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Ferrari calls for summit on F1's future


In the wake of claims and subsequent denials that Ferrari is considering quitting F1, company president Luca di Montezemolo has called for a summit meeting to discuss the sport's future.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal carried an interview with Montezemolo in which he suggested, not for the first time, that the legendary marque needed to consider its future in the sport, the Italian making it clear that he is far from happy with, amongst other things, the new rules introduced this season.

The Italian team subsequently issued a statement denying that this had been Montezemolo's intention, suggesting that such reportage of the interview was "pure speculation".

Today, in a further statement, Ferrari has revealed that Montezemolo has called for a summit meeting to discuss the sport's future.

It reads:

"Ferrari has had Formula 1 coursing through its veins for over half a century and that’s why it has decided to make a move to turn the sport away from the wrong turn it appears to have taken.

The Maranello marque has decided to do this through the means of a formal act, which is a concrete proposal, in the form of a letter from its President Luca di Montezemolo to the Formula 1 rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone and to the president of the company that owns Formula 1. It is not an ultimatum, nor a threat, but a proposal to call together all the key players in the sport to sit down around a table and come up with new ideas that will see Formula 1 continue to set the benchmark in motorsport, on level terms with global events such as the Olympics and the football World Cup.

The President wants to see a collective brainstorming from the group to act for the good of Formula 1. Contributions from all areas are of value; teams, sponsors, promoters and media, so that the key values of Formula 1 can be re-established. President Montezemolo would also like to see other high-end players invited, those who are currently not involved or only partially so; new media, social networks and colossi such as Google and Apple.

Formula 1 has to be based on technical innovation, research and development, but this must all be done with sustainable costs and above all, must be moved forward as part of a product that can put on a show. Because it is the show that draws in the commercial partners, the sponsors and, above all, the fans, who are the real end users of the Formula 1 product.

Finding the right mix of these ingredients will be vital for the sustainability and the future success of our much-loved sport."

Chris Balfe


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1. Posted by MKI, 19/06/2014 11:35

"There is real confusion about motor sport's governance, and its 'ownership', at all levels. I read recently that Ron Dennis complained in a book that Bernie 'stole F1' from the teams. That means he thinks the Teams owned F1. Did he also think he 'owned F2' when he ran an F2 team? Surely not. Motor sport must understand that it is no different from any other structurally, and to restrict these outbursts it will need to return to the normal position where the FIA consults and then makes decisions in the best interests of its sport IN THE ROUND after its current most unusual management structure expires. "

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2. Posted by F One, 17/06/2014 18:01

"Does this guy ever shut up?"

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3. Posted by Oldbuzzard, 16/06/2014 22:50

"What this "elite" or "colossi" had better discuss before anything else is who's going to run F1 after Bernie's gone. Which may be before the end of this season. All those other topics are moot until a management plan and team is in place to stumble along in Bernie's tracks. When Bernie goes, a whole slew of top management people will "retire". Shipments, TV production, advertising, contract negotiations, to name a few will be left in limbo. I wouldn't be a bit surprised it Charlie Whiting leaves the FIA and if he does Herbie Blash will be right along side him. It won't be long before FOM stands for Fresh Outta Money."

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4. Posted by fredfrog, 16/06/2014 13:33

"Only good can come of such an initiative. Never before has there been a 'think tank' strategy session that incorporates such a wide spectrum of contributors. Just imagine the ideas that this could produce ... a full review of the sport as it now stands, and a clear strategy for the future. Restructure for longevity.
As long as it doesn't denigrate into a "my dick is bigger than yours, so I have more say than you" exercise... should include strategy experts from three global accounting firms to moderate and co-ordinate all the input and produce a comprehensive roadmap for the future that is communicated to all including us, the fans, with time to consider and offer constructive input. Massive undertaking but entirely possible.
It would certainly take much of the say out of the control of the present 'cartel' (FIA/FOM) who feed us what's best for them!
I say go for it."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 16/06/2014 13:31

"Sadly Mr Montezemolo's comments appear designed to wrest an advantage for Ferrari, rather than improve the Sport overall. That's not to say that F1 couldn't do with being improved, just that making it "Ferrari-Friendly" isn't the right way to go.

There are lots of suggestions from readers here, and many, if not most would individually or collectively "improve" F1, though my parenthesis is there for a reason!

