Ferrari denies Montezemolo threat to quit F1
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jun 2014   |  10:20 am GMT  |  136 comments

Fernando Alonso waved the starter’s flag at the Le Mans 24 Hours race, one which is inextricably linked with the history of Ferrari, but at Maranello they were quick yesterday to shoot down a story in Wall St Journal which suggested that the Scuderia was poised to leave F1 to race again in the classic 24 hours race.

Of course,” Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo said, “We cannot do sports-car racing and Formula One. It’s not possible.”

It came on the back of another Montezemolo interview in which he slated modern 2014 F1: “Formula One isn’t working. It’s declining because the FIA have forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency, come on.

“And we cannot touch the engine,” he added, referring to the rules banning development of the engines beyond reliability fixes.

“People watch racing to be entertained,” he said. “No one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It’s sport, yes, but also a show.”

Montezemolo has also written to Bernie Ecclestone and the majority shareholder CVC calling for a summit meeting to address the sport and its declining audience figures and its future direction.

Darren Heath
The Wall St Journal – mindful of Montezemolo’s previous threats in 2009 to leave F1 if then FIA president Max Mosley’s infamous budget cap was adopted and the threats from Enzo Ferrari to quit whenever things got sticky in the past – concluded that “Ferrari Could Leave Formula One” adding “Chairman Suggests Possible Switch to Sports-Car Competition”

Yesterday Ferrari distanced itself from such suggestions, “This is a bit of a stretch based on President Luca di Montezemolo reiterating that Formula 1 needs to evolve and renew itself, while also admitting that there is a unique attraction to the 24 Hour race.

“To say that after 2020, Ferrari could quit Formula 1 to concentrate on Le Mans and the Endurance championship takes his words to extremes. Plus of course, there’s nothing to stop Ferrari upping the ante and competing in both disciplines. So it’s just pure speculation.”
Ferrari is committed to F1 to at least the end of 2020 thanks to the deal struck between Montezemolo and Ecclestone two years ago. They and Red Bull were the first names on the list when the F1 impresario was locking down teams for the future and they both receive significant additional payments for their participation; Ferrari as longest serving team gets a large payment none of the others are entitled to.

As the deadline of June 30 approaches for changes which can take effect next season and no sign of any meaningful cost savings for F1, it is the small teams who are under threat of not continuing in F1, not Ferrari.

There are signs that we could lose one team before the end of this season and two or three others aren’t far behind, as they struggle with the lopsided distribution of funds to teams which sees top teams like Ferrari take the lions share of the money.

Ferrari is in many ways the spine of F1 and it will always have the “nuclear” option up its sleeve of threatening to quit if it wants to strong arm through a change.

But it isn’t doing it on this occasion.

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Monty is right, we do watch for the entertainment – efficiency should be in the background. However, I do not think he would be complaining if Ferrari were winning. If he wants his drivers to go flat out…great, no one is stopping from them from doing that…he just needs to provide a car that can be driven on the edge efficiently.

Also, the comments contradict each other – why leave F1 because of its efficiency focus, to race at L Mans,which is all about efficiency and endurance.


To be fair guys, this article states Ferrari haven’t threatened to quit. We all know they will never quit, and even if they are not your favourite team, you can’t deny F1 needs them more than any other team, and Ferrari need F1 more than any other project they’re involved in. Imagine a starting grid without them, it would be horrible.

Ferrari need to get innovative again, and signing RB would be a good start. James, who does Montezemolo report into? Is it Fiat bosses? Any pressure being applied to him from above?





Somehow related to this article:

hello James,

Do you know if Newey will be involved in the Nissan Le Mans project?

Here’s why I think he will:

1. He attended the LMP1 race in Silverstone.

2. Horner did confirm that Newey is going to be involved in projects outside F1.

3. Nissan and infinity are part of the Renault brand.

And perhaps the LeMans project could carry over useful insights to F1 Red Bull?

It does make sense to be involved in related series.


According to Horner we will find out what Newey will be working in before the summer break – they will announce it


Could Ferrari sign up for Honda engines?


Only in LDM’s dreams!

Kieran Donnelly

More political posturing by Ferrari – plus ca change!

It has been shown that great races can occur under the new rules – we’ve just come off the back of a great Canadian Grand Prix. It cannot however be said how much of this excitement was down to the 2014 rules and how much was down to pure happenstance as there have certainly also been races of drudgery this season.

Although it is common to hear that even the championship leader in the dominant car of a season in unhappy with something, rumbings and grumblings from drivers seem to me (and I could be corrected on this) to have increased greatly this season regarding tyres, the driving challenge and so on. Motivation to continue in a series dominated by eking out fuel & tyres seems to be increasingly an issue for many of the top drivers. Perhaps we need to be as worried about losing them as about losing Ferrari?

