F1 Winter Break
Ferrari deny Navy flag gesture has any political message
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Oct 2012   |  12:50 pm GMT  |  127 comments

[Updated] Ferrari is at the centre of a deepening political row in India over its decision to run both cars in the Indian Grand Prix with the flag of the Italian navy, the Marina Militare.

Two Italian sailors, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, have been held in India since February having been arrested in connection with the shooting of two Indian fishermen, who were allegedly mistaken for pirates.

The matter has been drawn out over a row over jurisdiction, according to Italian agency ANSA, “Italy says it should have jurisdiction for the case as the officers were aboard an Italian vessel in international waters, but the Indian authorities do not agree.

“The Italian government also believes that, regardless of who has jurisdiction, the marines should be exempt from prosecution in India as they were military personnel working on an anti-piracy mission.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italian network SKY Tg24 that the flag gesture at the Grand Prix, “Is the contribution that can Ferrari can make to this story.” he added on Friday evening, “We only want to make a small contribution, with great respect for the Indian authorities, so that a solution might be found through dialogue,”

Meanwhile Foreign minister Giulio Terzi said that Ferrari’s gesture, “Shows the support of the whole country for our sailors.”

Speaking to reporters today in Rome, Terzi also said the two sailors “Will return home. I’m not able to give a date, but they will come home.”

However a spokesperson in the Indian ministry of external affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said that the gesture by Ferrari at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix is “using sporting events to promote causes which are not of a sporting nature is not in keeping with the spirit of sports.”

Team boss Stefano Domenicali faced some heated questions in the FIA press conference on Friday in India, but refused to engage; he kept referring journalists to the team’s media office. He did at one point deny that it was in connection with the two sailors.

However, the statement on the Ferrari website confirms that the flag gesture is in support of the two Italian sailors. Its says,

“Greater Noida, 24 October – Scuderia Ferrari will carry the flag of the Italian Navy on the cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix.

“In doing so, Ferrari pays tribute to one of the outstanding entities of our country, also in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation currently involving two sailors from the Italian Navy.”

It’s clearly an awkward one for Domenicali who doesn’t seem comfortable to deal with something which has been decided many levels above him.

Other than to raise the profile of the cause, which it most certainly has done, it’s hard to see why Ferrari has decided to do it, as it is really a matter for the Italian foreign office, not a car company racing in F1.

The Ferrari communications director says that the statement, if you read it carefully, is not political and therefore does not fall foul of FIA statutes banning teams from making political statements via their presence in F1.

Although many members of the Indian media are quite vexed about this gesture of Ferrari, the wording of the press statement is such that it is hard to drawn any overt political message, even if on the face of it, in the circumstances, it does seem more provocative than anything we have seen before in F1, given that this situation exists and given what has been said about it by Ferrari’s president and by the Foreign Minister.

Ferrari is highlighting something to the world’s media present at the Grand Prix, of which most were ignorant beforehand and the message is being “amplified” as media professionals call it.

It has become a bigger cause as a result and puts pressure on the Indian government.

One can see how the Indians might see that as political, although Ferrari has been clever in the way it has worded its statements on the matter.

Ferrari’s logistics people will also be wary of getting the cars and freight out of the country on Monday, through India’s notoriously complex and difficult customs. It’s a concern given that the cars need to be in Abu Dhabi for a race next weekend.

* On Saturday Domenicali met with the president of the FMSCI (India’s branch of the FIA) Vicky Chandhok, who accepted the Ferrari position and out out a statement aimed at taking the heat out of the situation,

“The FMSCI would like to maintain that the FIA code of motor sport is apolitical and non-religious and the FMSCI will not permit motor sports to be politicised in any manner, ” said Chandhok.

“Stefano Domenicali has confirmed their initiative of carrying their national navy flag does not have, and should not be seen as, having any political implication.

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If Bahrain can get away with an exceptionally blatent use of F1 in it's propaganda back in April, then this should be of no concern.


Two wrongs do not male a right....


I wish we had a team in F1, to promote the 8 year slavery of the Bulgarian medics in Libya ....

