which DRS presumably was meant to counter.

    Would love to see open wheel racing without the need for artificial aids. Also do away with paddle gearchange and use full manual gearbox with disc brakes-not carbon (no application to road cars )

    Is this too much to hope for?

    Ian

    1. Steve says:

      one day, carbon brakes will be in road cars. However, it is highly unlikely that manual gearbox would become “standard” in road car again.

      1. Luca says:

        you can get carbon ceramic brakes in most top end cars already – audi, porsche, ferrari, mercedes, bmw have been supplying cars with carbon brakes for a while to name a few.

      2. coefficient says:

        F1 will never go back to H pattern boxes and clutch pedals. The teams would object to having to build the cars bigger to accomodate the extra equipment in the cockpit/pedal box. It would be a retrograde step which is at odds with F1 fundamentally.

      3. wayne says:

        Manual gearbox IS standard in road cars in the UK. Auto boxes are always an extra. (When I talk about road cars I talk about the 95% of normal road cars that we all drive on a daily basis not Ferraris).

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      I dont know why people keep banging on about the disc brakes, Williams did a test in the mid 90′s with steel and found them to be just as good, so what would be the point in changing now other than to spend a lot of money.

      1. Carbon brakes have similar stopping power but don’t fade as the race goes on…

    3. Scotto says:

      On the high end, BMW and Audi are two companies that use automatic manual gearboxes for increased performance. On the low end, Smart Cars have mechanical automatic gearboxes (ie. manual gearboxes with computer controlled clutches), because they are a much more efficient way to transfer the car’s very limited power.

  6. Darren says:

    FIA – Ferrari International Assistance!!!

    1. Syed says:

      stop this nonsense

  7. Rob Newman says:

    We have heard this ‘threat’ many times and this will not be the last time. F1 need to change with the time but I can’t understand why di Montezemolo always comes with the childish ‘if we don’t get this, we will quit F1′ attitude.

    Mr Montezemolo should be happy with the money Ferrari is getting from F1 and I don’t think he will be complaining too much if they were winning the championship year after year.

    Ferrari should stop whining and get their act together. For a start, they can put Massa out of his misery by terminating his contract end of this year.

  8. Paul Jarman says:

    I think that it’s quite weird that one team is valued above all others, especially when other teams like McLaren and Williams have now also long histories in the sport.

    I’m fairly certain as well that Ferrari get a payment off the top before any of the money is split up, so in actual fact they are taking money from each of the teams. If I was any of the others, this would be the first thing on my list to discuss in any up coming agreement.

    James, what do you think would happen if there wasn’t a new version of the Concord Agreement where the teams/CVC/Bernie couldn’t agree? Or is it something that just has to happen to allow the sport to exist?

    Personally, I think FOTA should put a bid in for the sport (assuming they can all afford to) and cut any controlling company like CVC out of the loop. More money, full control and masters of your own destiny!

    Paul Jarman

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      Mate, they have been there every year since 1950, and before if you count the previous iterations. What were these other teams doing at that time? Oh yeah, nothing. Besides that bit of sarcasm, I agree that teams like McLaren and Williams should now also be given a yearly increase as a reward for their continued loyalty. Certainly not $50m worth, but it is still hard to go past a team that has participated (consistently as a winner, or near winner) for that long.

  9. Broken record Monte says:

    [mod]

    Instead if complaining how the other teams are doing a better job with the present regulations, maybe ask your amazing team to do a better job instead of changing the rules to suit you better?

    Aero is an important part of road car design too for many reasons so his argument is moot.

    1. Anil says:

      He’s not asking for the rules to be changed to favour his team. He is saying what all the teams wants; a sport that supports innovation in mechanical terms more so than the current regulations do. Remember, we only got given the DRS because of problems with aero dependence!

      1. Athlander says:

        He is asking the rules to be changed to favour his team. He does this every time Ferrari struggle.

