Montezemolo confirms Massa and reflects on F1’s business future
Scuderia Ferrari
Montezemolo confirms Massa and reflects on F1’s business future
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 May 2011   |  4:59 pm GMT  |  80 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has made a strategically timed intervention in the saga of what happens next with F1’s commercial rights.

It comes as rumours intensify that Montezemolo will meet with Daimler boss Dr Zetsche (ultimate boss of Mercedes) and Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns Red Bull as well as a representative of McLaren (likely to be Mansour Ojjeh) in Stuttgart this weekend to discuss the team’s next move.

“I think we have to be very pragmatic. At the end of 2012, the contracts of every single team with CVC will expire. So, we have three alternatives,” di Montezemolo told CNN .

“We renew with CVC, or we theoretically – as the basketball teams did in the U.S. with great success – we create our own company, like the NBA. Just to run the races, the TV rights and so.

“And third, to find a different partner. Bernie Ecclestone did a very good job but he has already sold out three times, so he doesn’t own the business anymore. It is CVC that will sell. It will be the teams’ decisions.

“At the end of 2012, the contract will expire, so theoretically CVC doesn’t own anything. I think it is important to have alternatives. We will see. We have time to do it.”

He dodged the question about Ferrari’s role in the background of the News Corp/Exor deal, suggesting that Ferrari is in the same position as all the teams and he certainly paints a very positive picture of the team’s position, which corresponds to the noises coming from some of them in Istanbul last weekend.

Throwing out there the possibility of doing an NBA and setting up their own company to run the sport – perhaps in conjunction with a media consortium like News Corp/Exor is the elephant in the room in the negotiations which lie ahead.

Up to now, Montezemolo has not shown his role in the evolution of this situation. This interview places him at the heart of it, as was only to be expected after the way he played the 2009 breakaway threat and subsequent negotiations.

The CNN interview closes off an area of interest – whether Felipe Massa’s position at the team is safe for next year. Montezemolo said, “Yes. Yes. He has a contract with us for this year [and] for next year. So absolutely yes, no question about it.”

The president also had some warm words for his lead driver, Fernando Alonso,
“Alonso is very, very strong,” he said. “He is one of the best drivers I have seen in my career, very strong in the mind, very pushing with the team, but in a constructive way, but also very close to the team. So I want to have a long time Alonso.”

Watch it here: CNN interview

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Hi James,

Firstly I frequent your blog just about on a daily basis been very informative and have helped me win some F1 related arguments in the past thanks.

Just a question… with the Article that came out where Ferrari said they started on a parallel programme with next years car… have other teams started with their development of their 2012 cars yet?

Thanks from Cape Town /\/”””””\/\


Mr Allen,thank you to excelent “Blog “,

perhaps outside the contest of the blog

but have watched a GT3 European Series on

Bloomberg TV,on Sunday Portugal,Boy,the best

Motor Racing in a long, long time. that incude

some of the current F1.


I for one am weary of Luca and Bernie’s rhetoric, I am looking forward to the day when they are both no longer part of the picture.

This is all media speculation, and posturing/manipulation of the media on the part of Luca (and Bernie).



I wouldnt believe anything anyone says about it at the moment, everything people are saying is about trying to get themselves more money. It will all sort its self out in the end, I predict with CVC renewing their contract but with the teams getting more money.

As I have said before, I would like to see the teams take control themselves. Quite why they agreed to CVC (who invest nothing yet take 50% of the sports money) in the first place baffles me.

I would like to see the teams own and control everything, they are what makes F1 F1 after all. They should hire a management company or something to that effect who are not shareholders in the sport to take care of the everyday buisness, negotiate contracts with tracks, sponsors, tv companies etc. Bernie could fill this role im sure, as much as I detest the man he is very skilled at negotiations.

