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di Montezemolo critical of Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
18/12/2008

Speaking at the traditional Christmas media luncheon yesterday, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo - who, let's not forget, also heads FOTA, the Formula One Teams Association - was critical of Bernie Ecclestone, suggesting that the F1 supremo's reign might be coming to an end.

"We now have to look at the future and mainly what we want to do after 2012," said the Italian. "We have to open an important page with Mr Ecclestone and (CVC boss) Mr Mackenzie, not only in terms of quantity of money but in terms of how to do many things, such as circuits, spectators, hospitality, television, types of track and timing of races."

Referring specifically to Ecclestone, di Montezemolo said: "I think sooner or later he has to stop."

While F1 has flourished under Ecclestone, who took what many perceived as an elitist sport run on a semi-professional basis and turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry, some feel that the days when F1, indeed, any sport can be run by one man are at an end.

"Do you think it is normal that we don't have one race in North America?" he asked the assembled guests. "Do you think it is normal that we learn from the newspapers that the Canadian Grand Prix is over? Do you think it is normal that we see important sponsors decide to leave the smaller teams? Do you think it is normal that we pay unbelievable amounts for hospitality to promote ourselves at races? Do you think it is normal that we cannot discuss the timing of races?"

Having convinced Ecclestone to hand over 50 percent of F1's revenues, the teams intend upping the ante as they look for as much as 70 or even 80 percent of the F1 cake. However, according to Pitpass' sources, Ecclestone has no intention of allowing this to happen, effectively saying that the teams have had as much as they're going to get.

Di Montezemolo, like many fans, is unimpressed by Ecclestone's desire for more street races: "At least Monaco has its own history but to have three or four Monacos is too much," said the Italian.

Clearly, di Montezemolo is wearing two hats, that of Ferrari and that of FOTA. His comments regarding money and indeed issues such as circuits, television, types of track and the timing of races, suggest that, outwith the ongoing financial crisis, F1 faces some difficult times ahead.

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