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Montezemolo plays the political card with new Ferrari F1 car
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Montezemolo plays the political card with new Ferrari F1 car
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jan 2011   |  12:04 am GMT  |  76 comments

There’s a very interesting little note on the Ferrari website this evening saying that the new Ferrari F1 car will be designated the F150, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The Italian flag, the “Tricolore” will be more prominent than before.

The 2009 Ferrari was designated the F60, to commemorate Ferrari’s 60 years in the sport, underlining that the team is the only ever present in the 60 year history of the sport. That was a political statement in F1 terms, reminding the FIA, FOM and the new teams who want to have an equal say in the running of FOTA and the sport in general, that Ferrari is the big beast in the jungle, the only one that has a track record stretching back to the very start, which is not to be underestimated. 2009 was a turbulent year in the sport with the threat of a FOTA breakaway, led by Ferrari.

Here Montezemolo, who has been getting involved in national politics lately, making strong statements against Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and even starting his own political movement, “Italia Futura”, is aligning Ferrari with the nation, talking up what it does best at a time when the image of the government is in question, not least by Montezemolo’s allies. Italia Futura, an alliance of business people and intellectuals, talks about a “renaissance” for Italy, a “reconstruction” of a country which is “bogged down”, by the behaviour of Berlusconi.

Now the F1 team is being drawn into this scenario,

“Ferrari is the expression of Italian excellence, talent and creativity” said Montezemolo today. “All the men and women who work with passion and commitment at Maranello share the pride and responsibility that comes with representing our country to the rest of the world and it is with this spirit that we wanted to dedicate the new car to such a historical event, which is of such importance to the entire country.”

One of the key objectives of the final years of former FIAT boss Gianni Agnelli’s life was for Ferrari to make “Made in Italy” a badge of pride internationally as far as automobile manufacturing was concerned, as opposed to a badge of shame as it had become in the 1970s and 80s. The performance of Ferrari in the 1990s and 2000s more than achieved that.

Montezemolo was personally criticised by politicians on Berlusconi’s side after the debacle in Abu Dhabi, where Ferrari lost the championship on a bad pit call. But here Montezemolo is giving it back with interest, by reminding those who seek to criticise him that during his tenure as boss of Ferrari, how much has been achieved and how that achievement – played out in front of a worldwide audience – has benefitted the international prestige of Italy.

The F150 heralds a new step for Ferrari with much of the responsibility on the engineering and strategy side being placed on the shoulders of former McLaren designer Pat Fry.

Fry has a rounded background having engineered David Coulthard, been senior operations engineer and designed McLaren F1 cars. His honeymoon period will be short; the first decisions from testing and the early races will be intensely scrutinised after what happened at the end of 2010. There is little room for error.

Photo: Ferrari

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If there is one thing F1 needs less of, its politics.


...without the politics F1 would be A1 (ordinary and no more!)


If there's on thing politics needs more of, it's F1


*one thing


Methinks that there is a touch of irony in the naming of the new Ferrari chassis. On this side of the Pond, the F150 is a very popular Ford pickup truck ;-).


They may be the longest in F1, however that does not give them a right to be patronizing, arrogant and conceited towards other teams. I personally feel Ferrari is the ugly nasty pimple on the face of F1.

They try to bend the rules to benefit them more than other teams, they get money from the FIA for just being there (I read 100 million each year), which other teams don't get. This guy has been insulting the backmarkers every now and then, well, I would like to see them get that 100 million from the FIA too...and then I wanna hear him talk when those teams actually beat his'.

They are sore losers and sore winners too, which is an accomplishment. And now he is using Ferrari to beat Berlusconi, I mean, this is a joke. The sooner Ferrari starts their own league where they fix the races so Alonso always wins, the better, F1 does not need them anymore with their non-stop whining about everything like little girls.

People go on about how Ferrari is F1...if they leave, after 2 races, no one will talk about them.


With all due respect, if Ferrari leaves F1 then F1 will become a British racing series. Much like Nascar is to the USA.


this is absolute nonsense mate sorry, Ferrari is Formula 1. If you went up to people on the street and asked them to name all the F1 teams they know, everybody would say Ferrari, even if they knew no others. Ferrari make Formula One what it is, like Monaco, and are absolutely integral to the sport. You may not like the team orders thing, but Ferrari have done more for Formula One's image and success than all the other teams put together.