At the moment there are too many people involved for their own good, every penny generated should go to the teams. That way the truly ridiculous amount of money being demanded of the circuits to stage a grand prix can be reduced, this means cheaper tickets etc. It also means the tracks dont have to secure 10000 year contracts to be able to get enough money to make yet another airfield like run off area to keep the FIA happy. This surely means we can vary the circuits on the callander year by year a bit more. Something I would love to see.


Teams vs. Mr. E ownership…

I have to tell you, in terms of keeping the business model simple and functional – you can’t take that away from what Mr. E. He is The Man.

Some speak about Mr. E. as if we know him – but we don’t. Some even paint him as bad or bad for F1. But the F1 you enjoy today – he has achieved and delivered to you. his work has been blossoming for a while, but there is no argument in the fact that the man has kept the structure simple, product generally very good, and interest high.

This is the one major weakness of the new ownership proposal – and it is that “the dragon” will have too many heads. Right now, it’s just a normal one headed dragon. You have to say Mr. E. plays hardball, but am I alone in thinking that the man has never let the power and authority he has get to his head? How many powerful men can you say that about? It’s not like he’s been doing it for 5 years and we praise him – we’re talking about decades long track record here.

So while I enjoy the drama for drama’s sake in this power struggle for a very big asset, a part of me thinks that if the teams do use their very good position this time around to muscle Mr. E. out – they may end up regretting it. But I say again – a transition is upon us, and it’s better to be pro-active about it. Mr. E. can’t run it forever, and I just can’t point to a man who could have the power and not let it corrupt him. Just look at the IMF Pres.


Posturing, nothing less & nothing more!

If the teams were going to break away they would have when the likes of Honda, BMW, Renault, & Toyota were still part of the gang.

I personally wish they’d had the balls to break away and leave Ecclestone & the FIA (can anyone believe that Mosley is still part of the FIA)?

Howe many F1 fans want to see 4 cylinder engines in F1.

Final note: this topic speaks volumes about how F1 is both run & reported, others may also have noted the lack of comment from James!?!


What would you like me to say? I’m reporting the story, providing analysis and insight where I can add it. At this stage it’s not for me to say what is the best way forward as there is a long way to go and a lot of negotiating to do




What does this refer to?


I think the big4(mclaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, redbull) will snap up the sport with the other teams to take smaller shares & Rupert looks after the coverage delivery. I hope the free coverage I enjoy now (in oz) continues but my head tells me there’s a fair chance that won’t happen


I am shocked. Luka said terrible and awful things. I don’t understand what Luka wants. Now racing is absolutely fantastic. FormulaOne is perfect with Pirelli, drs, kers and new rules. Of course it’s the most interesting F1 what I could see for last seasons. I really enjoy many overtakings, fights on the track, great DRS system and KERS. It’s fantastic. But Luka continues his old song about “bad modern FormulaOne”. I am very angry and really don’t want to see Luka in F1 and hear his lying talkings anymore.


New rules are great. F1 is now the best. This is the best season from 1950. DRS is great. So Monezemolo says crazy thngs. I think Luka disgraces own team, he disgraces Formula1. I am really tired his foolish. I will be glad if Luka will disappear from F1 world and go in politic


F1 = unatainable car technology for average Joe.

Ferrari = unatainable car for average Joe.

Mercedes, Renault, Infinity, in the past BMW, Toyota, Honda – everyday cars many drive.

Ferrari is very much F1, and everyone competing against them wishes they could have that ultra high end high margin market. They are a bit upset because they are one of few for whom v8 and v10 are marketing strategies in F1.


McLaren and Porsche might have a thing or two to say about ferraris dominance in small supercars over the coming 3 years.

The mp4-12c is the first of a number of cars, and Porsche are working on a new Range.

Particularly porsche are pushing hard on hybrid tech so watch out Luca! 🙂


You are right, and Porsche is the #1 luxury brand in US by volume I hear – but is not in F1 now. Porsches are $50-100k mostly, not $250k – that’s a huge per unit margin difference. And to be honest that MP will not reach Ferrari numbers I don’t think. Put a Ferrari next to it’s competitors and ask people passing by which one they would buy and guess what they would pick?