I see this as no issue - even if it political, this is a quiet message and it's not much different to diplomacy or articles in media.


the cat is out of the bag now.... everyone knows what is going on, Evan if Ferrari take the flag away the damage is done...

i don't think that the FIA can do much, as far as i know each team can do whatever paint job on there car as they wish... but i don't know the ruling 4 sure, would love some clarification on the rules of this. anyone?


The rule is that teams are allowed to make minor changes as they please, such as adding a small logo, but the overall livery must remain the same if permission is given to change.

There are also rules about having the car number and driver name on the side too.


Syed Akbaruddin hit the nail on the head.


I don't think so. He says Ferrari is “using sporting events to promote causes which are not of a sporting nature is not in keeping with the spirit of sports.”

This very same government he is representing is the one whose sports minister refused to acknowledge F1 as a sport.

Now that it suits them, they consider it as sport?


That may be true, and presents an amusing irony if so.

However it doesn't affect the truth value of this particular statement.


What's the betting that when Ferrari try to leave India with their cars, they will find that the Indian Customs Officers have mysteriously found issues in the paperwork resulting in delays to the Ferrari cargo leaving India?


They'll never see that stuff again until its long obsolete.

I used to ship stuff to customers in India and the customs paperwork was just... indescribable.

Indians took the Brit bureaucracy, overlaid it with their own indigenous byzantine mindset and developed their own, unique bureaucratic nightmare.


Military vessels with Navy flag.

Export restrictions of military hightech technologies 😉

Possible safety destruction of possessed military vehicle.


Erik +1! Absolutely plausible!



Ha, ha that's brilliant!


Who could imagine that, as you say?


And for the first time in history they would have reasonable cause !


Otto read the FIA rules on the subject then ask the silly questions. Oh & before you or any other person bring up Bahrain- two wrongs don't make a right. F1 should not get involved in the politics of any country.



Why's that?

If I was Ferrari or Italy I would be making twice a big a statement !!


Ferrari says they hope "Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation”.

At present the matter is not in Italian jurisdiction and therefore these comments can only be directed toward the Indian authorities.

To that end are Ferrari suggesting that matters are not being expedited quickly enough?

Why should the matter be resolved 'soon' and not as part of the course of due process in Indian justice?

The Indian authorities have hardly locked up the marines in a hell hole jail and thrown away the key – quite the opposite in fact by releasing them on bail pending a full trial - but they have to remain in India.

Further, the matter is only 8 months old and in Europe murder/manslaughter trials can take 2 years to come for a full hearing before a court.

Then for some there may be the spectre of Italian military logos - and Italy's history of adorning inanimate objects with images of military might.

Even Ecclestone appears to recognises there is an issue when he said today, "What we can do is we can talk to the national sporting authority and let's see what can be done". If there was no need for anything to be done, Mr. E would be the first to point it out.

What would happen if a team decided to run a car in China with the Tibetan Flag as part of its livery? - and to that end is it not the intended offence caused, knowingly provoked by Ferrari that is political.


Maybe they could claim that the Italian Navy is a new sponsor. That should take care of any issues...


And open up a whole 'nother can of issues!


Is it true that Ferrari have a new gearbox this week-end ... With 7 reverse gears!


well we shall wait and see what the outcome of the case is before passing judgement, but to say that sports and politics should not be combined is to neglect a rich history of political protest through sports


it's not that we the commentariat are saying they should or shouldn't - that's an argument for another day - it's in the FIA rules and regs the two should not be co-mingled, so let us see whether the FIA decides to uphold its own code, decides to do nothing, or decides to change the rules...


I'd say Ferrari are being very stupid, not very clever.


It's clearly a political symbol ... you could see Domenicali was a little embarrassed by it in the Friday press conference. Sports teams getting involved with politics usually doesn't end up well.


Almost as stupid as the Italian Navy.


It's as blatent a political message you can get which totally flies in the face of the "F1 doesn't do politics" message that Bernie and Todt were pumping out in Bahrain.

But then this is F1 and F1 and consistency don't belong in the same sentence.

