Montezemolo writes to the Ferrari fans.. and sends a message to F1’s organisers
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Mar 2014   |  11:51 pm GMT  |  67 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has written an open letter to the Ferrari fans, or tifosi as they are known in Italy, asking them to stick with the team in what promises to be a challenging season, but also challenging the FIA and the organisers to be careful on a couple of levels.

One of the most interesting passages is where he says, “Such an important set of changes to the regulations is bringing some grey areas, for example fuel, software, consumption… In these I am fully expecting the FIA to be vigilant – as I’m sure they will be – to avoid any trickery, which has also taken place in the recent past but must not happen any more for the good of this sport.”

The FIA has a very complex job in policing the new rules and there are many things for them to check at the races; with more sophistication in technology comes more ways to circumvent the rules, is his message and there are bound to be some controversial moments where teams get around regulations. There is also the elephant in the room of engine homologation and whether manufacturers will be allowed to do anything to their power units now that they are homologated, beyond fixes for reliability issues. If it turns out that the Mercedes unit is a long way ahead, will the rules be bent to encourage competition? Renault are pushing hard for changes, in light of their difficulties. But they were allowed to do updates in the early V8 days (around 2008/9) and they won most of the world championships since then.

Another familiar Montezemolo message is the fear that drivers become like “taxi drivers” because they are carefully nursing their cars around, rather than racing to the limit in the “extreme F1” which he and many fans want to see.

This will resonate with the fan base, as will his fears that the sport is becoming too complex for mass market appeal. It’s an exciting moment for the sport, with the new technology changing the order and sending out a new message, but F1 must be very careful not to become so complicated that fans cannot follow it. An FIA briefing for media in Melbourne on Thursday was mind blowing in its complexity; even for journalists who have been living this sport for over 20 years.

Here is the text of Montezemolo’s letter:

Dear tifosi,

“It seems incredible but another season is about to begin and I, like you, am anxious and in a state of strong trepidation – as happens to me every year, even though I have gone through so many championships as President and, before, as sporting director. There are more unknowns and uncertainties about this season than in the past. The rule changes are profound and numerous. It’s not just a matter of the new six-cylinder turbo engine, but also systems with integrated electric engines, control units with innovative and complex software, a new package of aerodynamics… In essence it’s a complicated car that will also require a different driving style.

“So the first target is reliability, as we clearly saw in the test sessions.
Everyone has issues; we have lined ours up and we are in the process of resolving them. We’re also putting into practice an intense plan of development, which can count on the fact that the data from the wind tunnel have been confirmed by the track comparisons, something that has not happened in recent years.

“It will also be a difficult championship for the spectators to follow. The drivers will have to take care that they do not wear out the tyres and save fuel. I have already said that I hope they don’t turn into taxi drivers and I say that with the greatest respect to taxi drivers, but they obviously do a different job. I, like all of you, love an extreme Formula 1 where technology and drivers are always on the limit.

“Such an important set of changes to the regulations is bringing some grey areas, for example fuel, software, consumption… In these I am fully expecting the FIA to be vigilant – as I’m sure they will be – to avoid any trickery, which has also taken place in the recent past but must not happen any more for the good of this sport.

“So what should we expect from tomorrow? I have asked for the highest commitment from Domenicali and his team and I know that they are all doing their best. We have a strong team, the best driver pairing – who are experienced and very talented – and everyone knows what they have to do.

“We can count on an important factor that only we have: the immense affection from you, our tifosi, all over the world. I ask you for your usual great support: let’s not go overboard in the good moments and let’s not give up in harder ones. The championship is long and the objective is clear.

“Forza Ferrari!”

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How about a message back to Luca di Montezemolo – Ferrari need to do their 50% to support their fans. All teams were allocated time on the Thursday for their drivers to meet their fans and sign autographs. All teams were allocated 30 minutes EXCEPT Ferrari who, due to being such a big and well supported team, were allocated 60 minutes.

Their fans started queuing from the time the gates opened until their alloted time at 2pm – in the blazing sunshine (I witnessed more than one case of heat stroke). So their drivers arrived late and stayed for less than 10 minutes. This meant that only a handful of the vast crowd were able to secure a prized autograph. Then the drivers left.

Arrogant disregard for their fans. So why do they have such a large following? ALL other teams/drivers gave their full alloted time (with some, such as Button giving plenty more) EXCEPT Vettel, who also arrived VERY late and left early (he did not seem very happy to be in Melbourne at any point across the week/weekend). Come on Ferrari – that really is not acceptable behaviour from such a (self)important team!