There are many capable cars that can take on Ferrari on performance and price – but they are not Ferrari in the end. Same like Rolex – a Timex will tell time well, but you don’t see a Ferrari driver wearing one. Ferrari drivers aren’t looking for value, they are looking for the horse. And it will be harder for Ferrari to charge $250k for a turbo 4 technology.


Indeed, but that is exactly the marketplace Porsches new car and the next cars coming out of McLaren are likely to pitch into.

I know the new porsche is due to drop in between the new spyder (the hybrid supercar) and the top 911s. It is likely to be comparable in Carbon rather than steel so like the 458 and MP40-12c

We are seeing a great fight developing in that space. Its been too long since we’ve had a proper “arms race” in the small supercar market. Everyone seems to be raising their game, with the 458 being the benchmark.


Once again, Montiezemolo plays the game of let’s change things so Ferrari can win. He shares some responsibiliy for the withdrawl of Honda and Toyoto from F-1 with his break away plan. Why would anyone want to be a part of his own selfish scheme. I like Ferrari a lot, but F-1 can survive without them.


Actually F1 wouldn’t survive without them.

And the ‘lets change things so Ferrari can win’ doesn’t make sense, given the long periods without winning they have endured (20 years before michael won it for them) where they stayed in the sport.

Sebastiaan Hekman

I saw the interview on CCN last night and noticed that, while Montezemolo made an effort to state convincingly that Massa would stay on, his body language told me otherwise. ‘Yes, yes, Massa has a contract for this year and next year. Yes, yes (looking firmly into the camera)’. But while he was talking his head was shaking ‘No, no, no’ and he held out his right hand as a stop sign. Unless the Italians use an other body language than the rest of Europe I would say that Montezemolo was confirming what is stated on paper, but for him Massa has no future at Ferrari. I am not a ‘Lie to me’ expert, but I thought that this was quite clear.

On the other hand when he spoke about Alonso, he was clear, straightforward, convincing. ‘The best driver they have had around at Ferrari’, he said. Until his time is over and replaced by another ‘best ever’.


Well the only person that can top Alonso to be the new ‘best ever’ can only be Vettel.


You are joking right?

Second part of last season..RB6 was considerably faster then Ferrari, agree? And still Alonso owned Vettel. Just imagine if Alonso was driving a RB6 also.

I know I sound like a Vettel hater, but you comment made me laugh.

Ferrari will stay in F1 no matter what..and Massa has his place for 2012 at Ferrari unless his form goes down and someone like Rosberg would accept a change.

Realistically, do you guys see anyone else except Rosberg to take a Ferrari seat in case Massa screws up?


When he struggles for words in English his head does go back in forth like you are saying no….that is just him would not read anymore into it. IMO



Interesting point. I have seen the news item as he does SHAKE his head when he says ‘Yes’. He does not nod as you point out – ‘go back in forth like you are saying no’. Whether we are reading too much into it, time will tell. IMHO, he was not struggling for words in English at that particular point of the interview, apparently.



We all know Bernie is a master at producing watertight contracts which cover every eventuality.

when he negotiated new agreements with the classic circuits like Silverstone on behalf of FOM, did he put any form of words into the contracts that prevents the circuits running races for a breakaway series ?

Personally I would like to see the racing series, whatever it is ultimately called, owned by the teams, but could they find that they have none of the classic circuits available to them ?


And one more thing. There is no shortage of circuits out there. If some would absolutely have to take a pause for a year or two – it wouldn’t be end of the world.

Finally – would it be unreasonable for circuits to demand specific team participation in contracts? ie. F1 with team Ferrari must show up once a year at Monaco?


Water tight or nor every contract has a provision for no show. Every circuit would want it, and why would Mr. E. not agree to it?

