Montezemolo: Mercedes form since its Pirelli test damages F1 credibility
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Aug 2013   |  11:51 am GMT  |  274 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes that Mercedes’ form since the test it conducted with Pirelli in Barcelona in May damages the credibility of the championship.

Since the test, Mercedes has won three of five Grands Prix and moved ahead of Ferrari into second place in the Constructors’ Championship. Mercedes has 208 points and Ferrari 194, with Red Bull on top with 277pts.

In a wide-ranging interview in Corriere della Sera, which was reproduced on the Ferrari.com site, Montezemolo welcomed the return of testing next season and made comparison with the situation we had this season where its restriction led to confusion over what kind of testing was permissible, which ultimately led to the International Tribunal hearing over the Mercedes test. This concluded that Mercedes had breached the Sporting Regulations, but had done so in good faith and basically found Mercedes, Pirelli and the FIA responsible in equal measure for the situation.

“We will finally have testing again and not a farce like what we saw this year with one team doing illegal testing, without even paying the right penalty for it,” Montezemolo said. “In this case, I would have expected more clarity and courage from the FIA.

“On the other hand, the benefits gained by the team that carried out the secret banned testing are watched by everyone. Before then, it had not won a single Grand Prix, then after the test it won three out of five races. These are the sort of serious incidents that affect F1’s credibility and alter the championship.”

Mercedes scored 72 points in the first five races of the season and in the five races since Monaco has scored 136, almost double the number.

At the same time, Ferrari has done the opposite; 117 points from the first five races and only 77 from the last five.

The Mercedes has had consistent qualifying pace throughout the period with seven out of ten pole positions, but the difference is clearly in race performance and specifically tyre management.

Monzezemolo also used the interview to reiterate that he felt he needed to intervene and publicly tick off Fernando Alonso because of “some attitudes, a few words, some outbursts..”

There has been a feeling recently that Alonso was running the show and this episode may well be aimed at recalibrating things at Maranello. It’s a calculated strategy, Montezemolo knowing that Red Bull is unlikely to take Alonso and there is nowhere else for him to go.


But he also put Felipe Massa on notice,

“Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy. But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points. Then, at some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do.”

Massa has had several stays of execution; in recent years his career has been a prevailing trend of underachievement with occasional runs of form.

Montezemolo is clearly irked by the general state of his team and experience suggests that when he gets irked, something needs to change; he gave team boss Stefano Domenicali the thumbs up for his work, but encouraged him to be tougher and to make hard decisions. It may be that this time Massa does not escape the axe.

Last year the team left it until late in the season for Massa to prove his form, which he did in the closing stages. It will be interesting to see if there is any movement in the transfer market by Ferrari once F1 comes back off its summer break. Nico Hulkenberg is at the top of a short list of possible candidates, but it is understood that the Ferrari management isn’t wildly excited about any of the options. There has been speculation about an offer to Kimi Raikkonen, as a possible hedge against a fall out with Alonso, but its unlikely that he would go there to partner the Spaniard.

If the F1 team is toiling a little at the moment, Ferrari’s road car operation is in the form of its life with its strongest ever net cash position at €1.2 billion and net profits for the first six months of 2013 up by 20% to €116 million on revenues of €1.17 billion. Sales in China slowed, while the US and UK were both up, with the UK taking over from Germany as Ferrari’s leading European market.

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1

Look at Fangio and his 5 World Champion driver tittles that stood for so long as ultimate number. Why is that ? Check for how many different stables Maestro was driving. And it was always the best stable at a given time. I am a Ferrari supporter but Alonso must move on, much the same what Lewis did. In the mean time let Luca’s brain power deliver something instead of only slapping on the wrists the only asset that SF got. Go Alonso, go !!!