    2. Luca says:

      yes aero is important to road cars, but is massively outweighed by weight reduction, composite development, fuel efficiency, safety – there is no way aero developments would out spend other areas more relevant to road cars.

      also aero development is the most difficult and thus expensive – so a reduced dependency on aero would help all the teams in regards to costs and budgets. Ferrari can well afford it, ok they are not on top of it as RBR, but too think that is the only point to the comments is narrow minded.

      plus less aero will potentially lead to more racing – thus the DRS and tyres for this season. arguably its working….

  10. Andrew Carter says:

    Its the usual hot air as everybody positions themselves for another round of negotiations for the concord agreement.

    Third cars would be a terrible idea as McLaren, Ferrari and RBR would just lock out most of the points for themselves with Rosberg and Schumacher fighting it out for one point and nothing for the rest.

  11. Werewolf says:

    Frankly, there is little more tedious and predictable than a pronouncement from De Montezemolo. His vacuous rhetoric in search of personal column inches truly belongs in politics; and the dynamic racing manager of the past seems long gone.

    Great analysis of motive and background from James, however. These are interesting times indeed but the key decisions will be made in meetings and not before microphones. Besides, Ecclestone is the acknowledged master of belittling others’ value via the press to enhance his own bargaining power.

  12. Justin says:

    Does anyone even care what he says? Is anyone even interested in his constant shallow threats to leave F1?

    I can tell you one thing I would like to see leaving F1 and that’s Montezemelo. Italian politics can have him

  13. zombie says:

    Luca for a change is making some sense this time!

    Manufacturers compete in F1 not just as a powerful marketing excercise or testesterone boost for their egos, but for research and development. I always thought the ban on engine development,standardized electronics and testing bans were complete against the spirit of engineering and F1. Engineering is progress,constant changes and testing.Why would any team spend 200m$/season with no real returns in form of development?

    Its all too easy to say Ferrari leaving F1 wont make an iota of a difference.The fact that they get the largest share of pie goes to prove FIA and all other teams realize the importance of Ferrari as a brand. Lets admit it, RBR might be mighty fast,but they dont generate the mysticism associated with 6+ decades of racing history and heritage that Ferrari comes with! What difference does it make if we have a RedBull car or a Coca-Cola car?!

    1. Broken record Monte says:

      If Ferrari cared so much about ‘research and development’ only like you and Monte suggest, why even race then?

      Just drop out of all racing leagues, spend those 200 million in their own factory the way they want without anyone sticking their nose into it?

      No, Ferrari wants to win titles, could not care less about all that politically correct PR, and because they can’t cope with the regulations of now, they are sulking.

      1. zombie says:

        Soichiro Honda once said racing helps his engineers develop new technologies in 1/4th the time it would take them in factories! Do you really think Ferrari would sell one less car by not winning a title this year?! F1 is as much a brand building exercise as it is an R&D exercise. If we have to wage a war against R&D in F1, why not standardize everything and take it the Indycar way?

    2. coefficient says:

      I understand the position held by Luca in as far as it makes sense for his team’s racing exploits to be relevant to his road car business in terms of technology and development. However, this is not the be all and end all of F1 is it? After all, how many real manufacturer teams are there now: Ferrari, Mercedes Benz and the weird Renault/Lotus/Genii thing which probably doesn’t count. Oh and next year Caterham.

      What about all the privateer teams? What makes the sport good for them and do we really want to marginalise them by pandering to the manufacturers who have demonstrated very recently that they are quite happy to turn tale and run the moment things get tricky. It’s the teams that exist purely to compete in formula one that should get a larger say in the formation of the technical aspects of the sport because after all, it will be them left to pick up the pieces and carry the can when they withdraw to lick their wounds or Luca decides to make good on his threats, which won’t happen.

