Montezemolo: ‘F1 needs credibility’

Luca di Montezemolo wants more innovation in Formula 1

Luca di Montezemolo wants more innovation in Formula 1

Luca di Montezemolo believes F1 must to “recover its credibility” in 2010.

Speaking at the launch of Ferrari’s 2010 F1 car the company chairman said the sport should be a “test base” for cutting edge automotive technology and urged the sport to adopt more stable regulations.

Montezemolo argued for greater technical freedom – and more testing:

The first point: a lot of technology is changing because of the environment and pollution. Second, we need consistent regulations that are not misunderstood. And third, the role of justice.

F1 should be a test base for state-of-the-art technology, where we can develop innovations which go onto our cars.

Drivers cannot stop racing on the first of November and then go back racing, or testing, on the first of February.
Luca di Montezemolo

He criticised F1’s increasingly restrictive rules, saying: “I don’t like F1 levelling out performance.”

And in a clear reference to last year’s row over double-diffusers Montezemolo said the technical regulations need to be clearer:

The federation must ensure safety, and this has been done, and also ensuring the right interpretation of the regulations by everybody. They must be clear and not grey.

To do this we need independent sport justice that does not provide judgements without real basis.
Luca di Montezemolo

Ferrari struggled last year because their F60 was not designed to exploit the regulations which allowed double-diffusers to be used.

He also welcomed Mercedes’ return to the sport as a full constructor, saying:

I regret that other teams have gone in the opposite direction. These teams gave credibility to Formula 1. I don’t know if all the small teams are as interested in testing.
Luca di Montezemolo

Asked about Michael Schumacher’s return to F1, Montezemolo said he had urged Schumacher to come back in August last year.

He repeated his belief that F1 should allow teams to run three cars and, perhaps in the hope the FIA will listen, hinted he might offer one to Valentino Rossi in 2011.

Ferrari 2010 launch

Image (C) Ferrari spa / Edoardo Colombo

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86 comments on Montezemolo: ‘F1 needs credibility’

  1. MuzzleFlash said on 28th January 2010, 13:05

    Call me mad, but I’d like to see Formula 1 experimenting with Hydrogen fuel cells (not particularly fond of the engine sounds since the V10’s were lost) even though I imagine it would be difficult to do safely.

    And smaller brakes to increase distances but an automatic variable incidence rear wing, one which would fall flat when the driver accelerates (would it produce less turbulence?) then be pushed up when the brakes are applyed.

    I have more mad ideas than Ecclestone.

    • Bartholomew said on 28th January 2010, 13:30

      The smaller brakes is an excellent idea:the most cost-effective and easiest way to more pasing

      • Hallard said on 28th January 2010, 17:10

        Smaller brakes wont help passing. The only way to increase braking distances is to decrease downforce. Smaller brakes could still presumably lock up the tires just like big rakes, so the real limiting factor is the traction (i.e. downforce. Giving the cars smaller brakes would only make them get hotter and fail more frequently.

        • MuzzleFlash said on 28th January 2010, 19:02

          That makes sense, what about removing a piston or two from the calipers? or only using one brake on the rear axle like a go-kart?

          Would bringing back active suspension and fitting thicker rear tyres help recoup some mechanical grip if aerodynamic grip is diminished as it probably should be?

          • Fer no.65 said on 28th January 2010, 23:58

            considering how fast the cars goes at the end of a normal straight, the clever thing would leave the brakes as they are and limit the aerodinamic effect of the wings and stuff…

            imo, the best way should keep the brakes like they are NOW (a sort of “brake-freeze”) and continue decreasing the amount of downforce (which they are already doing, but with the DDD, things went the other way around)

  2. F1 will recover its credibility when the teams and the FIA stop having silly arguments and the rules stay stable for a long period of time. I think the constant fiddling and changing of the regulations (points system, qualifying tyres, refuelling etc) makes F1 look like a joke and destroys the interest of casual fans who simply can’t be bothered to keep up with the never ending changes.

    Ferrari really need to let this three car idea go. There is a full grid of 26 cars and plenty of teams (Prodrive, Lola, Stefan GP etc) ready to snap up any spaces that emerge. If they want to put Rossi in a car they need to drop another driver. Some teams with three cars will not work.

  3. I agree with di Montezemolo about F1 being a test base for state of the art technology and also about the easing of some of the restrictions but I can’t see how these could be achieved while at the same time reducing costs.