I can't agree with you at all. If Red Bull left F1, then people would forget about it quite soon. But not Ferrari. You may like them or not, they may whine and criticise other teams (sometimes their criticism is founded, though the way they do it is controvertial) but this team is a huge part of F1 history. If Ferrari (or Mclaren) left F1, it would not be the same anymore and winning the championship wouldn't taste the same for the other teams. WDC and WCC are still the same, but it's just so much better when you have such teams as Ferrari or McLaren as your opponents.

Sebastian Vettel won his championship with Red Bull and he said that he'd like to race for Ferrari one day. Though it's been Red Bull that's had the fastest car recently, Ferrari is still the dream, because it means prestige and history which you won't get from any other team (apart from McLaren). That's why I thought dr Marko's comments about Ferrari willing to steal RB's spirit were a bit arrogant, because Ferrari doesn't need anybody's spirit.

Anyway, I think that the only people that wouldn't miss Ferrari in F1 would be their severest critics and opponents. But I have some doubts even about them - people who dislike Ferrari, normally want to see them loose. So even they want Ferrari to be in F1 so that any other team can beat them. So I guess, if Ferrari left, everybody would miss them for various reasons - people who like them, because it's simply Ferrari and people who dislike them - because they wouldn't be able to see them loose anymore.


Agreed. Ferrari are like Alinghi on wheels, just with a bigger marketing budget.

All they want is their own little America's Cup championship they can tilt in their favour.

Well, no one's stopping them, and they can take Luca's Horse Whisperer blog and that plastic fantastic Abu Dhabi theme park with them as well.


I think you will find you are soo in the minority. F1 needs Ferrari more than Ferrari need f1. Ferrari is the dream for soo many drivers and fans out there. I've supported Ferrari since I was a boy and they were not winning in f1 then. It's just the beauty the history of Ferrari that I like many other fell in love with years ago. Brawn in 2009 and red bull in 2010 talked about how much it meant to beat Ferrari. Ferrari is one of worlds sport biggest icons and brands. Fact


As painful as you may find it, Formula 1 is basically whichever series Ferrari races in. Yes Montezemolo may be arrogant, but his arrogance is born of an incredibly sucessful career both in motorsport, business and other sporting endeavour so I, and I guess much of Italy and those in F1 give him a pass; when he speaks it is worth listening even if you disagree with him. As far as Ferrari's position in the sport goes they are the single most important marketing tool that they have, they bring the majority of the fans as well as carrying the hopes and expectations of an entire nation with them. Clearly you don't appreciate the team and I respect your right to feel that way, but without the Scuderia F1 would be but a shadow, and millions of Tifosi around the world would, I have no doubt agree.


Well said mate. The bottom line is, this topic is not even worth arguing about. There'snot end of this debate. But people don't always give Ferrari enough credit for their input in F!. It's easy to blame Ferrari for arrogance and being a little bit bully. But Ferrari is like ManU, like LA Lakers or Red Sox & Yankees. F1 has always been highly political and always will be. We got to realize that it's not always a bad thing. As fans we like performances on the track. Regardless of what you call your car, without those two iconic red cars, it is pretty colourless. Let's focus on the 2011 season rather than what goes on behind the door which doesn't really reflect on track.


That is like saying after Michael Jordan left basketball nobody talked about him. If Ferrari left F1, any winning team after their departure would be the World Champion, but without having defeated Ferrari. Same holds for McLaren and even Williams to some extent. The big boys are the measure and there is none bigger than Ferrari. Who cares if Red Bull beat HRT and Virgin? Nobody... that's who. Red Bull's achievement this year is so great precisely because they beat Ferrari and McLaren.

Ferrari's contention that the new teams should not have a say in the sport until they have established themselves is fine by me. If you want to truly be the champion, you have to beat the champion, on his terms.

I think perhaps Ferrari is a little miffed at Red Bulls boss having twice the pull in the FOTA that Ferrari have since they own two teams?


well, the case here is more like the LA Lakers leaves NBA :-). It will destabilize F1 no doubt. But to what extent will remain always a speculation.


