Mosley: Ferrari small-minded

24/11/2015
NEWS STORY

Former FIA president Max Mosley has accused Ferrari of being small minded following its cost-cap veto.

The Briton, who is increasingly making his feelings about the direction the sport is taking public, whilst the current FIA president appears to focus on other issues, has admitted his frustration at Ferrari's refusal to accept a cost-cap, labelling the Italian manufacturer "small-minded".

The new formula, introduced only last year, has driven up costs, causing further problems for those teams already struggling, this after two of the teams that entered the sport in 2010 have already gone under.

Then there is the fact that Red Bull - and its sister team - has been unable to get the engines it really wanted, a situation not decided by cost but rather the refusal of Mercedes and Ferrari to supply the Austrian outfit with the same spec engines as its works teams.

In an obvious attempt to manipulate the situation the FIA planned to introduce a cost-cap on engines but this was vetoed by Ferrari - no doubt with the support of its rival engine manufacturers - causing the sport's governing body to tender for an independent engine manufacturer.

Whereas the FIA intended capping the engines at €12m (8.5m) a year, whereby at present customers are charged around €20m (14.2m), Mercedes boss Toto Wolff argued that his company is already supplying engines to customers at a loss.

Ferrari robustly defended its decision, claiming the veto was a business decision, Mosley however, talking to Sky Sports F1, argues that supplying engines to the sport is in itself financially rewarding.

"What I would say is these companies are in it to promote their image, their brand and promoting your brand is expensive," he said. "So I would be inclined to pick a much lower figure, something in the 5 or 6m euro bracket, depending on what the teams can afford. But I think it would have to be done in that bracket and then say to them that's what you'll supply for."

As the manufacturers no doubt gather their breath, Mosley having suggested that the FIA's original €12m cap is too high, followed it up by suggesting that their development costs should be written off as R&D.

"I wasn't involved in the decision-making process, but I would have thought it was fairly straightforward to sit the manufacturers down and say 'you are in this to promote your brands'," he said. "These engines are completely road relevant, the research you are doing is absolutely focussed on the road and will be very useful so that is part of your main business. Formula 1 is part of your advertising and promotion so you must expect to spend a bit of money. You are very welcome to come in, but these magic engines have got to be supplied to the entire field if anybody wants them and at a very reasonable price'.

"I think there would have been a bit or argy-bargy," he admits, "but in the end they would have agreed, because the difference in what they spend between doing it that and doing it as they have been doing would be relatively insignificant and would become completely insignificant if you combine it with a rule that says the engine has to last a very long time, if not the whole season."

Striking further fear into the hearts of the manufacturers (and fans), he even suggests the current engine rules are too easy going.

"The other way that a lot of money could be saved is if you simply increase the life of them," he said. "Those engines can run for thousands of kilometres provided you adjust them in a certain way. They'd give slightly less power, but they'd last all season. So you turn around to the manufacturer and say it has to be five or six million and when the inevitable howl and anguish came, I would say to them 'well we'll also bring in a rule that will make the engines last longer', because those engines could effectively do all season so the cost shouldn't be that much."

Turning his attention to Ferrari he said: "You've got to look at the bigger picture if you are Ferrari. Formula 1 that doesn't work isn't good for Ferrari because it is a huge marketing tool for them.

"So I think they should have been a little bit more generous and, of course, the veto anyway is a sort of thing from history. It came from the fact that Ferrari sat between us, the British teams, and the FIA like the fulcrum of the balance and if they moved a little bit one way or a little bit the other way, could have an influence out of proportion to the size of the team and that gradually grew into a situation where they had an effective veto all the way through.

"I think it showed a certain small-mindedness and if I were in the position of Ferrari I'd be inclined to say 'I need Formula 1 to succeed and therefore I will do everything I can to see that it will succeed and if I don't win it is my engineers' fault as they have the resources and they should get on with it'."

As the manufacturers ponder what might have been had Mosley remained in office, the fear will be whether his successor is paying attention and has the cojones to take up the gauntlet that is very clearly being laid down.

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Published: 24/11/2015
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