      Team Lotus have improved by 2-3 seconds since last year. Another step of similar magnitude would have them banging on the back door of Luca’s Team if they don’t also raise their game. Perhaps this is his real concern giving the verbal slating he gave the new teams upon their arrival in F1.

  14. Il Leone says:

    I’ve been watching Formula 1 for 20+ years now and it seems that, apart from the 2000-04 years of Schumi/Brawn/Todt domination and the ‘lucky’ 2007 WDC for Kimi, the Scuderia has actually primarily come up with a succession of mediocre cars for over three decades.

    Indeed, you have to marvel at how a team with such significant funding behind it can produce a fairly duff car more years than not.

    My view is: if Ferrari want to say arrivederci to F1, I say goodbye and good luck! Because they won’t sell many road cars if they’re out of it.

    1. HansB says:

      Oh yeah… apart from the 8 constructor championship wins in the past 12 years Ferrari did not do particularly well.

      Just tell me when was the last time f.i. mighty Mclaren won the constructors championship ?

      1. Phil says:

        But it’s this whole concept of ‘every team wants to beat Ferrari’. As you said, it’s a more recent phenomenon because of their success in the last 12 years. Pre-Schumacher moving to Ferrari, teams wanted to beat McLaren, Williams, Lotus & Brabham.
        Ferrari are trading on this ‘historic’ leverage, that had only become valuable to them since Schumacher era, to the disadvantaged of other teams who have the same claim to success, just longer ago.

      2. HansB says:

        OK.. fair, every team you name has had an era of great success.. but failed to be a top team fighting for victory or being close to that in a way Ferrari did.

    2. miuzi05 says:

      Agreed. Ferrari seem to take it for granted that they simply should be winning, always, and that for them to lose championships is unnatural. But, between 1979 and 2000, how many Driver’s Champions did they crown? None. The Schumacher era seems to have ingrained a sense of victory entitlement in Ferrari. Which is great, I love to see a competitive Ferrari. If you’re capable of winning, then win! But I don’t love excuses and finger pointing. Just build a better car and demonstrate why you deserve the historical recognition and subsequent monetary compensation! Otherwise, simply getting money for being old sounds like a pension.

    3. Ian Hislop says:

      That’s right. Ferrari needs F1 more than F1 needs them – really want to see the other teams call Montezuma’s bluff re the funding disparity. Without F1 Ferrari are nothing – let’s see them switch to sportscars, get whipped by Audi, then start bleating about rule changes over there.
      No F1 = no road car sales. Another Lambo in no time..

      1. Doobs says:

        Lambo never raced in F1 other than supply engines a couple of years. Not sure what you’re on about.

    4. Rob Newman says:

      I agree. The only reason Kimi won was because Ron Dennis messed it up. He should have put Alonso on the bench just like he did to Montoya.

      In the past Ferrari has managed to influence the FIA. Just because they have been in F1 for a long time does not mean they are above others. If they are not capable of winning races, then they are free to make up their mind as to they want to continue with F1 or not.

      1. James Allen says:

        Or put Hamilton on the bench and let Alonso go for it as he was hired as lead driver.

  15. Tony Hirst says:

    “The teams feel, for example, that they generate all kinds of data during race weekends, which fans would love to access. Team radio only scratches the surface of it and they’d love to do more with the internet to bring that to the fans. But that isn’t possible in the current set up. All of these things need to be brought up and discussed and tied into the future plan.”

    What are the constraints on data at the moment? I’ve been tinkering with various bits of data for a year or two, particularly in respect of:
    1) timing data as released by the FIA media site; at the moment this data is only available to the public via PDF documents, so it’s a hassle getting the raw data from it, although it can be done (I use a screenscraper). Hardly any timing data is released from practice sessions, which makes it hard for folk to play around with building models. It is possible to grab data from the live timing fees, but I think this breaches license conditions.
    2) Live telemetry from Mclaren: McLaren started streaming a small amount of data at 1Hz last year and the feeds are still running this year. The data is loggable if you know where to look.