On a side note, I bet Ferrari's feelings on this issue wouldn't stretch to refusing to export their cars to India.


I for one am not that impressed by this Ferrari gesture, or any political gesture making its way into F1.

Luca di likes gestures and dramatics. Right now though, the team needs focus more than anything.

They have a driver who is able to achieve a high level of focused concentration, but this is not matched by the team. Gary Anderson's article on their woes on the aero and development side is very good.


Luca is going political.It'll no doubt stand him in good stead sometime in the near future.


Ferrari clearly in the wrong here. They need to apologise.


Totally disagree with you.

I'd stick it right up the Indians with a huge flag on each side of both Ferrari's.


Syed Akbaruddin, said that the gesture by Ferrari at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix is “using sporting events to promote causes which are not of a sporting nature is not in keeping with the spirit of sports.”

You Indian Grand Prix don't you?


how much was the Turkish GP fined for their podium stunt? I don't see how this is any different


Article 21.1 of the sporting regulations state this:


21.1 The provisions of the Code relating to national colours shall not apply to the Championship.

Both cars entered by a competitor must be presented in substantially the same livery at each Event, any change to this livery during a Championship season may only be made with the agreement of the Formula One Commission. In order that the cars of each team may be easily distinguished from one another whilst they are on the track, the on board cameras located above the principle roll structure of the first car must be predominantly fluorescent red, and the second car fluorescent yellow."

I'm not sure if this means that the F1 Commission needed to give permission for the flag change.


It's substantially the same livery. So, I'd say no.


Stupid move from Ferrari - if ever there was a time to avoid completely needless distractions and focus on the race, this is it.

Why give Stefano more problems this weekend? Why risk the Indian customs holding the cars for longer than needs be?

This shows (and I use this reservedly) immaturity and petulance somewhere in the leadership.

Ferrari, I am disappointed!


Hmm international waters on an Italian boat. Methinks India may be in breach of international law of the sea and thus illegally holding the sailors. Just saying!


Doesnt matter what waters it was. The point which no one seems to care about is two poor fishermen lost their lives. Who probably had no idea what the hell was going on when they faced two trigger happy Italian soldiers.

If these were american or british national being killed... there would have been a massive backlash from everyone!


Crime is committed on an Indian boat.

International waters -- according to Italy.

Indian waters/Indian contiguous zone -- according to India.

Just saying!


Sounds like it. No wonder Ferrari are running the flags!


Congratulations Ferrari - you have just made sure that the 2 Italian marines will have to wait even longer to leave the shores of India.

Way to go!!!!!

PS:Make sure you and your team have all the papers in order when you leave India,post the GP 😉


If what you are implying is accurate, it is a serious indictment of India and it's apparent emergence into the civilised world.

If Ferrari are the only team to have problems with Indian customs when leaving after the GP, then it is pretty obvious India is just as backward [mod] a country as it ever was.


Yes, India is 'backward' enough to let the two sailors out on bail but making them stay here until the case is decided.

Wonder what your country might have done if your nationals had been killed? Maybe you find what Ferrari did right, but please do consider that two Indians have been killed, and international waters or not, an investigation is ongoing. That needs to be respected.

For an F1 team to get into this hassle was unnecessary. And if getting in and out of India was so difficult, wonder how the race has happened for two years and so many foreign journalists (not to mention tourists when F1 or any other international sport isnt here) have come and gone.

Every country has its faults. Lets not get offensive when clearly you dont even know the whole picture.


I have to say having no knowledge of this matter before researching and writing an article on Thursday for my blog - my previous erroneous belief would have been that the Indian Justice system was a best inefficient.

Having read copious reports of the event I now see the error of my perception and clearl the Indian authorities have been quite diligent, even compassionate and proper in their handling of the matter.

The sailors were segregated from others when in prison and received special food more suitable for a European constitution. They have been bailed and are no longer in jail but cannot leave the country until a full hearing has taken place.

In Europe, those facing murder/manslaughter charges can wait up to 2 years before a full trial - it has been 8 months.

Not only this, the incident took place well inside the Indian coastline nearly 24 hours sailing time from known Somali areas of piracy. This could suggest incompetent navigational understanding by the Italian captain and marines.

