Bernie Ecclestone mocks Ferrari ‘clowns’

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Bernie Ecclestone: \'we have to be grateful to Ferrari for providing the clowns\'
Bernie Ecclestone: 'we have to be grateful to Ferrari for providing the clowns'

Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at Luca Montezemolo?s criticism of the Singapore Grand Prix as a ??circus??.

Is this just a bit of tit-for-tat between two of the most powerful men in F1, or signs of a deeper tension?

Last week Luca di Montezemolo poured scorn on the first ever Singapore Grand Prix. saying:

When we race on tracks where staging a circus or something else would be better, anything can happen, because the spectacle is supplied by the Safety Car. This is humiliating for F1.

At the time I put the remarks down to frustration at how the team had let a one-two slip through their fingers in an embarassing pit-lane blunder involving Felipe Massa. But Montezemolo reiterated his claims a few days later:

On Sunday in front of the TV I felt like I was at Disneyworld. Let’s hope that at Singapore in 2009 they’ll do fashion catwalks, Disney parades, or something else. But certainly not F1. If this is the future of racing, we are sorted. I didn’t like Valencia, we’ll make ourselves be heard.

Ecclestone?s stinging retort to the Ferrari boss mocked the Italian team for its shambolic performance during the race:

If the Ferrari president is right about the Singapore Grand Prix being a circus then we have to be grateful to him for providing the clowns.

And he criticised the controversial traffic lights system used by Ferrari to release their drivers from the pits, which also caused trouble for the team at Valencia:

If it’s a matter of turning a switch, which I am led to believe is how it works, then why not stick with the ‘lollipop’ man of old? Why do you want to have some other piece of technology that can go wrong? It’s over the top.

Let’s not forget how well Ecclestone knows how these things work: he was team boss of Brabham in 1982 when it reintroduced modern-style refuelling stops before they were banned in 1983.

When Montezemolo says “we’ll make ourselves be heard”, presumably he means Ferrari, and not the new teams’ association FOTA. McLaren’s Ron Dennis, like many others in F1, heaped praise on Singapore. And the track today claimed over a record Paddock Club attendance of over 4,000 – a strong indication that it is boosting F1’s appeal for sponsors.

It seems Montezemolo is in the minority on this one. If I were in his position, my first stop would be the offices of Max Mosley, whom Ferrari supported throughout the sadomasochist sex scandal earlier this year, to suggest that safety standards on street circuits perhaps need tightening up.

47 comments on “Bernie Ecclestone mocks Ferrari ‘clowns’”

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  1. It’s a funny comment, kudos to Bernie E.

    I’m not sure what it is LdiM isn’t happy about. Is it the lights? If so, why is he getting on Valencia’s case? Is it the street race? If so, why is he not getting on Monaco’s case? Is it the Safety Car? We’ve known about the SC problems for a while…and the teams have too, hence the reason for their testing this new system.

    Is he proposing that Ferrari will only turn up to tracks they approve of in future?

  2. Robert McKay – Nice points.. it looks like he wants every thing to go for them or it’s wrong !!

    It was the team mistake that costed them the race.. not the safety car..

    True – if it was circus then we have to be grateful to him for providing the clowns.

  3. Hahaha Bernie you legend! What a great come back!

  4. Ah, the Poison Dwarf spreading his venom yet again, anyone who dares hold an opinion that is different to Bernie’s beware, you all saw what happened to the BRDC. At the end of the day we all have different opinions, I for one liked Singapore, Luca did not, although it has to be said when the safety car comes out in a pitstop window it basically changes from a race to a lottery.

  5. Am I one of the only ones who like the current SC setup? Beats the hell out of those **** poor processional races we had at least we now have an element of suprise in every race. Sure it may not have been earned for those who benefit but it pretty much reflects real life, how many of those drivers have “earnt” their seat through pure hard work and talent?

  6. I’m a Ferrari fan, but the Poison Dwarf may be the greatest nickname I’ve ever heard.

  7. I read at PlanetF1 that Bernie also made a sarcastic remark to the effect that if Ferrari was going to use an advanced automated lights system that maybe they should have the green light activated only after the coupling had been disconnected from the car……another jab from the mad hobbit.

  8. HounslowBusGarage
    6th October 2008, 23:13

    I can’t help thinking that Luca’s criticisms are diversionary tactics while the real subjects of his ire are the members of his own Ferrari team. He wouldn’t disparage them in public of course, and so he is striking out at other targets instead.
    How different would his comments be if Massa had been refuelled and released correctly and Kimi hadn’t stuffed it into the wall like a Fomula Ford amateur?
    In this instance, I actually approve of Ecclestone’s comments.
    Incidentally, this is the first time I’ve found this blog – quite the most intelligent racing discussion on the internet!