His strength comes from bringing F1 to the circuit each year. If he can’t deliver that content what basis does he have to collect funds, enforce the contract or prevent the circuits from securing income? Answer: none.

He does have options. Like rebrand F2 into F1 and lock put the circuits. But that would fall apart quickly – right?

F1 is a huge house of cards an teams have finally figured out the one card that will make it all come down. I wonder if they will agree to more guaranteed income. My feeling is they feel they can own all the income and want it. Plus control of course.

Put it this way, is there anyone here who is part of a very successful business who would be presented with a golden opportunity to take the business over and own it all and would instead just take a raise from the boss? Exactly!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, surprise early decision to keep Massa for next year.

Who do you think Ferrari are waiting for? Have they come to the realisation that they have a design and not a driver problem?


I think they really don’t have much option. Massa is a good driver and he’s doing well this year. Which other driver of his calibre could take his place?

Unfortunatelly Kubica is no longer a safe choice for next year. As much as I like him and think he’s a brilliant driver, if I were a team boss I wouldn’t change drivers for Kubica next season (if he comes back, which I hope he will) as he’ll be an unknown. So as Massa has a valid contract and there’s not much choice really, I don’t think it’s that surprising, that they already say they’d keep him.


I would absolutely love to see Lewis at Ferrari to take on Fernando. Or even seb.


Call me crazy but I did love Alonso/Hamilton paring. I’d have nothing against them being team mates again. If only someone could handle them properly, they would be great.


Well it was Kubica, clearly. They want Alonso long term and beyond that it’s a work in progress I guess. Massa is stronger this year and he’s still quite young. There are others but any choice has to fit with Alonso. I think they are more focussed on getting the car right, Alonso proved last year with his Autumn comeback that he’ll get the job done if they give him the car


Well James the only thing that helped Alonso last year was the fragility of the redbull as if Vettel had won in korea Alonso wont have been in with a fighting chance in Abu-dhabi.


I really can’t see Kubica agreeing to play #2 driver.

And I can’t see Alonso accepting a joint #1 driver.

I think they are looking for a good understudy so that Alonso can be clear #1 with the #2 bringing hope the points for constructers and picking up wins on the odd day when Alonso can’t.



The only way this could happen is by bringing a young talented driver who is good enough to be in top 3 or 4. A young driver will accept being #2 to Alonso as lon g as he gets a chance to drive the red car. This would look amazing on his CV for the future.

I don’t think any of the top drivers atm would agree to be #2 at Ferrari.

Except Rosberg, Di Resta or Kobayashi I don’t rly see any potential drivers for Ferrari..and I’m not sure Rosberg would like to play #2.


Edward Valentine

Off the track our great sport is as clear mud. This all seems like fighting talk to get the best price for the News corp take over.

This could get very messy yet. It is not sending a positive message to sponsors – What will happen if they leave? Then there will be no money at all!



Have you heard any news regarding marco Di Luca? I’ve heard he’s been moved aside at maranello.

Even for the big revolving red door I’m surprised…Very soon


A new series would be great! New foundations, new management, FIA sacked and some havoc at the beginning I suppose but it will give F1 a fresh start, after having been tossed and turned by Bernie and the politicians at the FIA. I would love to see it happen!!!!

And I can’t agree with those who say Ferrari wants to breakaway bcse they’re not winning bcse then Ferrari would have 1) left the sport in the 80’s and 90’s 2) would not have been fighting for the title last year.

Michael Grievson

its all posturing in my book. IMO it will all be sorted.


You could be right. But it’s way too serious this time around and teams are in an extremely good position early in the game.

If I was to answer a poll I think they will carry through and play hardball with CVC like never before to buy it out.

Michael Prestia

I am hoping for a breakaway series. Why? Because I do not understand who controls the sport, the rules, the decisions to go to TIMBUCKTOO to hold a race on a track that was designed for a procession.