Well said LDM


Luca seems to forget the past when the turbo era was the fastest and became so fast that they had to ban it with over 1000hp at their disposal. Bring on the new turbo era and may the best team and car win this is and will be the most exciting era of F1 that we will experience and see in the modern era of racing. we have to progress and not stay put in the chariots of the past and I’m so glad that the noise level has decreased because the V8’s were too noisy and annoying. Go DR, and do to F1 this year what CS did on the Ducati in 2007 because we need an Aussie in F1’s top just like motogp needs an Aussie so CS get back to motogp mate in 2015!


So then, because Ferrari obviously haven’t managed to find a way around the fuel flow, they are sure someone else will. Get those excuses in early Luca, I think you may need them.


My guess is: the teams can put whatever fuel on board they deem necessary to arrive at the grid prepared to race. At that point, through telemetry the fuel flow counter will be set to zero, the race will begin and the maximum rate and quantity of fuel used will be monitored. At the conclusion of the race the computer will calculate total fuel used and violations of max rate. If both parameters are met the finishing car will be eligible for classification – IF – the team can provide the fuel sample quantity required in parc ferme.


It’s lights to flag it holds extra for laps before and after race.


They fill the car up with 100 litres + whatever the FIA require to be left in the car (0.5 litres?). They fill it before the race…

And that’s it.

That’s what I thought, anyway.


Luca does make me laugh, he must be congratulating himself that he has stayed out of politics for a few more governments.

But: “I have already said that I hope they don’t turn into taxi drivers and I say that with the greatest respect to taxi drivers, but they obviously do a different job.”

F1 drivers are models of tolerance, restraint, consideration and conservatism compared to Italian taxi drivers.


F1 has mostly been good on the easy to access, hard to master end for both fans and teams and while Luca isn’t particularly eloquent, he’s on to something.

Lots of time spent on MGUs, ECUs, Throttle Mappings, CFD, ERS-K, ERS-H, CE, EH, TC, blast shields, flow-viz and brake-by-wire. NASCAR was almost always about saving fuel and where did that get them? Nobody watches it anymore. And what on the sporting end? Double points? Did they decide that last bit after a few pints on a Sunday night?

The FIA has spent a lot of time with the wiring, but when you leave it all to the engineers, art could easily become about how paintbrushes are made and not the pictures they paint. I’m not sure anybody running the sport at this point actually knows where to go with F1. Hopefully it works out for the best. At the end of the day, it’s a still a sport.



Thanks for great article as always.

But this (among others) brings a question to my mind regarding 100 kg fuel limit.

We all know by now that’s the amount allowed for a car to race with.

Okay, but what I didn’t find explained is who, how and when will check this 100 Kg amount.

Is it going to be done randomly, or every single car will be checked.

If so, when and how? Obviously not after the race (at least it doesn’t seem logical to me).

Also it is stated that 100 kilos is allowed amount for the race.

Okay at first seems simple, but…does this include installation laps done prior the car getting to the grid (I assume not), but how about the lap when a car actually is heading towards it allocated grid position.

What about warm up or formation lap, do they count towards 100 kg of allowed fuel.

To simplify the question, what is considered to be a “race” that car has to go with 100 kg of fuel?

Light to flag? Or also a 2 laps prior the start (going to the grid and formation lap)? If the race is light to flag, then are they allowed a extra say 4-5 kilos of fuel for those 2 laps (maybe more to do also the cool down lap after the race)?

If so what is the weight of this additional fuel allowed? How is it decided how much it has to be (probably per race ie. Monaco less than Spa)?

Please shed some light on this issue. I’d really like to know before the first race is on the way. 🙂



I’m pretty sure it’s from the time they leave the pits to when they cross the finish line…unless they run out of fuel first 😉


Also I would like to know how they quantify the 100Kgs of fuel. It can’t be by volume (litres) as the specific gravity of gasoline varies quite a lot with temperature. A 100Kgs of fuel could typically be between 135 to 145 litres depending on temp.


From what I read, the 100kg fuel is for the race only, which starts when the lights turn green and until the cars are back in park ferme after the finish.

This 100kg limit does not include the fuel needed for cars to get on the grid or the formation lap, therefore teams have to put 100kg + 3-4kg extra for thetwo laps before the start.

The 100kg limit includes any laps done under SC or red flag.

Seems all cars are fitted with a device which measures how much fuel was used during the race and that’s how the FIA will check all cars after the race.


He was #1 pusher to such changes.


Luca needs to be careful that the FIA do not take him at his word and investigate his turbo housing which some think is illegal.

By the same token, how the McLaren rear mushroom suspension can be anywhere near legal is a mystery. It appears to break at least two and possibly three articles of the tech regs.