2

about 19 different things going on here. Overall, for me, LDM is correct re double standard on technical testing. Mercedes had an information advantage and have been pushing ever since, with results. However I think it came down to interpretation of the rule itslef re in season testing for tyres -welcome to Formula One. The real issue here is the mis management of Ferrari by LDM and his people. He is trying to spin it and move focus away from internal issues, which he has overall say. How has Massa managed to stay around? Why the soft decision making from Domenacali? Why was he hired in the first place? A LDM puppet? Take these things with the complete stuff up in Dubai a couple years back and the conclusion is poor management and use of resource. Alonso is obviously over it. In season testing is good, but it just shows that Ferrari like their odds only when they outspend everyone. Their performance drops right off when they do not have abilty to change things up (which costs money)Making a decision and staying with for a while and seeing the results is not what these guys are all about. Weak. I feel for Alonso.

3

Alonso is not part of the team, he is the team. Once Luca realizes that maybe the shop could be brought to order. As it is Ferrari with Luca( on the helm) reminds me of that Italian Captain who crashed Concordia into the island and then claiming that people who lost their lives were not victims of his incompetence, but the failure of some pumps ,was to be blamed, which didn’t have a capacity to extract sea water from a capsizing ship. The mirror would be the right to thing to be given to him and best cure for Montezemolo. Just keep(walking) blaming everyone else, that helps a lot.

4

At the mid time of the Testgate saga it came out Ferrari had tested their 2011 car, which they said was legal because it was 2 years old and any data would be useless. This week they are testing the 2011 car again. The test is to find out how it relates to their wind tunnel and hoping to then see how their 2013 car is missing out. So this time (ha ha) the data will be useful, meaning Ferrari use whatever they can to gain an advantage, but complain when others do the same or better than them.

All through the 70’s they did naughty things, in the Shumacher era they were on and abound the mark all the time………

5

What a sore old loser Montezemolo is. He should look at themselves maybe he think only with cheatiing you can be successfull.

Go retire Luca!

6

whilst the past has some relevance i am more concerned with the present, in particular this ’13 season.

pirelli introduce trash tyres and they are a complete disaster. they then say that they want to test tyres for ’14 but there are no ’14 cars even built!

pirelli then undertake a ‘secret’ test with mercedes benz accompanied with all the trappings of subterfuge then guess what? mercedes, who have won one race in three years and are notoriously savage on their tyres all of a sudden post numerous pole positions and win three out of five races.

is this purely and simply a coincidence? IMO no. mercedes would have us believe that their win in hungary was a ‘miracle’ and totally unexpected. of course it wasn’t. they must think that we are all stupid, well some are because some believe that coincidence has struck at least three times!

of course LDM is raving. he understands that he has been duped by a complacent and complicit FIA. in his position i would say the exact same. no one likes to be made a monkey. of course those that don’t quite understand seem to forget that all teams, apart from those who run mercedes engines, were party to the protest and the subsequent actions. there is no quick resolution to the opposing arguments, however, anyone, IMO, who thinks that mercedes benz have lucked in simply underestimate the machiavellian undercurrents that are always lurking just under the surface of F1.

7

Ferrari should do the talking on track. I advice them to go on family holiday and sort their team out.

Horner, look what you have done! That post race interview on bbc was cunning. What a sly fox you are … ferrari is all over the internet now.

I don’t feel sorry for ferrari/Alonso. What goes around comes around. Let’s hope they wise up and play their part in a thrilling finale of the 2013 Driver’s Championship. I am talking racing here, not political mind games.

8

This is classic Ferrari – ‘we are not winning so the others must be cheating.’ This is traditionally followed by getting something that the winners are doing banned (even though they have been doing it for some time and everyone knew about it). They do not seem to have the same leverage with the FIA that they traditionally enjoyed. They will have to try winning by being better than the competition.

9

Now

we clearly see what a splendid job Jean Todt was doing during his days at Ferrari. Because it was said one of his many duties was keeping di Montezemolo a bit distanced from the daily life of the F1 team and thus also from making rash public statements 🙂

10

Joe Public on the street just sees that a team got sent to a court hearing, found guilty, and is now winning all of a sudden. It absolutely tarnishes the sport… Cannot be denied. Arguments for an against the test that I read here are both valid, but the less informed punter thinks the grands prix are being won by a cheating team at the moment

11

Let me see if I get this right; A few years ago we discovered the following regarding Ferrari: (1) They have the power to veto any rule or regulation that they do not like; (2) They are secretly being paid millions as special bonus for being themselves by Bernie

(3) Bridgestone provided Ferrari with their best built tires, secret codes and a special tire expert; none of these special amenities were available; or are available to any other team. Oh, now I get it Merc and the other teams are the ones that have been getting the special treatment after all.