Further, the tanker was seen as acting suspiciously by not making a any radio transmission over the incident as required under international protocol. They were apprehended several hours later by the Indian coastguard sailing full speed away from Indian jurisdiction.

Other areas still under investigation are around the nature of the employment status of the 6 armed Italians on the boat. There are question marks over whether some where mercenaries and others under the Italian navy employ.

All of the evidence on these issues is being properly investigated before before judgement is made. Any 'speedy' resolution as suggested by Ferrari may in fact not expedite the matter, but rather be seen as hasty and superficial resulting in an improper and unjust judgement.


I think it is a tragedy with regards to what happened to the Indian fisherman. Absolutely terrible. However I do not believe it was malevelant murder.

Imagine having a job where you must apprehend extremely dangerous pirates. You are at sea and encounter a boat with unknown occupants aboard. You follow procedures concerning the rules of engagement but you are met with total non compliance. You can't tell what the unidentified individuals are going to do next. You begin to get nervous, thinking of your fellow sailors as well as previous actions you may have seen or heard be taken by pirates in the region. You cast your mind back to your homeland, your family. Your heart is beating out of your chest, you know you must make a decision and quick. It is life and death. The choice you make regarding your course of action is possibly the most difficult you will face in your life. Whatever your decision, you cannot be judged for it; not under such circumstances.

Sure, it's dramatic but then it certainly would have been. I don't know if this is exactly how it all happened of course. But for an investigation into such a significant international incident to take more than a month let alone 8 months is unacceptable.

Even if the Italian sailors are well treated and accomodated, it doesn't mean it is pleasant being stuck in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Hefty compensation should most certainly be paid to the Indian fishermen's families by the Italian government. Of course this is not going to come close to real compensation for such a terrible loss. However, neither will ruining the lives of the sailors and their families. The whole thing is just a very sad tragedy.

Ferrari have achieved what they set out to do in expressing their opinion which they are entitled to. Afterall, we are all talking about this issue arn't we?


James, Does Wade's comment make any sense? By allowing it are you agreeing with him?


Hardly! If I agreed with every comment on here I'd be all over the place!!


James - I take offense to this comment. Cant believe you allowed this to be published!



I am quite shocked how your comment even got published.Thats very offensive.


My comments were said with the caveat of 'if', meaning that if India behaves in a certain way as a result of Ferrari expressing their opinion in a 'Democratic' nation, then it demonstrates a degree of archaic pettiness on the part of India.

It was not a straight out factual claim on my part nor was it intended to cause offense. Perhaps my wording could have been more refined though.

I have read much worse (and largely unsubstantiated) claims made about Bahrain earlier this year in the lead up to it's Grand Prix. These did not necessarily cause such indignation as has this comment regarding India.

In a truly democratic country people have differing opinions and most importantly are allowed to voice these without having to suffer oppressive consequences. This means that if Ferrari want to express the opinion that these sailors should be released, Ferrari should be allowed to do so without facing any repercussions.


I'm not sure that it is offensive at all. Setting aside political correctness for a moment, almost every F1 blog or publication seems to indicate that one country alone serves up archaic, contradictory and allegedly corrupt standards of practice when it comes to entering and exiting the country to participate in or report upon the Grand Prix.

If even a third of what I've read by respected, impartial journalists is accurate, then we need fewer people to cry offence and more to stand up and ask the difficult questions, such as why the hell is a country that clearly wanted the GP badly, and is clearly benefiting greatly from the global exposure and 'halo effect' the sport bestows, still allowing its petty officials to make life to damned difficult for those involved in the sport - difficulties which allegedly seem to melt away when extra money is produced...

Frankly, I find it offensive that in 2012 a country can still act in this way.


I think Wade has had a moment, lets hope he catches up with the 10 o'clock news..the traits of corruption. And What brought the Italian economy to it's knees. I agree corruption exist everywhere but pointing the finger and calling others backward before getting ones back yard in check can be backward..bottom line still offensive.


Request you please get down from your high horse,there.

