More thoughts from Montezemolo


It isn't only his own team that concerns Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, as he shares his view on the future of F1, the FIA presidency and that 'secret' Mercedes test.

Despite winning successive titles - and seemingly destined for another - Montezemolo has been quite scathing of Red Bull. While Enzo Ferrari famously referred to the British constructors as 'Garagistes', Montezemolo refers to Red Bull as a 'drink manufacturer'.

However, as the Austrian outfit appears destined for its fourth successive title, he grudgingly admits some sort of admiration.

"I've been around in F1 for quite a while, since the Seventies, so I don't envy anyone anything," he told the Corriere della Sera. "With the current regulations favouring aerodynamics, Red Bull was clever in getting a great designer, Adrian Newey, to get the most out of all aspects of the regulations.

"I will digress," he continued, "this aspect of the rules is, in my opinion, a mistake and therefore needs changing. Luckily, the hoped for changes are coming. We don't make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order."

A master politician, Montezemolo then began to list the various things about contemporary F1 that are clearly annoying him, things that he will use the vast power of Ferrari to change. As ever, there were threats and warnings.

"We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world. Formula 1 also has to be a clean sport without any of the monkey business we have had to put up with in recent years.

"From next season, we will have a completely different F1, finally less dependent on aerodynamics. I build cars not planes. 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. 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."

Gradually ticking all the boxes, the Italian turned his attention to another old foe, Bernie Ecclestone. "Sooner or later a generational change always occurs. It's not too long until we reach the post-Ecclestone era for reasons of statistics. As for the rest, I don't want to talk about it. We will have to prepare for a new cycle, capable of tackling the urgent matters and the need for a new F1. I believe the management of this sport, which let's not forget is not just a show, should be entrusted to a group of men open to new ideas, who know about racing but also about marketing and communications and are sensitive to the demands of the fans, those who come to the circuits and therefore pay for the tickets and those who watch on TV, while being able to involve the sponsors and not alienate them. But be careful, I don't want to have discussions with Ecclestone, I have had some in the recent past, because he was too talkative on the subject of Ferrari, but surprisingly silent on the subject of the illegal tests carried out by Mercedes. I know Bernie's strengths and weaknesses, but let's be very clear on one point, no one else will ever do for Formula 1 what Ecclestone has done."

And of his former team boss, turned FIA president, Jean Todt? "When he was in charge of the race team here, he didn't just do a good job, he did a great one. At the Federation, he has a different job. It's not easy, he inherited a divided institution full of tension, from Max Mosley.

"He has a political mandate," he continued, failing to see the irony, "he needs the consensus that will allow him to develop transparency, also when it comes to the rules, in a world as complex as F1."

And finally tyres. "It's true, we are a bit too dependent on the tyres,” he said, clearly having forgotten the golden years with Bridgestone, “however at the same time, one must recognise that Pirelli has shown great courage and ability and, as Italians we must feel proud of the efforts of one of our great companies in F1. No polemics, but I have only pointed out that I don't feel it's right to change the type of tyre at the midpoint of the season, for cars designed and developed with different tyres, which is another element that contributes to organising the hierarchy. And who knows if for next season, for which studies and preparation are already underway, there could not be further changes. We need clarity."

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Published: 04/08/2013
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