The Italians have always seen Ferrari as a source of national pride or complete embarrassment worthy of disgrace – perhaps Montezemolo is hedging his bets.


One more time, Montezemolo put the words & Alonso the performance. Ferrari President outbursts are starting to be bored, but shows the most force of Ferrari = empty words for an ocassional headline. I said, Alonso is a bad measure of Ferrari performance. You have the show, you have the flashes and headlines, but one driver is one step above the rest, a driver who has fought with all real forces in F1 and stands there, against all the “majors”: FIA, FOM, Dennis, English Media Lobby, even Montezemolo fears after Todt-Brawn-Schumacher coupe d’Etat. F1 is much more than racing!!


That’s the second time Ferrari have publicly brought note about fuel consumption. I was under the impression there was a standard fuel flow meter that all teams were using, which is how the FIA are policing it.

I think they’re in a bit of a pickle for race pace!


sour grapes wont get ferrari anywhere…once again has not got the fastest car on the grid so other teams must be cheating….cant be that other teams have developed a faster car…his comments re fia looking at trickery are obviously aimed at merc….they cant be based on any fact as he wont know how the merc engine works


Perhaps he *knows* that Ferrari were cheating in the past to get as fast as they were, and therefore anyone going *faster* than that *must* be cheating too.


Why you say the comment is addressed at Merc? Please explain.


Merc appears to have the faster engine + persons at ferrari have previously been quoted to say they cant understand how merc has both the pace and fuel efficiency, other sources have also quoted that ferrari may have a fuel maagement issue

Plus u dont say these kind of comments if in front do u


How would anyone know what’s the merc’s fuel efficiency? Unless they know exactly how much fuel was before and after a certain run on the track. And I find it very very hard to believe that a direct competitor like Ferrari would get their hands on something like this, this early.

And I find even harder to believe that Ferrari’s president would put out a statement like this based on what some journalist is writing on their website.

Seriously, think a bit, don’t just believe everything you read.


Montezemelo has issued so many dictats and threats now that I don’t think anybody really takes him too seriously anymore. It was his purge of foreign talent after Spygate that is a large part of the reason why Ferrari seem to be lacking ideas.


I heard the engines for the first time. They sound like V8s got some cold and have a choked/hoarse voice. Anyway, we will get used to it.

Regarding taxi drivers comment, he is right. We will end up with taxi drivers if we want to have fuel efficiency as a criterion. Part of me says that is correct to encourage other manufacturers to step into F1, the other part says let the thirsty engines unleash themselves.


I don’t get this comparison to taxi drivers.

I am a taxi driver and let me tell you seriously that fuel is the very last thing I worry about.

And it’s not like the drivers didn’t have to worry about fuel consumption before – sure they were allowed to put more in before, but they still started each race with as little as possible which is why we already had fuel saving phases in the races, so what’s really changed?

If anything as the engine suppliers get to grips with this technology fuel saving should become less of a problem and might possibly be eliminated from the equation altogether, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a good thing.


Agree Mr Random.

The previous V8’s had an efficiency of around 27% – so assuming the fuel tank had 160 Kg at the start of the race if a driver made it to the chequered flag 116 Kg of fuel just went straight out of the exhaust as waste product! That is an incredibly wasteful and unproductive form of motor sport – these new turbo V6s will have at least 35-40% efficiency, and with clever engineering may get upto 50% in the future.

PS Perhaps because Luca is an Italian, his perception of taxi drivers is different from that of the UK and commonwealth countries – I’ll have to check on that.


I have a feeling that any perception LDM has of taxi drivers might come from old black and white movies from around 1930.


Just finished watching FP1…. Lets not try find a reason but rather talk facts:

1. Most Cars Look Horrible.

2. All Cars Sound Horrible (the scream was better than the current growl).

3. Mclaren looks the most Vulgar.

4. Redbull Looks most the Beautiful, followed by Mercedes and Ferrari.

5. Kimi is Struggling with Steering…. 2012 all over again.

6. Too much of Technology got infused in to 2014 cars. Visually for us spectators its a head scratching moments with all that ERS, KERS, Brake by Wire etc etc.

7. F12T is built around Fernando Alonso… simple and straight….. so, wrong move for Kimi to join Ferrari.

8. 100 kilos of fuel is a compromise at least they should have phased this in in 2015.

9. Lotus is all at sea.

10. Renault engines have become from a Forte to a Vice.


Glad you had a chance to watch FP1; however, did not find any facts in your list.


nusratolla: I disagree with almost everything that you have stated.