    Quick an obvious wins would be:
    1) for F1 to make live timing feeds available under a liberal license;
    2) FIA to release timing data press releases as data files
    3) Pirelli to make a live feed available of tyres currently in use, as well as logs of tyre use to date

    It would also be handy to have details of engine usage across the year.

    There’s a lot of innovation around data visualisation and analysis at the moment, and F1 could contribute to this area by making data available.

    1. coefficient says:

      Driver telemetry overlays would be good too.

  16. Richard says:

    Replacing Massa would do little to help Ferrari’s woes because their troubles like everyone else’s is aerodynamic. Unless one has an aerodynamics genius on board it seems that respective teams don’t stand much of a chance, hence his comments on reduced aero dependancy.

    1. Andy c says:

      Massa has been under performing since returning from his horrible crash. Had he been much closer to Fernandos performance level sure he wouldn’t be under pressure.

      I really like the guy but I genuinely can’t see him having a drive at Ferrari in future.

  17. mo kahn says:

    If Ferrari walks out of F1… barring UK… F1 will lose over 50% of viewership, fanbase and follower-ship… Like it or not… NO FERRARI NO F1. Simple and Straight… No Mclaren, No Lotus, No Mercedes, No Redbull equals the integration into F1 as Ferrari. So, It will be as charmless as lesser formulas where Ferrari is not a part of… Without Ferrari you might as well call it as European Championship, for slowly but surely it will lose all its charm internationally… For Ferrari is the biggest F1 selling point… Like it or not.

    1. coefficient says:

      Don’t agree with that! Ferrari also realises the value of racing against the big name teams like Mclaren, Williams, Lotus, Renualt, Mercedes Benz. If they left, their brand would lose identity and lustre. Ferrari is inextricably linked to F1 and the teams listed above because of the way it has set itself up as the pinnacle
      of motorsport. Anything else is 2nd rate by comparison which is why Luca’s threats are empty guestures designed to whip up a bit of a storm. So whilst I agree that Ferrari’s presence in F1 is good for F1 commercially, it is also good for Ferrari commercially. It is their main shop window and they will never pull out because of that. It’s all a bit silly really when you think about it.

      1. Doobs says:

        That’s exactly what LdM is talking about. It makes no sense for Ferrari to remain committed to a series which is not the pinnacle of sport or where the restrictions hurt their interests. In recent years F1 has been “dumbed down” as some would say, to accommodate small teams with even smaller budgets (as per Max Mosely plan to limit the effects of the fickle car manufacturer teams) and one reason why LdM sugegsts the third car – the grid remains full of relatively more competitive cars for not much extra $$ outlay. This is at the expense of the small teams of course. As for Mercedes, Renault, Lotus et al, those teams have already proved they come and go, and because of this, their presence doesn’t have the same influence as Ferrari.

    2. Andy c says:

      James,

      have you ever come across any stars on global fan base? I suspect Ferrari over the last 15 years have been the man utd of f1. Clearly lots have an affinity with the heritage.

      Mo, that’s not aimed at you by the way :-)

      1. Andy, more like Real Madrid ;)

  18. Frank says:

    Going a bit sideways with the main topic. James, you mentioned something I feel very fustrasted with FOM for a long time, and that is the data they share on web.
    There so much room for improvement, I can see the BBC or any other website covering the event sharing a lot if only it was available from FOM.
    FOM (i.e. Ernie) seems sssoooo in last century.

  19. Rajko says:

    I know it’s offtopic, but James are there any news on Kimi deal? We Kimi fans can’t wait it to happen.

  20. jmv says:

    If Bernie pulls it off again not to listen to anyone.. and make them all sign again…then F1 teams are bunch of losers again!

  21. AlexD says:

    After years of listening to LDM, I really do not pay attention. Let him worry about domenicali….