12

Let me see if I get this right; A few years we discovered the following regarding Ferrari: (1) They have the power to veto any rules and regulations that they do not like; (2) They are secretly being paid a special bonus for being themselves by Bernie

(3) Bridgestone provided Ferrari with their best built tires, secret codes and a special tire expert; none of these special amenities were available; or are available to any other team. Oh, now I get it Merc and the other teams that are the ones that have been getting the special treatment after all.

13

Ferarri breaking the seal on Massa’s gearbox at Austin last year, demoting their own driver five grid slots, putting three other drivers onto the dirty side, damaged F1’s credibility in the new commercial market that is the United States.

However, peoples’ memories seem to be short, so even if what this Montezemolo fellow was true, wouldn’t worry about it.

14

C’mon Luca, you conveniently forgotten those years when FIArrari thrived that made F1 so boring.

Well, Ross is a very smart man when FIArrari benefitted, so now it’s Merc turn, honestly I don’t mind before Red Bull makes it boring.

But you know, Merc has improved alot even before the secret test so the second part of the season MUST be interesting.

Now if Ferrari excel at Spa I would love to hear from Luca, the trouble with these CEOs…..

15

If Mercedes tyre test with Pirelli is the reason Mercedes is winning then Ross Brawn is a real genus for identifying that. LDM should try hard to identify Ferrari’s problem rather than blaming others.

16

I have to say personally I though Merc got away lightly (id gave given them a 1 race ban maybe with another suspended) but that was the decision and at least we know 100% they were in the wrong and they accepted the judgement and that they were wrong. So it’s time to move on.

Secondly a lot of people are talking about the advantage gained or not gained, even if they gained no advantage they deserved to be punished as they had broken the rules.

17

You have to read the judgment to understand the punishment. The Tribunal accepted Merc believed they had permission for the test. Indeed most people would assume the statement from the FIA race director and legal department was permission for the test. The provisions associated with the permission were actually related to Pirelli and their obligations. Had Pirelli given the same opportunity to the other teams this test would probably have been judged to be legal. In other word Merc were punished for something Pirelli failed to do. You could argue that Merc should have ensured that Pirelli had complied with the requirements, however there is nothing in the rules that state they are obliged to do so. I think the findings reflects these facts and the punishment was not so much a penalty but more a redress to offset any perceived gain by Merc over the other teams.

18

Jake your just making things up, read the findings of the tribunal, Merc are found to have been at fault, they were not found blameless they were found to be in breach of regulations and they were found to have been responsible for that breach. The key word is responsible as in their fault, hence they were punished. Pirelli were found guilty too but Merc were found responsible for breaking the rules. Thats it really

19

Hey Jake I’m afraid your mistaken, if you read the verdict as I have you will see that Merc were found guilty of breaking the rules (article 22.4 h to be exact). The tribunal found that there had been a breach in the rules (James allisons words not mine). The young driver ban and official reprimand were punishments handed out to a guilty party judged guilty by a tribunal, a verdict that was accepted by the guilty party. Pirelli were also reprimanded but merc were punished for there infringement of article 22.4h which had nothing to do with informing other teams. I accept the decision and think you should either accept the actual decision or disagree with it instead of agreeing with a factious decision you made up.

20

David C,

Here is where I am coming from:

Merc had a document from the FIA stating that provided certain provisions were met then it could be argued that rule 22 did not apply to the tyre test.

The provisions were:

Pirelli should run the test. If you look into the details it is clear Merc did everything possible to make sure it was a Pirelli test.