I notice a common pattern with all of the contributors complaining about the new formula:

→ a short-sighted perspective of what is going on!

We are at the first race of the season, after the most dramatic changes, including drastic increases in technological complexity, in the history of the sport.

Maybe you don’t share the perspective that these changes are required to keep F1 relevant, in alignment with it’s traditional relationship to automotive progress.

I do think these changes are necessary.

From that position, I full well expected the extremely high probability of a shakedown period for the teams with the technologies, and an adjustment period for the fans to identify new cues and relevant factors in the ‘sport’.

It’s exciting.

It calls for adaptation on the part of the fans, too; which has also always been part of F1, and is one of the reasons why it is so fascinating.

About Luca: he’s just putting on record the obvious; and he’ll use this to pursue his agenda, certainly. But at least he’s transparently drawing a line in the sand. He probably already is aware of a team or two which is already well into a gray area, in terms of conceptual approaches, and if Ferrari can’t emulate, they will pursue by way of regulations enforcement.

That’s his job; good for him.

And Kimi is definitely in better shape than he would have been remaining at Lotus; he’s in shooting distance of any step on the podium, and watch and see all of the variables in play between now and the end of the race on Sunday.


Agreed. Personally I’d like to see people waiting until at least after the summer break before they start predicting the end of F1…again…

I also have to compliment you on that arrow dean – it was very nice touch 🙂


7. F12T is built around Fernando Alonso… simple and straight….. so, wrong move for Kimi to join Ferrari.

9. Lotus is all at sea.

So if he stayed at Lotus…………


I’m sure he’d have had a Williams…. Frank has always expressed his interest in hiring Kimi and had pursued him to Join Williams until Lotus came up with a better offer and ended up not paying him 😀


Ferrari will guzzle like Al Capone, Williams will putter like Nick Faldo, and McLaren will take many trophies.

Lotus? Bankrupt soon.


First, i’s the F14T, not the F12T – you’ll remember that because by some strange coincidence it looks like FIAT 🙂

Second, how about at least one positive? For example, at least we’ll get to see the drivers testing their skills rather than just operating a car that’s on rails.


yes I stand corrected and yes interesting parallel to FIAT though…. well caught 🙂


Strange move from Montezemolo, not to mention his innuendos. He may have set up the scene for later regretable facts, a la tifossi.


Personally I think that appealing to my generation and the generation (or two!) younger than me who’ve grown up with fairly complex gaming – it’s not a simple racing formula that will lower the viewing age – it’s excitement, avoiding processions and highlighting the drivers skill slightly over the aero development of cars by faceless engineers.

I understand many of the concerns but the generally older demographic watching F1 do seem to underestimate the intelligence of younger viewers. It’s a bit like the occasional European snobbishness about dumb Americans – but look at American sports – they tend to be massively complex and often have elements of strategy over tactics.

I think the changes will have major teething problems but anything that makes the cars harder to drive and puts more emphasis on driving skill is welcomed. I’d rather the cars were slower but closer together with courage and talent rewarding overtakes – not just insanely fast lap times but boring racing.


American sports? Hmmm. Really full of strategy – you can’t mean Basket ball? You surely don’t mean Ice Hockey? Now there’s Baseball (full of strategy LOL) or Football (a hybrid rugby for the uninitiated) where the main strategy is running into the opposing teams players…

At any rate all these American sports reach a minature amount of sports fans outside North America which is possibly due to their unpopularity!

Snobbish Euro’s – perhaps…


“but the generally older demographic watching F1 do seem to underestimate the intelligence of younger viewers.”

From what I’ve seen and read, it’s understandable.


I always thought that some of the engineers have more personality than some of the drivers. Perhaps another way to make this sport more appealing is to give those who design the cars more exposure?

The average F1 fan shouldn’t have to consult their Landau & Lifschitz just to understand what’s going on, but what makes the cars go fast can be at least as fascinating as the question of who can drive them around the track the quickest.

And, when we talk about the “next generation of fans”, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if dozens of them aspired to become an F1 engineer for every one who dreams of becoming an F1 driver…


I used to play Unterwasserrugby / underwater rugby. Nowadays only as a scuba diving referee. It is probably the most complex ball game because you can play the ball in all 3 dimensions and can maneuvre in all 3 dimensions.

But ever saw a game in TV?

Somehow TV is a big dictator and commands the type of sport the people have to see. UW-rugby needs a lot of computer graphics to explain the game moves which can hardly be done in real time.

The modern F1 needs computer graphics too. Without knowledge of how old the tyres are, which type, how many KERS used up watching a race will be confusing.