The very fact that India hasnt come down hard about this unwanted display shown by Ferrari,speaks volumes,doesnt it?

Whatever be the outcome of this incident,Ferrari clearly crossed the line here.If this causes any repurcussions,then Ferrari AND ONLY Ferrari are to be blamed.


absolute rubbish.


Politics in Formula One? Shocking!!!


Are we not forgetting Luca di Montezemolos political ambitions.

Whilst these may be "on hold", this issue in Italy will have almost unanimous support in Italy which will do his political career no harm. Very cynical.

Seems a bit of an opportunistic move and not a good one.

Maybe Force India will come out in support of the dead fisherman and their families which would make this weekend very interesting.

Basically Ferrari can get away with it but I am sure if the other teams pulled such a stunt, the FIA, Bernie etc would come down on them like a ton of bricks.

6 Wheeled Tyrrell

This is the first thing that came to mind, LDM is using Ferrari to increase his patriotic profile just in case he decides to run for Prime Minister of Italy.


Well he is as slippery as they come, now that Berlusconi is out of the way and going to prison, LDM should have a good run to become president. He is the next best thing in terms of popular status and money....The flags are a good dossier for his foreign policy..earning him strips as we speak.


I know your type Wade, stalk and justify your means to an end, Fortunately I will drop the buck here. Put your opinions to a vote in the truest sense of democracy. stop George Bushing fellow bloggers and let it go. can we go back to talking sport?


You say "he is as slippery as they come". [mod] What proof is there that LDM has done anything wrong or untoward?

This is just your opinion, and one you are entitled to have just as I am allowed my opinion in a previous post concerning India and it's allegedly corrupt customs processes.


Ferrari clearly don't care. India along with China is one of the biggest markets for Ferrari but LDM has political aspirations.


Do you believe that those in India that can afford a ferrari really care enough for the fisherman to not buy a ferrari. I think most will prefer to show of there wealth with a ferrari...



LDM using Ferrari and F1 for his political gain.

Poor poor.


If the FIA have any credibility they need to ask Ferrari to remove it from their cars or they do not line up on Sunday!

I think it's in incredibly poor taste if Ferrari & it's not like the Indian authorities have been hostile in the treatment of the sailors- quite the contrary .!


FIA as in Ferrari International Assistance, all covered in the same stripes. Also the FIA has no credibility as its a living instrument with moving goal post, just depends whose side you are on when the music stops. I have never seen any team get one over the FIA, For its blunders and decisions since it's existence...Watched Senna the movie on Blu ray..touching stuff, but also reminded me the truth behind the FIA...


Can't believe some of the comments here.

They just put a flag sticker on a car people. That was done for awareness and to put a bit of pressure on the Indian authorities to hurry up.

Like I said, in the end it's just a sticker. Get over it.


Its not about it being just a plastic sheeted sticker.... its about the message it conveys and the intent that it was put up for.


Would you have said the same if this was the same story but with another team?


Yes! They are just 2 stickers. Ferrari didn't put the faces of those 2 sailors on their cars. Just 2 stickers of their Navy flag.

It's the media who makes a bigger political issue out of this.

I wouldn't have probably noticed those flags if not for the media. Or if I noticed them, would've thought they added something to their livery.


"I wouldn’t have probably noticed those flags if not for the media"

But isn't that pretty much the purpose of the media? To bring things to our attention that we otherwise may have missed?


Also, it's the media who made a big fuss out of this. Can't believe we needed a separate article just for these 2 stickers. Why can't we talk about F1? If nobody would've wrote about these 2 stickers, maybe 5% of those who know about this issue would've noticed.


What your not getting is the post on their website along with the stickers are causing the fuss. The whole point is that F1 is the largest international sport on a regular basis with global media coverage. They might be just 2 stickers to you but they've just infuriated a nation that is hosting these arrogant people and I might add this is probably prejudicing the legal process for the 2 sailors which have to date been treated more than fairly. AND if they are just two stickers why don't F/g remove them !- it's because they know the exposure their getting out of this.