I agree with Montezemolo. The new teams FIRST need to prove they are more than moving chicanes before they should have something to say in the FOTA. Celebrating "their" 500th grand prix was a JOKE ! Let them prove on the track that they are worth using Colin's name...

For me they have NOTHING TO DO with this iconic name. For me F1 without Ferrari and Mc Laren is not F1 and I am not the only one.

I am watching F1 for more than 30 years now...


F1 for me is about racing. I personally couldn't care less if ferrari are there or not. An analogy would be this.....

if chelsea, man utd or say, arsenal were at some point relegated from the premiership would that mean its not the premiership any more?


You clearly don't watch enough F1 if you think that. If Ferrari left with 2 or 3 good teams and some new comers to make a new series, 70% of the F1 fanbase would follow them, if not all.

Yes, they may "whine" about the new teams but their points aren't unfounded. What have the new teams added aside from more stupidity regarding Lotus, increased pay drivers ala HRT and Branson trying to put in minimal money and getting maximum return? They're pointless moving chicanes.


When you mentioned they were mobile chicanes?

My point is f1 is not just about the big teams. The smaller teams of the past have unearthed talent which was not found in the big driver programmes we see now. Maybe a year or so from now they may get better secure budgets and less pay drivers with questionable calibre.
I'm with you on narain. Just a big cheque there. But if it's the diff between them being in the grid or not in the short term.


Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against independent teams. I admire them for making motor racing their passion and business rather than a mobile advertisement like some teams.

My problem was the manner in which the new teams were brought in and the reasoning behind it. A new team should be able to add something to the sport, not simply make the crowd bigger.

HRT and Virgin do not have the same appeal Minardi did. Everyone loved Minardi and these teams because they appealed to the fans, struggled even when they didn't necessarily succeed and when they did, celebrated with a gusto. The new teams are not like that.

I was watching the 2007 season review and there were quite a lot of Super Aguri interviews and you could tell that they were really motivated to work and become better...could you honestly say that for the Virgins which pretty much act as advertisements?



I honestly think you're missing a key point here. It is a massively complex undertaking to design, engineer and build an F1 car in the short period of time they all had.

They don't have massive budgets to rebuild a B spec car in the middle of year 1, so any lessons learned will go into Year 2. If the continue to be massively slow in years 2 and 3, then criticise.

The cosworth engine clearly cant be horrible as Williams did well once they got their early season woes out of the way.

I, and a lot of other fans I'm sure, don't want F1 turned into a 3-4 car per team championship.

Remember that F1 has a rich history of smaller teams, and some of the greatest drivers ever in F1 started in smaller teams.

I have to agree with you that Mr Branson is in F1 purely for what he can get out of it. But thats a personal opinion.


At what point in my post did I add anything about the new teams speed? Granted in that aspect they have also made F1 less entertaining as in 2008 and 2009 it would be common place for the field to be covered by about 1.3 - 1.7 secs (making a mistake in qualifying a critical one). Now its like an annoyance with trying to overtake 6 massively slow cars (ala Alonso in Monaco).

My point was more based on off track problems. HRT clearly don't have the resources to compete in F1 and to them just making it to the grid was an achievement. That wasn't the point of the new teams. And it's not like things have changed with them signing Karthikeyan purely because he brings in money (considering Tiago Monteiro was much better and consistent in 2005 and even finished 17 races straight).

Virgin has already been covered.

Lotus seem to be the most legitimate new team but their position now is uncertain following the Lotus name saga. Personally I find it annoying since this should have been handled behind closed doors.

And the thing is, even if they DO make it to the midfield what exactly will they add aside from making the midfield bigger? I can't see HRT or Virgin ever becoming front running teams. It's apparent these teams were allowed in to stem the shock of Honda and Toyota leaving and I have to say I still miss those teams. Especially Toyota.


Next year the car will be called "The Monty".


Now we just need Ford back in F1 then we have two Lotuses and two F150s LOL



The Ford F150 came to my mind too.

Poor choice of name lol

And it's kind of an insult of the Ferrari history IMO.