Why can someone pass easily a better rated car but then fails to overtake what should be a turtle?

But how much of such computer or speaker added information will a non F1 expert accept before switching off because it is too complicated?


Very much agree, im sure that building one of these cars would be far beyond most people, but understanding the concepts and the new challenges really isnt. Hybrid car technology is hardly new anymore and Im glad the sport is back to having more than just tires and aerodynamics deciding the title.

Valentino from montreal

Good , he does’nt mention Alonso’s name anywhere in the open-letter but now says “drivers” …


Unquestionably, as DC loves to say ..unquestionably, this is rousing stuff that prepares all the tifosi for both good news and bad.

Lets hope it is good news for Ferrari in 2014.


Homologated engines should stay homologated for the good of the sport.

As is pointed out in the article, Renault were allowed to make what they claimed to be power deficit changes and were able to deviously bring in the radical engine maps that saw them dominate the field. Because others couldn’t subvert the homologation like Renault did, it was effectively game over for the next few seasons. A deeply unfair era.

F1 can’t afford such own goals anymore.


If you made a bad engine, fix it! None of this “equalisation” rubbish.

Look what happened last year when FIA buckled when some teams wanted tyre changes – finger boy won nine in a row! Would have been a much more interesting season had Red Bull had to solve their problems internally.


@ Quade

Hmm? I don’t recall Renault powered cars being the fastest due to their engines. In fact RBR was often slowest in straight line speed.


They didn’t have straight line speed, they were supreme in the corners which more than compensates a low top speed.

The FIA allowed Renault to make changes to their engine that made extreme engine maps possible. Those extreme maps gave Red Bull diffuser blowing capabilities that no other team could replicate, because their engines were homologated.

Essentially, that created a very unfair playing field for the teams, that alongside flaky tyres that had an inclination to randomly detonate, threatened to perpetuate F1 as the Worlds most expensive charade.


Is this Quade asking for things to not change mid championship? Same Quade who spared no comment how tires should be changed mid championship last year?

You can’t have it both ways mate.


It was all the cosmetic nonsense (like fast wearing tyres) brought into F1 that conspired to make the sport a turnoff. It doesn’t make sense to keep changing the rules or allow any team to reap a reward for lax planning and execution.


Except engine mapping isn’t included in the homologation or wasn’t. Since Germany 2012 it was made so that it could only vary 10% from that engine map.

Renault (and Honda) were allowed to make engine changes as while the power was comparable in 2006 and better on fuel too it was peaky so the reduction in the Rev limit effected them the most. The rules were changed in a way to negatively effect them or help the others (I realise cost was the precursor but this was a side effect).

In that case it’s easy to see why they were allowed changes especially considering how costly it would of been (and still is) to lose one of the engine suppliers at the time.

I don’t really understand how you can’t support reliability changes n such and then on the other hand support banning any advantages a team gets. (I know why as it wasn’t effecting your team but that’s a poor reason ;D)


You don’t know my “reasons” or my team. It is only safe to draw conclusions from what I actually posted, not any extrapolations.


So as long as the guys you support have an advantage it’s okay?


Who do you know I support?


I agree, it’s bad enough that the teams are always trying to get around the rules in this sport. It’s quite another if the FIA itself tries to get around its own rules!

Bring back V12's !!!

Completely agree with you mate. The last few years have been such an unfair playing field the sport was turning into a joke. Not a huge Ferrari fan but Montezemolo has written a great letter and hit many nails on their respective heads lol, basically sums up all of my worries as well.


Another familiar Montezemolo message is the fear that drivers become like “taxi drivers” because they are carefully nursing their cars around.

Just goes to show Montezemolo doesn’t catch taxis 😉


True, where I live, taxi drivers are the fearless of all, they don’t nurse anything, on the contrary they sometimes don’t care to damage the car, they are similar to the 2012 Grosjean!


As the president of Ferrari, perhaps Luca has an old Roman Chariot on standby around the streets of Maranello and Modena? And of course, he gets fanned down and fed grapes from a silver platter………..although Brutus Fernando may (metaphorically) stab him in the back if the Prancing Horse is yet another knackered old donkey this year………………


Especially in Italy 😀


So true ‘re the taxi driver comment. I don’t no about anyone else but I want the taxi driver getting me there as fast as possible with the speed the meter goes up! I want them cutting corners, taking short cuts, running red lights and I’m not bothered if they hit pedestrian so I can save that extra ££


You do know that it doesn’t matter how fast they go right? – The meter ticks over at the same rate per distance…or at least mine does 🙂

You’ll also find that over time hitting too many pedestrians will impact on the performance of the car 😉

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