    • I’m not convinced F1 really needs to cut costs, teams need to see more of the money that the sport generates and spend it more efficiently balancing it with sponsorship and other commercial interests. Modern globalised sports spend a lot of money, that’s the reality. If you wanna run an F1 team on less than what leading football teams are willing to spend on a top players transfer fee then you’re not gonna have much of spectacle. Teams like Honda and Toyota wasted money massively does that mean teams that doen’t waste money like Ferrari, Renault and McLaren should be punished?

  4. Ned Flanders said on 28th January 2010, 13:30

    Luca does seem to enjoy telling us exactly what should and shoukldn’t be done in F1… I predict he’ll try and depose Jean Todt as FIA President before long!

    I just wish he would sometimes take his Ferrari hat off when giving interviews. Obviously you’d want more testing if you own two test tracks. Obviously you’d want third cars when you sign contracts with more than two drivers (as Ferrari did). Obviously you wouldn’t like Double Diffusers because you didn’t think of them first.

    • Testing is the most effective and efficient way of developing a car. He’s not saying he doesn’t was double diffusers he’s saying he wants rules that are written more clearly. I’m not a champion for the three car cause but it’s one of the more sane ideas out there. We could have seen Alonso, Massa & Schumacher in Ferrari this season, I can think of worse suggestions that have been proposed.

      • Hairs said on 28th January 2010, 13:48

        Instead, we’ve got Alonso, Massa, Schumacher, Hamilton, Vettel, Button, and Webber in different cars where engineers have to be clever and adaptive.

        Yeah, that’s a lot worse than having 3 or 4 Ferraris on the track with unlimited testing, all the best drivers and a veto on the rules…..

        • They’re not all in different cars. I think your kind of augmenting the context a bit there. I’m not saying Ferrari should be the only team allowed to have 3 drivers (not 4). F1 hasn’t always had only two drivers per team. There are more than 3 good drivers in the world.

          McLaren could have had Hamilton, Button, Raikkonen. Red Bull Webber, Vettel, Coulthard. Mercedes Schmacher, Rosberg, Heidfeld. Ferrari Massa, Alonso, Rossi.

          No one said testing should be unlimited.

          It wouldn’t mean that engineers would have to be any less cleaver and adaptive, in all probability they would need to be more so because they’d face more competition from evenly matched equipment.

          • luigismen said on 28th January 2010, 16:04

            I don’t like that 3 cars idea, I prefer good drivers driving for different teams, there’s more challenge there, it would be boring to see a podium full of ferraris or mclarens..

          • Hairs said on 28th January 2010, 18:17

            I’m exaggerating for effect, but not by much. At one point last year Ferrari had 7 drivers signed on – Kimi, Massa, Alonso, Schumacher, Fisi, Badoer and Gene – in an era where no testing is allowed.

            Luca’s “generous” suggestion that Ferrari might be allowed to run 3 cars with, say, Alonso, Schui and Massa in them, with another 3 drivers in reserve and Rossi on the way would be funny if he weren’t so serious. Driver salaries are outside the budget cap, so Ferrari can buy up as many as they want. This is nothing more than another attempt by Ferrari to stifle competition. Allowing the rich teams to run 3 race cars (plus associated reserve chassis), plus simulator and testing time, and get even more control of the driver market isn’t good for F1 as a whole – only good for the team allowed to run 3 cars. As usual Luca is being disingenuous at best.

          • Just stating they had seven drivers signed is a bit misleading. 2 were injured and unable to drive, 1 was driving for another team, 2 were considered to not be good enough leaving Kimi and Fisi.

            Ferrari don’t have too much control of the driver market. I don’t see Williams crying because they can’t give Gene a drive after they decided he wasn’t good enough.

            The suggestion is that all could run 3 cars not just Ferrari. If Ferrari’s car was as good as the F60 it wouldn’t matter how many they had.

  5. S Hughes said on 28th January 2010, 13:34

    He’s only moaning because Ferrari had a dog last year.

    • Indeed – I know this is probably naughty and bad of me, but when I hear old Luca saying F1 must recover its credibility, my mind fills in the following words: “…with a Ferrari double world championship.”

  6. I agree with what di Montezemolo is saying. He sounds more like a real fan of F1 than Ecclestone or Moseley ever has.

  7. Bartholomew said on 28th January 2010, 13:40

    ‘F1 needs credibility’ = Luca wants more money from Bernie

    He is absolutely right. A 50% cut for Bernie and the rest for the teams is not acceptable in modern business

    However I dont agree with many of the other things. Ferrari has money to test year round while other teams dont.
    I think the balance of power in F1 has shifted towards teams with a star technician like Ross Brawn or Adrian Newey

  8. Hairs said on 28th January 2010, 13:46

    “I regret that other teams have gone in the opposite direction. These teams gave credibility to Formula 1. I don’t know if all the small teams are as interested in testing.”
    Luca di Montezemolo

    Translation: “We were the ones that started the massive spending race in the first place, and now we can’t do it. What if these small teams are cleverer than us and we can’t spend and test our way out of trouble?”