It's actually a nod of acknowledgment to Prost who compared the Ferrari to a truck lol


Maybe Ford should try to block it on the grounds of brand confusion. Not sure how true it is but I heard the reason Lotus didn't release an Elise Sprint is that M-B were concerned about confusion with the Sprinter van!


Little fanfare so far as regards to touted new design concepts on the Ferrari, unlike McLaren and Renault.


Here are some images of the F150 - hope it handles better than it looks!



Maybe Ferrari will be using the double cab version for dealer track days. 🙂


Luca has a pretty amazing record.

He would certainly make a better PM than the one they have now...


Even though I don't live in Italy, i must say, 'anybody will be better than what they have now'...


To echo an earlier comment, the name of the new Ferrari will certainly be comical for the American audience, as the 'F150' is Ford's, and America's, best selling pickup truck. The Ferrari F150 is evoking images of a big red F150 pickup truck with a huge Ferrari logo slapped on the front grill. Ferrari, Get Er' Done!


It will be done up like the Harley Davidson F150.


"One of the key objectives of the final years of former FIAT boss Gianni Agnelli’s life was for Ferrari to make “Made in Italy” a badge of pride internationally as far as automobile manufacturing was concerned, as opposed to a badge of shame as it had become in the 1970s and 80s. [snip] Montezemolo is... reminding those who seek to criticise him that during his tenure as boss of Ferrari, how much has been achieved and how that achievement – played out in front of a worldwide audience – has benefitted the international prestige of Italy."

...and all it took was pruning all the Italian out of the team. Drivers? German, Finnish, Brazilian, and Spanish. Sure, we accidentally had a couple of Italians in there for a few races, but not turning in results to remember. Team principal? French. Engine development? Japanese, then French. Car design? South African, then Greek. Technical director? British. Chief Engineer? Australian.

Sure, we've started trying to prune some Italians back into senior roles in the last few years. Of course, the results have suddenly stumbled at the same time...

Oh yes, it's truly shown the strength and prestige of Italy, has Ferrari. The "Made in Italy... just not by Italians" badge is one to respect, nay, fear!


F1 is all about commercial rights, selling products and advertising. We are the fans become customers of all the coolour and the politics of F1. So, maybe it's not just about getting a good image as a politian for the Ferrari boss, it could also be about having to open another financial opportunity. A lot of people here seem to have picked the idea about pick up trucks and Harley. So I guess it's already working based on the response of this blog alone. 'Made in Italy' wasn't much different to 'F150' as far as i am concerned. Not being a fan a team particular team is different to hating a team pointlessly. Amazing behaviour human have!!! or maybe just some F1 fans have only!!!!!!!!!


F150 it's a Pick up name, isn't it?


James, I read on another site that Ferrari may be following Williams in going public. Since Fiat bought back Ferrari shares from Mubadala they think that they will be floated.


James, I'm curious about Ferrari's manufacturing base these days.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but during the Harvey Postlethwaite and John Barnard days, the tubs were made in Englad, were they not? And then shipped back to Maranello to be mated with the inhouse Ferrari drive trains?

How much of the current Ferrari F1 program is designed and made at Maranello these days?

I ask that question because England has definitely been the driving force (in manufacturing and design terms) in F1 for the past 3 decades and almost every successful team has been based in Englad to some degree.

Have Ferrari reached a point now where they are definitely 100% "Made in Italy"? Your piece above about the significat role that Pat Fry is now playing at Maranello got me to wondering about this.

Kind Regards, Ive.


Really good question...i never knew that!


For US audience F150 is strongly associated with Ford bestselling truck. I guess it does not matter, since there are so few F1 fans in US anyway....


I couldn't get the picture of Alonso and Massa racing pickups around Monza when I read this post. I'm sure I'll be punished.


Who actually is intested in the name of the car? It's only for the statistics. If it's fast it will be remembered for that, same goes for when it's slow. I wished they just had one simple, consistent naming scheme, just like McLaren and Williams. It all makes it so much more logical.

Or they could really come up with a NAME, like Testarossa or something. That would be much better!


"The performance of Ferrari in the 1990s and 2000s more than achieved that."