  22. LT says:

    For a man with political asiprations in Italy, pulling out Ferrari from F1 would make LdM unelectable, so again, empty threats.

  23. Chris Severin says:

    How exciting for us all, our sport is changing in big ways soon and with the relative competence and cooperativeness of the current team leaders hopefully these changes will be positive.

    On a side note, remember after the first couple of races all the supposed (but in fact up their own arse) “hard core fans” moaning and groaning about the “artificial” effect of DRS?. I remember someone writing on here that they would stop watching the sport after 20 or 30 years because of it. Ha ha!!

    Are we going to get all that nonsense again over the next couple of years?

    1. GT_Racer says:

      I would say that a majority of F1 fans have now actually turned against DRS. I see far more Anti-DRS comments around the web when compared to Pre-DRS comments & most of the polls i have seen back up that theory.

      I’ve also seen far more people who started off liking DRS or not having an opinion on DRS change to been against DRS than I have people who started off not lking DRS change to liking it.

      1. James Allen says:

        Well do a poll on that

      2. coefficient says:

        After trying the new F1 2011 game I really like DRS and KERS. It really adds an interesting element to the driving compared with the 2010 game. Perhaps, we could see what the drivers think of it, I’m sure they think its great fun and you do still have to have the racing nouse to use it properly. I hope it gets a second season because with some fine tuning to make it more marginal rather than a breeze past device it could be very edge of the seat stuff!

    2. Dizzy says:

      I personally don’t get how anyone could actually like DRS.

      It doesn’t provide exciting racing, Doesn’t provide exciting passing & is nothing but a silly artificial gimmick which has no place in F1.

      If we had no DRS this year we would have had far more exciting racing with far more exciting passing.

      All you need do to see how bad DRS is, Is look at what is more exciting to watch. Passing inside the DRS zone or passing outside of the DRS zone.
      DRS does nothing but produce dull, easy & unexciting straght line passing which is dead dull to watch.

      I hope F1 does another survey with a sensibly worded question regarding DRS, I’d guarantee most F1 fans would vote against DRS & then we could get rid of the monstrosity once & for all!

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        I think the point of DRS is that if a driver is in a much faster car then he should be able to overtake and possibly take the fight further up the field rather than being bottled up behind a car that is 2 seconds off the pace – as was happening at far too many circuits. Watching a procession of cars unable to overtake was dull in the extreme. Now we can see drivers get themselves into clear air and chase down those ahead of them and that adds some excitement. Add in the tyre strategies and I think this has been one of the best seasons for on-track action for a hell of a long time (probably since aerodynamics began being exploited).

    3. Steve says:

      I would disagree with how you seem to be saying that most fans like DRS.

      I was at the FOTA fan forum at the Mclaren technology centre earlier this year & the fans were asked about DRS & the majority raised there hand to vote against DRS & all of the people I spoke to afterwards said they hated the system as much as I do.

      Based on everything I’ve seen from fans if DRS is still in F1 next year then F1 is clearly not listning to the fans as most fans clearly want DRS to go!

      1. James Allen says:

        That’s not quite right. As I recall, the majority voted that they hadn’t made their minds up on it yet.

      2. Chris Severin says:

        But is it not true that as the FIA have tweaked the positioning and length of the zones, DRS has hasn’t actually caused a lot of “easy overtakes?” (in comparison to the early season races) What it has in fact done is help to reduce the negative effect of areo turbulance which could argualy be defined as the biggest reason for a higher number of processional races than in previous periods of the sport?

      3. Steve says:

        I can show you plenty of examples from the most recent races of easy overtakes, Just as many as earlier in the season.

        The thing with DRS is that we don’t need it, The Pirelli tyres have done more to improve the racing this season. As Dizzy said above if we hadn’t had DRS this year & just had the Pirelli’s the racing likely would have been even better.

        Ross Brawn asked a question recently about how exciting DRS passes are & I would say there not exciting at all. If I wanted to watch cars breezing by one another in a straght line I’d watch Drag Racing.