    Ah the old Ferrari arrogance – if Ferrari aren’t doing well, then the sport as a whole is doing badly. If Ferrari lack credibility because all their foreign staff have left, then the sport lacks credibility. Etc etc etc.

    Maybe the sport wouldn’t have lost credibility in its “justice” if there hadn’t been quite so many examples of blatent cheating by and favouritism towards a certain red team? Like handing out vetos? Or by “financial partners in football teams of the commercial rights holder”? Or destroying the american market so that a dismally underperforming red team could win a race? Stuff like that? Noooo, it’s all down to manufacturers leaving the sport. The sport had no credibility when privateer teams like Williams and McLaren were winning it in the 80’s. Toyota – now there was a massive breath of credibility into the sport. Wall-to-wall “These guys know their stuff” moments, with massive success along the way, culminating in the release of an F1 inspired – err… expensive Lexus.

    Nice to see Italian is the official team language again, after that long period of English – where, let’s face it, things were going so badly. Now that Luca’s got his hands back on the reins, Ferrari are going back where they belong!

    • Not sure about your “translation” there.

      When he talks about credibility and small team he’s talking about teams like Campos turning up to Bahrain admitting that they are there not to race but to test. That does knock the sports credibility. Not that a veto doesn’t, I don’t condone that either.

      • Hairs said on 28th January 2010, 18:23

        The FIA handing out entries to outfits that can’t fulfill them is bad. That’s got nothing to do with the loss of manufacturers.

        Luca’s argument is “You lose big spenders like BMW, Toyota and Honda, and whoever replaces them are losers. Only big spenders should be allowed in.” Brawn replaced Honda and did a much better job with a much smaller budget. The only reason his specious argument has any weight is because of some of the particular teams that Max chose to hand licenses to. Would we be having these doubts if Lola or Prodrive, or even Stefan GP (who have enough finance to buy Toyota’s designs) had got the nod? Nope. If anything, he should be glad that weaker teams are coming into the sport, it will make his own weakening Ferrari squad look better.

        • Bernie and Max/Jean want the weak privateer teams in because they can control them. They’re already doing what they’re told. Williams and Force India are indebted to the FIA and have already been forced to side with them. The manufacturers stood up to the FIA and Bernie.

          You lose big spenders like BMW, Toyota and Honda, and whoever replaces them are losers. Only big spenders should be allowed in

          I don’t believe di Montezemolo is saying this.

          BMW, Toyota & Honda are recognised world wide brands. Their participation generates publicity and interest in the sport and makes it more easily accessible. Higher interest means higher revenues. If Mercedes beat Honda, Toyota and BMW then they look really good. If they beat Campos, USF1 and Virgin it’s not really the same. Beating well know manufacturers makes you look good not struggling teams that no-one has heard of.

          • the Sri Lankan said on 29th January 2010, 2:20

            loosing Toyota is a big knock out punch to F1. if these privateer team loving imps cant realise it then too bad. the pinnacle of motorsport contested by teams called Force india, campos, virgin which has no input towards the automotive industry is what i call a joke. reminds me of champcar

        • Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Honda pretty much finance the 2010 campaign with a frankly massive investment? I’m surprised so many F1 fans believe they did it on a shoe string budget.

        • newnhamlea1 said on 29th January 2010, 10:29

          brawn had a near identical budget to honda, they got give £200 million by honda to support the team in its first season.

          • Hairs said on 29th January 2010, 23:45

            Honda gave Brawn a running budget of approx €100m is the average estimate. This is about what it would have cost Honda to shut down the operation altogether in severance payments and breach of contracts, so in effect they didn’t fund the team, they just walked away with honour. Their previous budget was over 4 times that, spread across the globe, with twice the staff. Brawn went further and sacked about a third of the remaining brackley workforce.

            So, I didn’t say shoestring budget – I said smaller budget, smaller staff. He ran a more successful, more credible, and more respected team as a result. Don’t blame it all on wind tunnels either – the weekend pit crew went from 80 to 20 or 30 – that’s the crew that runs the races all year round, and that’s an example of how “more money” doesn’t mean more success. Quality, and focus, counts for everything.