Indeed. By bringing in Schumacher, Brawn and Napoleon. I wouldn't call that "Made in Italy".


You would think that Ferrari would do enough research to avoid naming their car after the most popular vehicle in their biggest market. How long until the "handles like a truck" jokes begin?


right about now I guess... 😉


I really hope he run's for president. He would be great for Italy and they really need to move on. When I was in Italy I could not believe how backwards it was compared to the rest of Western Europe. I think it is almost sad how things are there with all the corruption and mafia its a lot like Russia. It would great to see a modern Italy instead of what they have today. As I'm sure there are a lot more company's like Ferrari for the world to enjoy. Good luck and have a happy F150.


Leave the politics alone Monty. Nobody cares and it just makes Ferrari and FIA look even more corrupt in the eyes of the rest of the world. And fire Alonso already.


Interesting to know what Ferrari means to a country. I met an Italian the other day and we talked about this. He said "Well, you know we had beautiful cars like Lambo, Ferrari etc..and we are proud of it but at the end of the day it was the German and Spanish who did the job. So personally, I am more supportive towards Valentino Rossi"


"So personally, I am more supportive towards Valentino Rossi” who's going to drive an Italian bike for the first time on 2011...


If Italy is bogged down by Berlusconi, it's because he treats the country as his fiefdom. All of the "Ferrari's IS F1" talk is because LdM/Ferrari expect the FIA, and F1, to defer to them in the same way. Describing yourself as the embodiment of all desirable attributes is older than history. Berlusconi and the Agnellis used to agree on a lot of things that were to their mutual benefit, but that was before his political ascendancy. Hands up all of those who think Italy will benefit measurably from the expedient of the LdM Old Boy Network replacing the Berlusconi Old Boy Network?


Good luck to Luca and his Italia Futura. Anything is better than Berlusconi.


I don't understand why Ferrari continue to demand a greater say in the modern era. This is supposed to be a sport and it is only fair if all teams are equal. I do think Ferrari's power is totally overplayed, in the early 90s they were of hardly any consequence to the sport.


I have huge respect for Ferrari and everything that was achieved by Mr Ferrari and his successors, both with road cars and on the track.

However in F1 you are only as good as you're current car and 6o years of history don't count for much on the 2011 grid.

It's not right that Ferrari gets an automatic share of the revenue that is so much larger than other teams ( particularly Williams and McLaren ) but it would equally not be fair for new teams coming in to get an equal share of the pot.

We could go on and discuss sportsmanship and tactics which reached an all time low under John Todt and Ross Brawn with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel.

We saw evidence that this is still a live issue last year and Ferrari certainly go racing in a different way to most of the teams with their emphasis on their lead driver. I don't like it but that's Ferrari for you.

F1 without the team would be a much less exciting sport but not a fatally flawed one.

Montezemelo is a political animal to his fingertips so we should hardly be surprised that he's using Ferrari to aid his political ambitions. Dangerous, but in the world of Italian politics, inevitable.


Funny isn't it... "the expression of Italian excellence", full of British - or Aussie -engineers on the most relevant positions, whose cars are driven by an Spaniard and a Brazilian. Btw, having had the most succesful years under the management of a French and with a German driver...

It sounds ridiculous to me in these days to talk about the nationality of a team. Of course Ferrari was born in Italy, and it's probably one of the first brands that comes to mind when you think of Italy. But nowadays the F1 teams are perfectly international companies, bringing us a worldwide competition that reaches an audience near to 580 million people from everywhere. Montezemolo is right to show his success leading the Scuderia if he wants to sell himself, but it's funny to place here that "Italian" statement.

As Marty McSuperFly wrote above, we don't need politics on F1.


Have a look at the website of Ferrari and you'll see that there are plenty of Italian people on relevant positions ! They have a new video...


I look forward to seeing the new F1 cars this year.

I dont personally like politics in F1, but whatever Ferrari wish to do is their call. Will be interesting to see the colour scheme if the flag will be more visible.

It does always stagger me when people make comments like F1 is basically whichever series Ferrari choose.

Certainly I agree in recent times, and in the past they have had periods of success, but as an F1 fan I've never thought F1 would not exist without them.