"The only thing (in my opinion) is that will show Ferrari’s support for them and a bit more exposure so the authorities are forced to hurry up with the investigation"- Uhmm hello !! That's what the point of the regulation is- no political intervention by the sport .


Even Chandhok, the chief of Indian Motor Sport has said the flags are not a breach of rules.

Get over it people. 2 stickers. Big deal!

People tend to blow out of proportions some issues. Those two stickers can't and should not influence in any respect the outcome of that investigation. The only thing (in my opinion) is that will show Ferrari's support for them and a bit more exposure so the authorities are forced to hurry up with the investigation.

Bring Back Murray

Hamilton has moved to Mercedes now. There's nothing left for anyone to talk about apart from stickers!


Before we condemn Ferrari, think, very hard, about what spending 8 months in an INDIAN jail must be like. For doing their jobs, and at the very most making an honest mistake. In legal limbo with no clue as to when they may or may not get released, or where they will be charged.

And you are worried about a painted flag on a car, really?


The question here is only that of jurisdiction. The Italians said they were in international waters, whereas the Indians say the ship was in Indian territory.

A brief overview of the incident is as follows :

Two fishermen were killed when they approached the Italian ship. The Italians said they warned them, but the rest of the fishermen said there was no warning at all.

After the shooting, as is required by law (international maritime law), the ship is supposed to wait, but it sailed for over 70 kms before it was apprehended by the Indian Coast Guard. Thereafter, the Italian marines were taken into custody.

a) It remains for the court to establish WHERE the Italian ship was in relation to Indian territory when the shooting took place. If it was in Indian waters, it was a clear case of murder. GPS and other evidences will take care of that.

b) The Marines were NOT ill treated and were let free on bail, on the condition that they would not be able to leave the country till the law took its course. Whether it finds them innocent or guilty is its prerogative.

c) It's in incredibly bad taste for Ferrari to show such support as this is NOT a military matter. This is not as if the Marines shot some terrorists or pirates and enjoyed worldwide acclaim. They shot innocent fishermen, and the courts will establish both sides of the story and give its verdict.

Ref :






Yeah offcourse killing TWO innocent people was also part of their job wasn't it?

Cant believe how foolish some people can get!

your comparing Indian jail as if its guantanmo or something.


There job was to interdict pirates, who operate in small fast boats and who carry RPGs and machine guns. It is very likely that the Indians did not respond to a hail or command given to them by the Italian Navy boat, probably due to a language barrier, and instead did something that caused alarm on the Italian boat or boarding party. Young sailors, fingers on their triggers because of the threats of RPGs, fired when alarmed, probably on semi or full automatic. A terrible mistake, but definitely part of their job. A simple "ooops" it isn't, and Italy needs to pay compensation to the Indian families to make things right, but those sailors aren't the problem - blame the pirates that put them in those waters when, trust me, they didn't want to be there in the first place.



Since we are speculating, probably they were drunk and having some sadistic fun shooting innocent fishermen or maybe this is not their first time killing innocents, probably this time they were caught ? who knows.The point is, anyone can come up with the kind of story that pleases them, but there is a judiciary in the country which is there to find out the truth and give justice.Or if it is proven that the incident happened in international waters then, the law would take its course accordingly.But the midset that one can get away after providing a compensation is very disturbing.

It would have been a good gesture from Ferrari had they emphasized the fishermen family as well, instead of just standing up for their countrymen and waving their military flag.


I agree.

I don't know a whole lot about this incident, but I would be curious to know how the two sailors ended up in Indian custody. If they were on an Italian ship in international waters, this just doesn't seem possible?


You have to get two points straight here. According to reports they are released on bail and are not held in jail. The "honest mistake" cost someones life. So let the law take its course.


Firstly, they were not in jail for 8 months, they were granted bail after 105 days. Secondly, they were given exceptional leeway by giving them special status in the jail, kept away from other prisoners and were permitted food from a star Italian restaurant.

I love Ferrari, have been an ardent fan since I started watching F1 from '96, but there gesture here is in poor taste and hurts many.


Dude - nobody's in jail.