        I want to watch good, close racing with real hard fought for exciting overtaking & DRS provides none of these!

      4. Chris Severin says:

        James has there been any data completed on DRS as of yet or will we need to wait until the end of the year?

        For example percentage of DRS powered overtakes against “natural” ones, location of passes (ie on straights apposed to corner entry) comparison of early races to later races and is there anyway of measuring how close cars run together during races in comparison to previous years? Or something like if one car catches another of comparative “form” with similar tyre life how many laps it takes to pass or something of that nature? I know the last couple are a little difficult…but they would be interesting.

    4. Ralf F says:

      I think fans appreciate DRS as a solution to the problem, but would prefer the problem not to be there at all.

      1. StefMeister says:

        Add me to the Anti-DRS regulation camp, Didn’t like it Pre-Season & dislike it even less having seen it in action over the season.

        I think the problem is that while it does produce passing, It doesn’t produce exciting overtaking which is what I would suggest most fans would prefer to see.
        Which is more exciting to watch, A DRS pass in the middle of a straght or a proper overtake such as the 2 Webber put on Alonso at Singapore, the one he put on Alonso at Eau Rouge at Spa or Vettel’s pass round the outside of Rosberg at Blanchimont?

        Another thing I see as an issue is that because people within F1 apparently see DRS as a success they don’t seem to want to try & do anything to actually solve the heart of the problem.
        Don’t forget DRS was originally only brought in as a temporary fix before the 2014 regulation changes came in with the planned return of ground effects. However that planned switch to ground effects has now been dropped with DRS been retained as a more permanent measure.

        Something I would like to clarify is that Im not actually Against DRS as a system, I just dislike the regulations surrounding its use during a Gp.

        If they insist on keeping DRS in F1 they should change its use & run it like a Push-2-Pass style system as used elsewhere.
        Give every driver 20 chances to use it during a race anywhere around the circuit. Let it be used to attack & defend, This would actually bring some real strategy into its use & at least give the car infront an option to have something to defend with.

        Alternatively drop DRS & simply allow KERS to be used like that.

        There are plenty of alternative options to assist overtaking in a less artificial/gimmickey way, DRS is the laziest & I believe the worst of the options which are possible.

  24. Steve says:

    “Indeed, you have to marvel at how a team with such significant funding behind it can produce a fairly duff car more years than not.”
    Honda,Toyota,Mercedes,BMW, Porche and Renault yes makes you marvel!

  25. Vipin says:

    I believe in my country(INDIA), Formula 1 became popular and famous due to Ferrari.

    During Michael winning the championships from 2000-2004 for Ferrari.

    After this F1 became so famous here.

    One time I even saw in one of our Government buses, where it had all the Sponsors names of Ferrari.

    This happened during 2003.

    Without Ferrari F1 would be not be the best.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that. I really noticed in India the popularity of Schumacher was well ahead of other drivers because of this historic success

      1. mo kahn says:

        Historic success of Schumacher is one of the elements for his unprecedented popularity in India… He is the best brand ambassador for formula one… He applies maximum effort in terms of team development… he is a ruthless fighter… have the most superior driving skills and on a personal side he is solid family man.

        These elements are more important than success to us Indians… for these are the values and elements we all Indians can identify with for we (Indians) strive to achieve these in our everyday lives irrelevant to field of involvement.

        Our drivers (Narain & Karan) might not be on the talent levels as Schumacher but are equal hard workers to Schmacher.

        So, his popularity in India is due to identifiable elements Schumacher has.

        Ferrari is every man’s Fantasy. In India, like elsewhere no other car captivates a person’s imagination as Ferrari… If you have a Ferrari (as I do in India) you don’t have to have anything else for everything is understood about you after that… That is the power of Ferrari in India.

        The combination of Schumacher and Ferrari was more effective than fiction.