F1 for me is about racing, and good engineering challenges.

I'm not for one moment saying the Ferrari brand is not good for F1, but I think F1 is strong enough without it.

And what would Ferrari do if they just left F1? Indycar? One make series?

To make a great alternative, they'd have to take the best teams with them.


Let us not forget that without FIAT (Fabricanti Italiano Automobili de Torino) we would not had had the chase around the rooftop test circuit of the Lingotto factory in The Italian Job. (The proper one with doors blown off!)

The old factory was an exhibition venue for a couple of years before and during the building of the new one next door. (during the building they dug up one of our WW2 unexploded bombs and the exhibition was suddenly closed for the day with no explanation) As one looked up past the decoration and hastily whitewashed concrete beams, the elongated helix of the ramp up to the roof track could be seen, it was very tempting.


Isn't this a risky move by Montezemolo? He is, at least, sailing very close to the winds of "political neutrality" enshrined in the sport. One need only think back to Turkey 2006.


I was thinking exactly the same thing. Jerez will never be raced at again after their little politcal stunt on the podium in 1997.


Sadly, I'm not aware of a sane person that's involved in politics. Ferrari will definitely lose some credits from me if Montezemolo dive into that river.


Any one of the teams could leave F1 and the series and fans would cope. It's true. Yes, we'd miss them from time to time, and hark back to the good ol' days, but things would carry on. It was an end of an era when Senna died, when Schumacher left, but people soon move on. Nobody still mourns BMW, Brabham or Tyrrell.



Wasn´t Fry responsible for the MP4-24?


That is correct - he did the 20, 22 and 24


Does Monty still think we're all at the beach when the F1 races are on?

He's certainly out to lunch 😉


Any one remember what Ferrari were like during there unsuccessful stint before the Schumacher era, where they went for a good wee while without a title. Were they as proud as they come across just now?



I have been watching Formule one for more than 30 years; even more... and I was always a Ferrari fan ! In good and bad times but I they were always a team to deal with. I remember Alesi fighting like a lion on the qualifying at Monza : superb racing ! I supported Giles Villeneuve, René Arnoux, Niki Lauda, Pironi, Alain Prost, Alboreto, Jean Alesi and all the other drivers who drove for Ferrari. Ferrari is a team, just like Mc Laren, that is always there, even when they have a bad season. Of course the time with Michael were top but I always liked to watch them, even when they struggled. There is no team like Ferrari ! I have the same kind of respect for Williams and Mc Laren...


Great to see Paul Di resta confirmed at force India today!


I don't mind Ferrari naming their new car F150 but when did Pat Fry become an Italian?

I am concerned about the new teams too. Unless they can catch up and challenge for the win which does not look very likely in the foreseeable future, their prescence in F1 is unnecessary and a hindrance to those going much faster when overtaking is now so difficult. The moveable rear wing however may change all that which remains to be seen.


I don't know why people make such a big deal of this. Of course Montezemolo will try to use his Ferrari leadership to boost whatever political chances or preferences he might have. This is nothing compared to the real political side of F1! They can't leave that aside, this 'sport' is all about politics. Almost all decisions in F1 nowadays are political.


This is all fairly meaningless symbolism over substance. The only significance that the apha-numeric designation will have is if it is not a competetive car. Then you will see the notoriously brutal Italian press comparing it to a Ford Pickup.

The bigger story is how Ferrari is pulling employees from Red Bull.


And McLaren....and with them some of their former team technical secrets....


i cant help wondering what Ford think of the new name, Ford F150 pickup, off the beaten track i know. Would Ford own rights to it name, ie; Porsche wanting to call the 911 the 901 origanlly but being blocked by Peugot.


"“It is a natural thing that a racing driver dreams of Ferrari..."

Helmut Marko, RBR.

Just for those who don't think Ferrari is something special.


...my friend Bob thinks the new Ferrari should be titled, again in an attempt to maintain the political theme, the F150-150.....150 years-150 governments. I must say, with all due apologies to our Italian friends, we often find that Bob exaggerates for effect...


Ferrari is F1 in the same way that MV Agusta used to be the World Motorcycle Championship. Great sportspeople don't want or need a handicap advantage.

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