A breakaway series might not be such a bad thing in the mid- to long-term. Personally I would like to see where some teams would take their view of the sport and how that would evolve. Given the likelihood of a reconcilation after a few years (like Champ/Indy), there could be a best of both worlds formula to come out of such a venture. Would there be hard times for a while? Yes, quite probably but the sport is heading for hard times anyway with financial issues facing some teams, ennui in the ranks of the drivers, a massive imbalance of power and money in the sport and an increasing number of fans feeling like their interest could be better places elsewhere due to the lack of “real racing”. Granted some manufacturers’ participations in F1 are brought about by these rules but history has shown that manufacturers will come and go as suits them.

No one wants to see an F1 that is constantly flim-flamming with its rules but many are not that interested in hearing engineers tell their drivers over the radio to only push for two laps and then wait til the next stops. That’s not racing – it’s some sort of engineering expeirment made to look like a sport. Everyone here will have their own ideas on what would make things better but few will disagree that F1 needs to have a long, hard think about itself and what it wants to be in the post-Ecclestone era, whenever that comes to be.


Well, Ferrari playing these political games is nothing new. We should be used to it.

What is serious, is this hint about one of the teams not even making it to the end of this season. Is it about Caterham? They mentioned it during the Le Mans commentary on Eurosort, and I took notice.

Now, that would be sad indeed. The Alpine deal with Renault fell through, and now this rumor. All is not well there!

BTW don’t like the new site layout. Very artsy, but for a regular visitor it’s difficult to make sense of what’s new there. Huge banner with the timer till the next race – is it That important,,, ?

Sujith Radhakrishnan

What is all the fuss about? Ferrari is struggling yet again, that’s it. There’s nothing in there to make sensational news.

Next year, James Allison is gonna design a monster of a car and Ferrari will be competitive. Even if they don’t bag the championship, they will still be there or there about’s with a steady way forwards. I am sure. All this rant about the “Ferrari International Assistance” is non-sense.


I think James Allison can obviously direct them to build a stunning car that’s easy on its tyres and has a few clever tricks up its sleeves – but unless the engine department step up it won’t matter. I mean if Newey can’t regularly overcome the Renault deficit then we’re probably looking at another Mercedes year next year (although I expect it will be less of a monster advantage).

Craig in Manila

I really don’t understand the hoo-har about this.

A journalist asked him a question and, in his answer, he said nothing to state (or even infer/imply) that they were threatening to pullout of F1.

His comments are then somehow linked to a previous interview where he stated that he wasn’t particularly happy about the current rules. No news there. Plenty of people have said that. Doesn’t mean that Ferrari are thinking about pulling out though.

Journalist/s then put two and two together, come-up with five, and have a nice headline containing the words “Ferrari”, “threat” and “quit” to get their headline-only-reading readers to click and comment.

Must be a slow news week in-between races.

kenneth chapman

to those people who dump on LDM just consider this….have you ever been involved in F1 and have you ever risen in your chosen field of endeavour to head a multi billion $ enterprise? sure LDM says some controversial things from time to time but when i consider the comments made in relation to LDM’s daily involvement and business career in F1 i do get a laugh.

consider all the chatter about reducing costs in F1 and then marry that to the current crop of cars and you will see just how ludicrous it has all become. these PU’s are the most expensive ever created for F1. why inflict these costs on a struggling formula? i have no problem with new technology. what i do find ludicrous is the restrictive nature of the R & R that strangles engineering innovation. people would do well to consider just what adrian newey has said. sure he is only one person but i am pretty sure that most engineer/designers in F1 would agree with him.

this first year of the new tech should’ve been more open and some of the restrictions never imposed then we could well have seen more innovation as teams tinker with their approaches. in any case this new ‘

eco’ approach is more suited to LMP/WEC racing than F1. those racers are well in front of the F1 tech when it comes to ‘hybrid’ racing.

ferrari are in a bind and they need to do something different but with development choked off until the ’15 season they are being suffocated. look at the picture in an overall manner and the look for solutions. LDM is the scapegoat in a lot of people’s eyes. as chairman he has to cop it, that goes with the with task but don’t dump on the guy. he’s doing what he does in the name of ferrari and that can’t be a bad thing.


Off topic but cannot find any where else to point out that the new website is a triumph of design over readability and user friendliness.


Le Mans could be a smart move to develop the technology for their F1 cars.

And it could be a good team building exercise as well if they make use of all their racing and test drivers.

Alonso x Pedro de la Rosa x Marc Gené

Kimi* x Fisichella x Bianchi/Davide Rigon

*Kimi would actually love this.


Hi James,

Would Montezemolo seriously be making these silly statements every few weeks if Alonso and Raikkonen were fighting for the title? Surely the problem is not with Formula 1, but a Ferrari team who bearing in mind their special deal with Bernie, have severely underperformed since 2008.