  26. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – has there been any research into the fanbase? Ie out of total attendees/watchers, what sort of percentage are Ferrari fans? I’m guessing they would be probably the largest group out of all the fan bases. F1 would need to ask itself whether it would risk angering such a large portion of its clientel if Ferrari were to leave. Particularly if the circumstances were controversial. Sure, some might move to other teams, but is this something that F1′s revenues could survive?

    1. Bec says:

      Of the 90,000 respondents to the FOTA fan survey, 22% had no favourite team, Ferrari had 30% and McLaren had 19%, while Mercedes had 10%.

      Ferrari had a much lower % from the weighted sample. ie: the dedicated F1 fans.

      1. Andy c says:

        Dare I compare Ferrari to man utd. Of course I dare.

  27. Wes says:

    I got a question, Ferrari has been talking about the third car for a while now, but why they don’t start a second team, like the Toro Rosso, this way they would not only get a third car on the grid, but also a fourth one. If Red Bull who just came into the sport a few years ago can do it, I don’t know why Ferrari couldn’t…

    1. James Allen says:

      Dilution of resources – if the A team wasn’t winning people would criticise. This is their idea of a way of doing it, but the others don’t want to play

    2. Doobs says:

      LdM’s reason for wanting a third car is for cost cutting. With a third car the R&D is already done and the only extra cost to a team would be building and running it. With two separate teams you have to develop two entirely separate cars. Privately run “customer” cars (afaik) are not permitted. A TR is not an RB with different sticker arrangement.

      However at the time Max Mosely didn’t want too many cars controlled by hat he saw as fickle car manufacturers – if one team withdrew (eg. Honda and Toyota)then a large part of the grid could disappear overnight, hence the current profusion of small teams and financial limits imposed on the larger teams to allow the tiddlers to have some chance of remaining competitive

  28. Matt W says:

    We have heard these empty threats from Montezemolo before. They don’t even act as a warning anymore as nobody takes it seriously.

    The problem is, Ferrari get a massively unsporting advantage with their special payments. Will Mclaren and Williams ever get a cut like that when they reach a certain number of years? I think not.

    I love Ferrari (although not their current make up) but we are kidding ourselves if we think F1 wouldn’t survive without it. The sport would be damaged for a season or two but if the racing was good then nobody would care.

    Don’t forget, Ferrari were pretty much absent during their 21 year barren spell and the sport wasn’t diminished at all. Infact, the generally considered golden era of F1 is remembered more for Mclaren, Prost and Senna than Ferrari.

    1. Tony says:

      “Ferrari get a massively unsporting advantage with their special payments”

      That’s not unsporting, that’s just business. Besides, with the resources restriction, it can’t be an advantage. Not on track anyway

    2. Doobs says:

      Think of it as “appearance money”. If eg. David Beckham turned up to open your local shopping centre, you’d be more likely to go see than if it was some lesser celebrity. It’s called star power. Fact of life and business.

  29. coefficient says:

    It’s an interesting point and a few years back before their BMW buyout one might have suspected that Sauber could have been pressed into service to the benefit of Ferrari should it be required. I remember Martin Brundle would often speculate if we would see the Saubers politely waving Ferraris through after pitting and coming out in traffic. Of course, the alliance is back on and we can see that once again Sauber are not only running Ferrari drive train but a Ferrari Junior driver too just as they did not so long ago with Massa. Perhaps there is more to this relationship than we understand and the extra Ferrari idea is rooted elsewhere. He does seem to have been harping on about it for years, All I know is 2 car teams seem better to me dynamically and I would hate to see teams forced out of existence before they had chance to establish themselves because the grid was made up of cars from just a few teams.

  30. Omega alpha says:

    Less aero, more mechanical grip, more power and try
    to stop the track rubbing in so much so there
    Isnt only one racing line by Sunday. Would produce
    much better and exciting racing.