            “loosing Toyota is a big knock out punch to F1. if these privateer team loving imps cant realise it then too bad. the pinnacle of motorsport contested by teams called Force india, campos, virgin which has no input towards the automotive industry is what i call a joke. reminds me of champcar”

            In the Golden age of F1, it was contested by teams called Lotus, March, Brabham, Lola, McLaren, Williams…. none of them major manufacturers. Those mainstream car makers that did get involved all ran big motorsport divisions, were well known as motorsport companies, and knew what they were doing. Even at that, those divisions were essentially private operations run outside the main company.

            Toyota are not a loss at all to the sport – they were never a winning operation, they were never taken seriously inside or outside the paddock, and they never threatened to do well. Beating a no-hoper money pit fly by night operation like Toyota or Honda means nothing. Beating Mclaren, or Williams, or Ferrari – that means something in this sport. Force India are a team with a lot more racing credibility than BAR/Honda/Toyota ever had.

          • Whatever Brawn’s budget was it was backed up by a massive investment from Honda in the previous year that went into developing the car. Something that Virgin F1 etc don’t have.

            I agree money doesn’t doesn’t but success, Renault in their championship winning years are a prime example.

            In the Golden age of F1, it was contested by teams called Lotus, March, Brabham, Lola, McLaren, Williams…

            Lotus there not a car manufacturer. And Renault, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Porche. Also Honda, Ford, BMW all produced engines.

            Beating a no-hoper money pit fly by night operation like Toyota or Honda means nothing

            Nearly 4 million people world wide bought a Honda car last year. To the casual viewer to see names like Honda or Toyota helps them engage in the sport.

          • Hairs said on 30th January 2010, 22:16

            Lotus were not a major manufacturer, and the only involvement major manufacturers had was in parts supply or as part of a dedicated motorsports programme, to which the public was already aware. My point remains – F1 didn’t need high street car dealer names in the 80’s to get public interest, nobody thought less of the champions of that time because they didn’t beat a car with Ford or Vauxhall on the front of it.

  9. GeeMac said on 28th January 2010, 13:59

    The simple solution to the testing issue is to introduce MotoGP style official test days.

    Get all the teams to the same track (possibly in a country which doesn’t have F1 to gauge interest in the sport), let the public in (generate some revenue), and let the teams run as many or as few cars as they want (lets test drivers get a run, and lets us see loads of cars on the track.)

    Anyone agree?

    • CounterStrike said on 28th January 2010, 14:01

      I agree, provided they run at Kyalami :P

      Agree with me Geemac? :D

      • GeeMac said on 28th January 2010, 14:38

        Definitely!

        BAR and Williams had a test at Kyalami a few years back and it was awesome. The reports said they got something like 70 000 spectators over the 5 days.

  10. I, for once, agree with Montezemolo. F1 is starting to resemble more A1 GP, with everything being standardized. I also can’t understand this obsession with slowing the cars down. As long as safety increases, speed should increase too! Now safety has increased, but speeds have gone down. This is NOT right! We are moving away from the essence of racing. Bring it back!

  11. Matthew McMahon said on 28th January 2010, 14:30

    This is a typical response from Ferarri. When things aren’t going their way they complain. Montezemolo’s speech roughly translates as “FIA, get back into our backpocket.”

  12. wasiF1 said on 28th January 2010, 14:42

    I agree that in a bad time for the manufacturer Mercedes showed some bravery & came in F1.

  13. Jim N said on 28th January 2010, 14:43

    Ferrari have never actually liked a level playing field throughout the history of F1. They have always preferred to gain their edge by spending more money and do more testing than other teams – that’s the whole reason they built Fiorano ! and they have always moaned about small teams and others coming up with clever ideas…. they were moaning about the “garagiste’s” for that back in the 1960’s and it’s continued ever since. So Montezemolo is not actually saying anything new, just repeating the Ferrari party line from the past 50 years….. and I’m sure all the other teams will ignore it as usual!

  14. Icthyes said on 28th January 2010, 14:48

    Whilst trying to wade through the inevitable “things should change to benefit us” rhetoric from Luca (which isn’t a crticism – of course he wants his interests furthered), there’s a lot to agree on. I’m divided myself on whether F1 should be more standard or more open. Personally I’d like to see the aero tightened and become more standard (since they all start copying each other anyway) and the mechanical side opened, as a compromise which I think would improve F1 as a whole. If F1 is to become more open, then having less teams with three cars makes more sense, whereas a closer F1 would (and does) benefit more from many two-car teams, since this environment gives more opportunity for different teams to compete at the sharp end.

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