All teams should be given equal opportunity to take part in the test. The documentation presented along with the findings clearly places the emphasis on Pirelli to ensure this provision is met. They failed to do so.

The result of Pirelli failing to do this and the reason Merc were found in breach, was that the interpretation of rule 22 could no longer apply. That is why they were in breach and why the tribunal accepted Merc believed they were operating within the rules and the reason for the light penalty.

22

Alonso’s not the problem, Massa neither, its the technical structure within Ferrari which fails to produce a fast enough race car and of course the wind tunnel correlation issues don’t help either. Mercedes are seriously committed and it shows, personally I am not convinced they will enjoy the sustained F1 success they crave but for sure they are up for it. Ferrari on the other hand are flat all round.

Regarding Massa, whom I admire and repect greatly, I think he will enjoy a decent second half to the season but still leave Ferrari. Just a feeling, which I didn’t have last season, maybe there is a bit of fatigue on both sides at this stage.

23

LDM is certainly stirring the pot and i say well done. F1 needs to have people out there that are prepared to say what is on their minds…rightly or wrongly.

to say that mercedes gained nothing from the ‘secret’ tests is just plain wrong. people seem to ignore the fact that rosberg explained, when questioned, that ‘of course i knew what tyres i was testing’. how could i give feed back without this knowledge ?’. of course he never passed any of this data/information to his team???

yes, the tyres were perceived to be the problem but there is a view that the problem was more with the car than the tyres. if this is correct then the ‘secret’ tests would’ve been invaluable.

ferrari are ferrari and their outspoken leader has again made his points. good for him. obviously the car is not up to the same level as the other top teams and they will have to live with that. fundamentally luca is correct in his assumptions. his opinion is as valid as anyone elses.

25

More excuses and finger pointing to draw attention from another underwhelming season at Ferrari.

26

“Waaaaah! Mercedes has done a better job of developing their car than we have.” -LdM

Reading betweent the lines on this, LdM is calling the intergrity of the FIA into question just as much as he is complaining about Mercedes. The FIA looked into the matter and made its decision based on, ubdoubtedly, more evidence than LdM has. His comments are strictly speculative, and obviously highly biased. By making this statement, whether he realizes it or not, he saying the FIA did not do its job honestly.

The FIA does have history of less-than-fair decisions, but in this case, they tried to be very transparent. I don’t believe what LdM is saying has any more credibility than a tabloid story.

27

I was wondering why no one had pointed out the obvious irony of his claim that the FIA credibility was diminished by the Pirelli/Merc test whilst he was publicly criticising the independent FIA tribunal, classic fail!

28
Thread the Needle

Ferrari do to much talking and not enough action

These last few years its was neweys fault for building a great car, now Mercedes are getting it

No wonder Alonso wants out

29

Casual fans can easily relate to Mercedes’ post-testgate change in form. LDM is playing to the masses with his deliberately simplistic assessment. He would (will?) make a good politician.

30

He’s trying to make it sound like Mercedes came out of nowhere with these great results. Mercedes had two podium finishes this season before the test and also three pole positions. They were favorites to win Monaco going into the season because of their one-lap pace. They’ve won 3 of 5 since the secret test but Monaco shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Call it 2 wins of 4 since the test.

Mercedes have been working hard to understand the tires. They seem to be the only team using an infrared camera to gather real-time telemetry on the tires.

It sounds like sour grapes from Luca.

31

Misdirection. Not surprising I guess given that Ferrari are going backwards in the championship.

32

All teams should move on from the testgate saga. Mercedes did something wrong, and they were punished by the FIA. Ferrari also has done several ‘secret’ tests. So why this moaning?

It is up to Ferrari to improve their cars or their drivers, whichever is the problem. Ferrari is yet to identify their underlying problem.

Kimi has said earlier that he has no problem going to any team (including Ferrari) but Ferrari is not the place for Kimi. He will be better off at Lotus if Lotus can sought out their financial issues.

Stefano is a good guy but as Monte has said, he needs to get tough; he needs to show that he is the boss – and it is not the drivers who are running (or ruining) it …

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