I would say that this would be very stupid from Ferrari, but what I´m guessing here is that Il Signore Montezemolo is trying to strenght his position as future Italian Prime Minister using Ferrari as political tool.

Looking from outside looks stupid, but inside Italy, should be a very clever move from Monty.


I think ferrari should focus on improving the car and winning rather than pulling off such stupid stunts. Its sad to see Vettel coasting to another championship while McLaren and Ferrari hit self destruct buttons and cost Hamilton and alonso the title.


displaying a national flag is one thing, but a military flag ? Very disrespectful when you're guests in that country and have been made to feel very welcome.

I wonder if theyll be willing to post a message of support for Pussy Riot on their cars when the first F1 race is held in Russia !


Ferrari are standing up for their fellow countrymen. Obviously they are not going to take a political position on something that is completely non of their business (Russian political prisoners, Tibet, etc.).


The sailors are on trial for murder...due process is taking its course...what is there to stand up for?


This seems to be at best an exceptionally naive and silly thing to do. Apart from the wider issue of F1 being supposedly a sport, and the competitors having no business making political statements of this sort, it just seems bizarrely provocative to put something a blatant on the car. Honestly, what did they expect to achieve, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of what has gone on? All they've done is make their job more difficult than it need be. It seems to me that Ferrari has been used as a platform again for Mr, di Montezemolo's domestic political aspirations.

I was reflecting on Ferrari's form of late ant it occured to me that they're in danger of repeating history - not bad but not good enough cars, inconsistent technical management, operational management distracted by media and business pressures, and senior management focused more on political games than winning races.


Luca has obviously lost focus. He is clearly using this to rally support in Italy for when he one day turns full time politician or presidential candidate.


Ferrari has at best demonstrated incredible tone deafness. And at worse they are being deliberately offensive and disingenuous.

Assuming the best, what Ferrari has been insensitive to is to the families of the two innocent fishermen who lie dead and for whom true justice will never be done. The Italian sailors who shot these innocent men are out on bail, and will likely be repatriated in due course.

It is disgusting to see Ferrari faking righteous indignation when fault lies at Italy's doorstep. No doubt the Italian sailors didn't act out of malice. But you can't very well be killing innocent people by mistake without consequence. It is not as if the waters offshore India are active theatres of war! And given the track record of recent examples of Italian maritime incompetence (Costa Concordia) and now this, one would imagine Ferrari would be embarrassed rather than trumpeting their insensitivity.

Shame on you Ferrari.


They have clearly breached protocol as well as .....


21.1 The provisions of the Code relating to national colours shall not apply to the Championship.

Both cars entered by a competitor must be presented in substantially the same livery at each Event, any change to this livery during a Championship season may only be made with the agreement of the Formula One Commission......

It's not a "little sticker", it's the full width of the car and is placed immediately above the number for maximum effect. I'd suggest that this was not done lightly or without considerable thought from high-up in Ferrari. The fact that the trackside guys are clearly embarrassed speaks volumes..........


By livery they mean overall appearance (colour) to stop teams having different coloured cars each race - as seems to happen with certain driver's helmets of late. A flag sticker doesn't consitute livery. Ferraris already carried Italian flag stickers.


Maybe you iterpret livery differently? Welcome to the happy world of "rules interpretation" 🙂 I see someone said it was ok anyway - probaby to appease the potential political storm, but we all know what really oils the wheels in India 😉


livery - A company's distinctive color scheme or emblem on vehicles is called the livery; livery first referred to the dispensing of clothes, food, or provisions to servants.



Quick amendment - now I see "Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to four years for tax fraud" -

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20102215 it all makes sense, but it is still all wrong for F1.

Isn't there a clause in the rules about bringing the sport into disrepute? 😉


If Ferrari wins this race, will they request to have their military flag flown instead of national flag? 😀


"it’s hard to see why Ferrari has decided to do it"

Really? It's easy isn't it? It's hard not to stop thinking of reasons!

a) They want the media to write about it and that sort of thing in the past has made a difference

b) maybe they want to cheer up the sailors

c) LdM may want to be prime minister of Italy and a populist gesture cannot harm that

d) etc


Force India will now be carrying Anti Obama Slogans this U.S. Grand prix to protest his Outsourcing policies which is hurting India... Come... Lets change F1 into a Political Protest Message Boards 😀


American flags get burned regularly, yet they all get over it. It's just political jockeying. There's a local election in the Indian region where the fishermen came from I heard. Cynical..?