Lets hope that the breakaway series has stable rules, is geared towards what the fans want and makes a view of the pitlane more accessible to the fans and not just rich people.

If you think this a Ferrari only push you are mistaken. McLaren wants their piece of the pie too.


It’s purely about the money.


just media play to build arguments for the new concorde negotiation to get higher revenue share than current 50%.

well, ok, we will have full media of this stuff next year or so, we are getting used to this, aren’t we?

nothing’s going to change except the teams will get 60-65%


Surely Mad Monty is in breach of clause 4.5 (a), and definitely in breach of clause 4.5 (b) of the concorde agreement.

Oh wait, Ferrari don’t play by the same rules as the others, so that OK then.


Indeed – or at least we think indeed, because we don’t even know if there is a clause 4.5 in the agreement?


Well, if Luca is serious about Ferrari abandoning F1, then he should keep his word (at least once). I’ve seen this movie before and the plot is not new and extremely boring.

Formula 1 without Ferrari is OK with me. Just do it, Luca!


It’s interesting to read the Ferrari is formula one comments.

There are two facts in play here.

F1 is more valuable with Ferrari in it.

Similarly, Ferrari racing in a series without the major f1 teams would damage their image.

Therefore Ferrari will look to stay in f1 or move to another series with the other top teams.

I cannot and will never bring myself to like ldm. He is a self indulgent little man who I think causes more damage to f1s and ferraris image than any new team or engine formula will ever do. He like many others enjoys tge sound of his own voice.


Andy C,

Is it because L,d.M is a success story and

you are just ordinary.


Yes, of course I’m certainly not worthy of commenting. And he is my absolute hero hence why I feel so bitter about it LOL 🙂


Formula 1 without Ferrari is ok for me too. I’ll watch the series where the Maranello based team goes to… Ferrari is Formula 1 and Formula 1 is Ferrari !

With all this rules, Ferrari, Mc Laren, Mercedes and others have to start a breakaway series ! No 4 cylinder engines please !


Don’t worry, Ferrari are going to sign whatever deal Mr E will offer them, maybe with a bit more cash on the table as usual and the new generation of engines will make its appearance despite some resistance from Maranello and lesser informed fans who have no political power at all, I don’t understand why F1 fans bother with loud online declarations from the armchair, it’s a waste of time.


Alot of people underestimate the clout of ferrari in F1 am a ugandan most of you probably have never heard of my country but the small fan base of F1 here is all ferrari and without ferrari most people would never bother watching F1 its not only here in uganda ive travelled to many african countries plus arab countries and the impression i get is that ferrari is F1 in all these countries plus i believe that ferrari are talking for majority of the big teams like mclaren its like manutd quitting the premiership i doubt many people will still like the premiership.


Ferrari is nothing without the othe top teams.

I would like to think that ALL of the teams make F1 happen unless you want more advantages to Ferrari than they have already!


Totally agree with you. I will not follow a series pretending to be “Formula One” without Ferrari. Same could be said about Williams and McLaren. No F1 without this three IMHO.


You guys are worrying in vain: Ferrari will most definitely stay in F1 but will try to negociate some kind of special conditions, hence the crying little kid attitude. Besides, Ferrari are not winning at the moment, so blame it on the DRS or KERS. What on earth does Luca want to say with F1 being too artificial – let’s bring 1970s car designs back and get drivers killed?

All the teams on the grid, including Ferrari, will have 1.6-litre turbocharged engines in 2013 and they will live happily ever after. If Ferrari car owners feel the need for V100 engines, it’s not F1’s problem. Ferrari can’t find its place in the modern world unfortunately, thirsty sports cars are not relevant in the 21st century.

In his interview Montezemolo also says he’s not happy with the new tracks – but why build a huge theme park in Abu Dhabi? The man’s a sophist. He’ll plug whatever suits Ferrari at the moment and he knows most people will repeat his words like parrots without giving it a second thought. Mosley was right about this interesting phenomenon.