What I don’t understand is why the FIA haven’t just focused on the fuel. Just make it greener and we can go flatout without tinkering with engines. Make engines that can run from algae. Or, go the Formula E route. Better still, mimick it. Fake sound can be added later. Formula E sounds like toy on battery, which essentially it is. Beyond aggravating those who own, control, distribute and sell fossil fuels, I see no reason why F1 can’t go that way.

The whole point of developing these engines was to save fuel. It makes more sense (in the long run) to replace the damn fuel, itself.


It’s groundhog day! Ferrari threatening to quit F1, once again. Hey, Ferrari: Stop boring me to death with that old opera, will you? Do it already. The world won’t stop turning without Ferrari and Formula-1 can pretty much get along without you as well, it may even be more fair without that certain Italian team that’s getting all the Ecclestone special treatment.

Hey, Bernie: You shouldn’t stop traveler, don’t be scared – just let go.


I think Fernandez, Sauber, and Geni should all pack up and leave for formula E. F1 has such an 80’s mentality to business – let the big boys get everything, greed is good. Losing touch with reality fast this ‘sport’.


He needs to quit & give the job to Brawn.



Another veiled threat from Ferrari about leaving. It will never happen.

I’d question their status in the sport, I personally don’t think they are anymore the spine of F1 than Man Utd are to the Premier League. Just as if Man Utd quit, the sport would be slightly diminished initially, before people forget and move on as the racing continues to take place. Ferrari don’t exactly figure much this season but fans are hardly walking away.

Are we forgetting the 20 years or so they went without any notable success and were less than also rans in the early to mid-90s. The golden era of the sport is largely remembered as Senna and Prost at McLaren, with Ferrari as a foot note when Prost left McLaren for them.

Ferrari have an incredible legacy, but let’s not kid ourselves that they are indespensible.


I’m getting tired of hearing Montezemollo’s wining and general chit chat, Ferrari needs to stop the talking, put their head down, get to work!


formula one is getting boring these days..the cars are just getting slower and matter what you give them,they will still be slower.


where have I heard this before Luca? talk about an empty threat, you would lose so much if you were to do that



A lot of you seem to have missed this headline or failed to comprehend it.





(I may have made one of those up 😉

Especially in F1, you have to learn to read beyond the headlines….

Craig in Manila



Never been a fan of Ferrari, grossly overrated, but Luca Montezemolo is right with his comment.

People watch racing to be entertained,” he said. “No one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It’s sport, yes, but also a show.”

Once LH dropped out in Canada then it all fell flat until the last fifteen laps as they were all busy “saving fuel” hardly a race is it ? No wonder Adrian Newey and others are fed up with this eco rubbish. Just the FIA pandering to EU crap again and it means nothing to the rest of the World.


Luca di Montezemolo is being disingenuous with his comments. Fuel and tyre saving have always been part of the equation and he should know that better than most. For all the moaning about fuel saving, MB at least are already said to be using less than the permitted 100kg. Teams always try to use as little fuel as possible, to the extent of sometimes underfuelling in the expectation (based on statistics I hope) that there will be a safety car which will reduce fuel usage.

I can understand Adrian Newey’s frustration, but he comes across to me as similar to Luca di Montezemolo: he has got used to winning, he knows the old rules inside out and it’s too much like hard work dealing with all the changes. I may be being unfair to them, but they’re starting to sound like old men wishing for the Good Old Days when everything was simpler and they were winning. Well, F1 is about high technology and that means changes. If they can’t keep up they’re better off doing something else.


But the saving fuel, saving tyres etc.. is nothing new to F1 2014, Its been a factor in F1 since the start.

At no point in F1’s history have drivers pushed flat out from start to finish, There has always been a need for drivers to hold back to look after the car, manage the tyres or save a bit of fuel.


Read the article you linked again. I’m not sure it’s good news really. More “no news”. Let’s wait as requested.


I really hope Michael recovers. Whether he’s going to be vegetative, or miraculously recover, and whether he would rather prefer the former if the latter isn’t possible is his own call, or his family’s call. To be honest, I haven’t heard any official report that talks about the extent of the damage he’s incurred. All of them have been speculations from this or that doctor about what can be expected in situations like these. Do we really know he’s going to be vegetative if he recovers?

A guy who can put a trolly on pole can possibly just function utilizing whatever part of his brain is left working to do basic tasks. There have been cases of people with terrible head injuries miraculously turning into geniuses. I really don’t know how serious is the case. Michael, recover and become a painter, sculptor or a math genius, even if you can’t lift a cup to pour yourself a drink of water.


montezemolo lost when he refused to promote brawn to team principal.


please tell montezemolo that the most efficient team has always won f1 except when ferrari overspent and dominated from 1998 to 2004. engineering has always been about efficiency so why has montezemolo represented himself as an engineering illiterate? unless he’s pretending.

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