I'm a long-term (1960's) fan who's seen the Sport develop over all those years. During that time Colin Chapman and his back-street garage developed cars to challenge & beat the relative might & sophistication of Ferrari. Others (notably McLaren & Williams) pulled off similar feats, all done using ingenuity & determination. In my view the current very restrictive Formula is killing most of that ingenuity. For too many years "development" has been largely a matter of aerodynamic tweaking - only teams with a huge, expensive and effective wind-tunnel stood any chance of winning.

This year's formula has made things far more interesting. Mercedes have had a smoother run than Ferrari & RBR, but they are now being hunted-down, by RBR at least. Mercedes' "triumph" is in large part down to developing the best powertrain and that took not only huge resource, but a decent amount of ingenuity and vision. I wasn't too surprised when RBR won in Canada. Their chassis is clearly significantly quicker than Mercedes' , and with more\more reliable power they are coming closer and closer to parity.

Aero "tweaks" aside a large part of the thrill of F1, for me at least, has always been the technological battle. In my view a simple fuel limit and an insistence that some kind of hybrid powertrain is used would be enough to sort-out the non-aero equation. Some kind of wing surface-area limit and higher minimum ride-height might address the dominance of aero, which will be back on the agenda quite soon if Renault continue to improve RBR's power package.

It's easy, of course, to pontificate from one's armchair but by trying to "popularise" F1 Bernie (& Co.) have severely stunted the development Goose which was laying their golden eggs. No amount of hype & hysteria about the relationship between Hamilton & Rosberg is a substitute for fast close racing "

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6. Posted by bfairey, 16/06/2014 13:02

"He means moving away from the entertainment business (bums in seats) and concentrating on SPORT."

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7. Posted by Darvi, 16/06/2014 7:22

"Well, if Ferrari hadn't moved to destroy the effectiveness of FOCA the teams would have had more influence over the FIA, and the real masters, FOM. This looks like a negotiating tactic to get a break for Ferrari on the engine spec to allow them to close the gap to Mercedes.

I'd love to think that Montezemolo had the future of F1 at the forefront of his mind, but I suspect he just wants Ferrari to start winning again."

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8. Posted by scf1fan, 16/06/2014 2:28

"So, to paraphrase Montezemolo; having even more cooks in the kitchen will improve the recipe . . . Does anyone really think that this will make for an improvement?

Personally I think the "formula" (within reason) is irrelevant to the "problem" in F1 . . . and I'm not really sure that everyone agrees to what the "problem" is. Is it ratings? (Not everyone can have the number one TV show.) Is it cost? (Ok, spend less money, go a little slower and be a sport about it.) Is it “lack of noise” . . . (Good Grief!) Is it unfairness? (I don't see that at all.) Honestly, I just don't see a specific problem that they've talked about here to address. I can't see Colin Chapman and Enzo Ferrari even having this discussion on those topics; they were happy to spend as much money as they could afford, and do whatever they were able to do to go as fast as they could.

Is it a lack of competition from race to race? Mmmm, maybe. So how can F1 be made consistently more competitive?

The difference between then and now is the advent of (major) advertising, the disparity of the haves and the have-nots. That could be considered a problem, but it's certainly not Ferrari's problem. (The fact that some teams have 1/10th the budget but still make the 107% rule is pretty mind boggling to me!)

If Ferrari (and Renault quite frankly) could produce a better engine, (or a better total package) would we be talking about this? I think that if there were 3 competitive engine packages, this would be an even more fantastic season for F1 racing! Would that translate into higher ratings? Lower costs? More advertisers? Would it solve “the problem?” I don't know. Maybe it would be just a temporary diversion, but to me, closer racing would never be a problem.

I could possible agree with one (technical) problem being that the heavy restrictions on in-season testing and improvements can make it very difficult to resolve problems with a car/engine/power unit once discovered. (I didn’t always think that MS and Ferrari were the best, but I always thought that they were the best prepared and always were able to resolve their technical issues more quickly than the other teams.) Removing or lessening this restriction would allow teams with problems to resolve them more quickly; but the downside to this is that costs would go up. This would leave the smaller teams even further behind.

So perhaps a real problem to the sport’s future is the inequity of money between the teams; but how can, or should that be resolved? (And that is still not a problem for Ferrari, MB or Red Bull.) The “bigger” teams must realize that they just can’t race each other; particularly if one of them is going to be really dominant in any given year. They need the smaller teams to help provide the smaller stories; the up and comers, the Davids and Goliaths, the down field battles, etc. . . . . It is the smaller teams that are really “suffering” in that they need more money to improve to get more money to improve. (And if you are outside of the top 10, there is little money to be had from the Sport.)