Felipe has a contract in the same way that kimi had a contract. I believe Luca now uses it as toilet paper.

The one concept ldm will not like about the NBA of course is that it is predicated around fairness (ie the draft) so success is shared around. He will presumably sort that glitch out in the new NBA type f1 🙂

We are seeing the real felipe this year again. I hope his upturn in form continues.

Luca and Murdoch. A match made in heaven. The only question being of course, which one us very and which one is ernie?


Ferrari in recent history respects drivers contracts with the exception of Kimi.


Ferrari respected Kimi’s contract too.

A contract can be terminated at any time with the agreement of both parties.

Kimi agreed to an early termination in return for a large sum of money.

This is not a contract being ignored! This is both sides agreeing to terminate it.

Generally a contract being ignored leads to a long court case. I don’t recall Kimi taking Ferarri to court.



The point I’m making is having a contract and driving are not totally linked. Kimi and luizzi both had a contract. Neither one arrived on the grid.


It’s world champion kimi raikonnen Jo


Best and last Ferrari champion for some time. His quietness said thousands words.. If Ferrari turned to his support, like after Hungary 09, he would be champion in 08 too.. Shame what they did to Kimi.


A very bored and not too involved (unfortunatelly) world champion Kimi Raikonnen, Andy.


It’s Kimi Raikkonen.


It meant to read

Which one is bert and which one is ernie.


Massa is not one of Ferrari’s troubles, he’s a good driver and he’s as loyal as they come. They need cutting edge engineering and an aerodynamicist who can make Newey say ‘why didn’t I think of that?”

Luca, instead of playing ‘Monopoly’ with the sport, go shop for some better people behind the drawing boards at Maranello.


“Luca, instead of playing ‘Monopoly’ with the sport, go shop for some better people behind the drawing boards at Maranello.”

Read what Luca said: “It will be the teams’ decision.” He may have been the catalyst for this, but he could not be clearer that most if not ALL the teams need to take ownership of the sport.

Luca quotes the NBA ownership model, but I believe the NHL, MLB and NFL have similar ownership structures, whereby each comprises a group of team owners who effectively operate as the shareholders of a corporation. Each league employ commissioners to act in the best interests of both the game and the owners. The profits are divided up so that the owners get some, the players get some and the league office gets some. Also some goes to the companies that make the NBA merchandise purchased by fans (i.e. jerseys, caps, t-shirts, etc.).


Sometimes I’d like the teams to buy the sport just to stop those threats of breakaway series who keeps coming year in year out.

This times it looks serious. The people making the bid are relying on partners from the USA, Abu Dhabi and most importantly from Italy above Ferrari. Add to that News Corp and it feels like a well prepared operation.

The weak point is that only Ferrari is part of the operation. How can the other teams accept it ?

If it is as serious as it looks, Bernie’s only solution is to play the teams against Ferrari after playing Ferrari against the others for so many years. Maybe that’s why LdM is including all the teams in his statements talking of an NBA like solution.

It’s only the 1st episode of what might be Bernie’s last Hurrah

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Bernie will win this one. He is too clever.


No he will walk away and the teams will own F1.

Is clever is over


I don’t see Bernie as the “walk away” type. If he was in it for the money, he’d have walked years ago.

I think he will be here until they carry him away at shoulder height! Who knows when that will be! Let’s face it, he looks pretty good on his years. I hope I look and sound as good at that age!



Wouldn’t surprise me if Bernie was the one pulling the strings he does have previous.


Ferrari already get preferential treatment due to their historic status.

This time is as serious as winter in north pole. The teams won’t let this one slide – you don’t get in a great position like this with so much time to go and let it melt away. It’s like having quads at a poker game and no one calls a clock on you to act.

This time it will change hands. Unless CVC sacrifices 1/2 of that 300M they get annually – from what I read somewhere.

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