    Telemetry, team radio, timing and streaming FP sessions
    Online will generate so much extra money world wide.
    Also brings in more sponsors. I’d pay (at least) 100 bucks a year no question asked to watch FP sessions in high quality. Most of us out side of uk watch it any way on unofficial live streaming sites now. But laggy and poor quality and sometimes not even in English.

    I think it would take a team like Ferrari to put
    their foot down and demand changes. But maybe they are going about it the wrongway, but at least they are trying. Even if it’s to help themselfs.

    As far as money goes, I would think that like some of you that the newest and lowest teams should get more of the F1 pie to help them improve.

  31. RedChimp says:

    James, do you think there is the scope for a poll here? There’s some interesting discussion here and I am curious as to how many people would stop watching F1 if Ferrari left.

    I for one do not think any team is indispensible and although I think it would be a dreadful shame if Ferrari were to leave it is my gut feeling that the majority of people would stick with the sport.

    I have always been uncomfortable with Ferrari getting a larger share of the money purely based on it’s history though, that’s never really seemed fair. More money based on team peformance and championship positions yes, but more money because you’ve been involved with the sport for 60 years – no!

    1. Bec says:

      Ferrari get 2.5% of pot even before the schedule 10 money is handed out, and that’s not even handed out purely on results.

    2. Doobs says:

      Seems like the other teams need to learn how to negotiate better deals. Here’s the number of my agent in Maranello…. ;)

      Seriously, would a hard headed SoB like Bernie Ecc pay one single half-cent more than he absolutely has too if he could avoid it?

  32. henry says:

    Ferrari aren’t the only team to get extra money, Williams get the same dispensation. It was up to individual teams when Ferrari and Williams reached this agreement with Ecclestone. Mclaren probably sent Ron Dennis to negotiate and that’s why they get nothing.

  33. JohnBt says:

    Ferrari’s not winning at the moment which is good for the sport. Never enjoyed the 2000 – 2004 years. If Ferrari’s winning Luca will speak differently, that I’m very sure. But the show must go on. Out of curiosity I wondered what will really happen to F1 if Ferrari’s out of the sport. Personally I’d like to see that. Talk is cheap.

    Millions are rejoicing Red Bull are thrashing them.

  34. Andy C says:

    I have to say, that I dont like LDM and how he comes across.

    However, I dont disagree with him that F1 has become far to aero reliant.

    Looking back at MTC recently, you see the progression of F1 from steel tube chassis to Carbon.

    The most striking thing is the flat wings of the MP4-4 when compared to Lewis title winning car which just looked horrendous with lots of winglets and bits and bobs.

    Lets have more floor based aero, or a large reduction in downforce. I want to see drivers balancing the car, not nailed to the floor.

  35. pallys says:

    I watched F1 for the 20 years when Ferrari were nothing and F1 was still great to watch.

    That is proof F1 is not Ferrari.

    It’s a perceived bargaining position that Montezemolo likes to use but it need not be heeded to. Ferrari would be the ones to lose out if they left F1, the pinnacle of motorsport.

    Adrian Newey, the greatest car designer of modern times refused Ferrari overtures.

    Ayrton Senna, arguably the most gifted driver F1 ever had never drove for Ferrari either.

    Don’t listen to Montezemolo. Remember he is an Italian Politician, trying to topple Silvio.

    1. Andy c says:

      Exactly right. Short memories.

    2. Doobs says:

      Not quite.
      Newey didn’t want to leave England and his family, that’s not the same as not wanting to go to Ferrari.
      Senna expressed a desire to drive for Ferrari during his career too but never got the chance. And as for the 21-year drought, it didn’t stop armies of Tifosi turning out and cheering their team back to glory. As the old saying goes, “It’s not about the winning, it’s the taking part”. If Ferrari had pulled out like Mercedes etc then you’d have a point, but they didn’t, so you don’t.

  36. Manny says:

    Montezemolo talks a lot…

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