Could a possible solution be to have perhaps 2/3rds of the “prize” money be split equally amongst all the teams having competed? (Call it appearance money if need be.) Then the remainder could be given for position? This would give the smaller teams money to improve as well as raise their intrinsic value. A structure like this would be more akin to being an owner in the NFL. (Isn’t the worst NFL team still a valuable property?) The really successful teams would still attract more and better financed advertisers, but all teams would be more attractive to advertisers. Again, tending to decrease the disparity.

I would think that this would be a good thing over all; though perhaps not as much for Ferrari (MB, or Red Bull as well) . . . But it would ensure that they all have the continued competition to hone their abilities against into the future. (Of course some teams/owners/advertisers will just decide to "opt out" if they can't be "winners" . . . Personally I would be willing to graciously hold the door open for them on their way out.)"

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9. Posted by porscheman, 15/06/2014 20:25

"Monte is often just so much hot air. Not this time. Great and constructive move. I look forward to seeing what comes of it. God knows such a summit and plan is sorely needed."

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10. Posted by Ro, 15/06/2014 20:00

"I totally agree with Mr Luca Di Montezemolo. Its no longer a fans sport at all. The cars are boring to watch and hear. On top of all that, when youre in the stands you havnt got a clue as to whats going on. Us, the fans are the last ones to be considered now, and if it carries on like it is now, it will just wither and die"

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11. Posted by LifelessDead, 15/06/2014 19:47

"Come on Montezemelo - You wanted a more engine-based formula, instead of an aero-based formula. You got what you wanted!

...oh wait, silly me, the rules don't really matter, as long as a Ferrari wins."

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12. Posted by MrShadow, 15/06/2014 16:00

"A. Remove technical restrictions. Engineers coming up with new technologies costs a lot less as tweaking the last 0.1s from existing technology. Put limit on size of the car and wings (disallow any aerodynamical part less as 10cm)
B. Allow the kit-car system where small teams can buy parts and glue them together. While it can produce misses it can also create hits.
C. Stop believing that a team present for a long time should decide the future. Better let teams as Caterham and Marussia decide what it takes for them to be competitive without having to buy second-hand chassis from the larger teams."

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13. Posted by f1khun, 15/06/2014 15:20

"Let's hope they talk about more grip from tyres, less grip from wings.

Also allow customer chassis, engines and gearboxes all available from any supplier that is making them for themselves (example: Ferrari makes an engine, then Ferrari must sell this engine to Lotus of Lotus asks for it). One-season or longer contracts, no double engine contracts. Same for gearbox and chassis.

Kers and other hybrid and energy recovery systems should be a fully automated systems, also commercially sold by any constructor/developer of this technology. No tweaking during races, it should work as it works in your lexus or prius or whatever hybrid car you drive.

Engines: V10. I know its not practical, but the sound of a V10 is both raw and elegant; no other configuration has been able to satisfy me as much as the V10's. No Turbo please.

Teams may take in fuel during a race when they run out, but this may only happen in the last 6 laps of the race. So strategy is taken (most) out of the picture.

Teams may employ reserve drivers. Those drivers must at least be one with less then 3 GP's experience. Each reserve driver is in the car on Friday morning sessions, equally. Every two years, a team MUST promote at least one previous season reserve driver to a full race seat for one season.

In-season testing and pre-season testing as it is now is ok; each test lasts 2 days, one of those days shared by both reserve drivers.

TV format is fine, however TV stations should be allowed to sub-license the TV content to their countries' media (for joint broadcasting or for online broadcasting). F1 Holdings (Commercial Rights Holder) must make online data available for users that cannot connect to tv coverage, and make the content complete as per 2013 specs, not limited to 2014 specs.

Financially, with forcing constructors of engines, gearboxes and chassis' to allowing competitors to buy their product, over all F1 development cost should become cheaper. And the smaller teams do not need to use the most of their resources just to develop a car; they are lifting on the engineering of the supplier of these three components and can possibly due with much less high-paid engineers.

This is just an opinion from a decennial-long fan. I am sure I forgot some things and probably many of you have a complete different opinion, but that is what we need. opinions that work.

In my opinion, with less wings and more tyre-based grip, more mechanical grip, racing is more in the hands of the driver.. And last, yea please, drop those flaps in the wings for artificial overtaking... Its not real! Less wings should allow for more close racing.

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