  9. HounslowBusGarage – thanks! Hope you keep coming back :-)

  10. haha good on bernie,

    i was suspected ferrari were throwing their toys out of the pram,

    one suspects they are throwin a sulk because they f****d up in the biggest F1 show of the year :)

    ooo ooo oooo it ses click to edit, perhaps i should add something?? :)

  11. He wasn’t really very specific about what made the race a circus, I agree. It isn’t too difficult to imagine that if the laughable pit stop they gave Massa hadn’t happened and Felipe had won the race, Luca would be signing the praises of a new “Ferrari” track. Rim-shot to Bernie.

  12. At least once, I must to agree with Bernie. He made the leader of the “Darkness Forza” seems very silly.

    It is absolutely nonsense accuse the safety car for the disastrous Ferrari´s pit stop at Singapore. We can discuss the silly safety cars rules, but Luca must to take care of his boys first.

    Mario Theissen, who has a driver fighting for the championship was much more reasonable:

    “…Another spectacular chapter was added to the Formula One history book. The first night race was a total success. My compliments go to the organisers. The race itself was turbulent and influenced by the first safety car period. Unfortunately the safety car rule meant Robert was completely out of contention in the race, whereas Nick was able to stay out just long enough until the pit lane was reopened. This was a shame for Robert because he was well on his way to score important points for the championship standings…”

    Very different and smart, isn´t? You can add in Mario´s pocket a sweet gift, the nonsensical penalty that was gave to Nick at the qualifying. He has much more reasons to be furious than Montezemolo!

  13. bernification
    7th October 2008, 2:17

    I honestley could not believe Montezemolo’s comments about the sports format considering it’s leniancy to his team in the last few races.

    He has seen the better side of the coin far too many times for him to complain about it’s inadequecies when the failure of his team is what he should be complaining about.

    Hell, just give them the title if this complaing is all it means otherwise.

    PS. I thought Bernie was in the same camp as the Fascists son. I was wrong.

    Sorry Mr. C hope thats not too contecious- his father was a facist

  14. LDM was probably referring to Massa’s penalty when he called the race a circus. “What, give us a penalty? We’re Ferrari! What kind of show are you running here!”

  15. There is a Spanish proverb saying: “He is so unlucky that if he bought a Circus, the Dwarves would grow”

    Well, what we saw in Singapore, were 7 “grown dwarves” carrying “the elephant’s trunk” that Massa had “graciously attached” to his car.

    So, or Luca Cordero di Montezemolo is Snow White, or Bernie is right and Luca CdM is the unfortunate Circus owner.

    I think for that case, Bernie, “the poison Dwarf (TM)” is right.

  16. OK , I’m a Ferrari guy , so anything I say on the comments made will probably be biased. But let me ask one question , for how many laps did Lewis Hamilton (arguably the best overtaker this year) remain behind David Coulthard , a visibly much slower car ? I think the answer will support what Mr. di Montezemolo’s feeling of the track is. Sure there is Monaco which is in itself a circus as far as F1 is concerned , question is do we need a visit to the circus more than once a year ?

  17. mmmmmmmmm… interesting … LDiM vs BE… FIGHT!

    i am a ferrari fan but this time i say Mr LDiM is wrong. he will definitly not be saying these things if his team finished 1 and 2. I think its time for ferrari to let go of their eago and admitt their mistakes instead of blaming other things..they should have corrected their lighting system after valencia…
    if they keep balming other things then i am afraid their wining days will be less..

  18. As I said before, when Ferrari are winning everything is fine and dandy, but when they start making mistakes and actually losing (or at least not getting any points) then they blame everybody else.
    They always have and they always will. Luca is off to moan to Max, when he cannot deny it was his team and his drivers who messed up in Singapore.
    I think the Red Cars need a ‘time out’ from F1 to do some real racing in GP2 or F3000, and re-learn what its all about!
    Oh, and can we start a pole on who they will blame for any failures in Japan? (joke)

  19. If di Montezemolo thought Singapore was ‘Disneyworld’ he won’t like this.

  20. It’s a funny little exchange, and how typical of Bernie to respond in a most public way, as he did with Mosley. What does concern me is if this is what Luca M behaves like publicly, what is he like behind the scenes? The petulance of his commence speaks volumes about how he sees himself and the team.

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