In all seriousness, such a protest would be 100% allowed and acceptable in the United States, which is (regardless of what is purported throughout the world) still the free-est nation on earth. More so even than most Western European countries, which have many limits on freedom of speech.


Well the USA must be the "free-est nation on earth" if it allows members of a sporting event to disobey the rules?

So what action would the USA take against the FIA if Force India were excluded from the race by the FIA for running such a message?

We're not talking about what is allowed from one country to the next. We're talking about what is acceptable or not within the confines of the sport itself.


Wade, what You call the fre-est nation in the world is not able to put up a race (New Jersey) in time (2013) despite holding a contract to do so, in stark contrast to the Indian nation, LOL.


A country's level of freedom and democracy has nothing to do with whether or not it is well organized logistically or beaurocratically.

I'm quite sure that if a country such as North Korea were given a contract to host a Grand Prix, it would be perfectly on schedule and run like a Swiss watch. This doesn't mean North Korea is a free democratic country at all.

The fact that New Jersey's GP has been postponed to 2014 is of zero relevance to how democratic and free the United States is. The point you put forward is moot.


Excellent Idea. I like it!


I really must question Ferrari's business Acumen here... You just launch Ferrari Road Cars in India and then you set about hurting sentiments of the largest retail market in the world with one of the highest Purchase Power Parity (PPP) in the world vide needless political protests.... I wonder what the Ferrari Board will view this as.... especially considering that India is a country who is probably the only country to say "back off" to the United States of America which means Indians will not bow down to anyone or anything.

Not wise I say.


Ferrari says this has been done with respect to India, I think they have done quite the opposite


Yeah, sounds an awful lot like Ricky Bobby saying that any offensive comments are instantly negated by prefacing those remarks with "no offence, but".


In this era of political correctness, I for one applaud Ferrari for backing their countrymen. It's a sticker for goodness sakes...


Ol' 3-car Monte wants to run for PM and is just keeping himself in the public eye back home.


Italy has a navy???


It also has cruise ships.


Not only that. They have two (Yes, 2) Aircraft Carriers. 🙂


Ferrari playing politics? Never. Lol.

LdM scored some valuable political points in Italy, regardless of the outcome.



Will Italy also feel OK if two Indian navy men killed two Italians and Force India displayed Indian navy flag on their car in Monza in support of their release? Will USA also be OK if people from Middle east put up the flags of Taliban or Hamas for the illegal detention of their activists in Guantanamo? When the Korean athlete in Olympics was not given medal for angering Japan with a political message, how different is this Ferrari's gesture from that? I think if Ferrari is on podium, they will be welcomed with a good number of boos and also the FIA must not grant them any medal just as IOC did for the Korean athlete.


OK, now when do we start racing ?


In about 2 and a half hours time. Can't wait!


I thought Domenicalli was a decent bloke. Now I`m rather disappointed `[mod]


Don't follow that..... What has it got to do with him?


Political machinations. From ferrari. Who'd have thunk it.


BREAKING NEWS: Ferrari has been asked by Indian Government to remove the flags from their cars with immediate effect.

The row is getting uglier by the minute


They are not going to do that


ferrari have always been a law unto themselves. The shame of it is that so many have gone along for the ride, for too many decades.


Maybe not,but Ferrari are using an 'international incident', which is sub-judice, to try to effect the release or draw attention to the Italian sailors.

Since F1 is supposed, by its Rules, to be non-political, how is it that one Team can unilaterally take a stance which is nothing to do with F1, but is entirely political.

The F.I.A. should make an immediate ruling on this, but are they too weak?


What a way to gain attention. Stick to the sport please. Luca aint't no saint and Italy's been known for mafiaism and corruption. Ferrari should concentrate on giving Alonso a winning car, what a shame.

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