Di Montezemolo attacks new teams and calls for shorter races and more testing

Luca di Montezemolo is still dreaming of three Ferraris in an F1 race

Luca di Montezemolo is still dreaming of three Ferraris in an F1 race

Luca di Montezemolo has repeated his criticism of the sport’s new teams, calling them “a joke” in an interview with Autocar.

The Ferrari boss said:

There is a need to have competitive teams. F1 is like soccer. It needs heroes and it needs big teams. You cannot equalize everything. We need to avoid having too many small teams as it means too many compromises.
Luca di Montezemolo

As shown here last week, the new teams have made considerable progress since the start of the season, reducing the gap to the midfield teams by more than a third.

Di Montezemolo repeated his argument in favour of three-car teams and argued for sweeping changes to race weekends:

Do we need to race at two in the afternoon when everyone is at the sea? Could we have two races per meeting? Do races need to last so long? F1 is not an endurance race. We need races to be short and tough.
Luca di Montezemolo

But yesterday McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh admitted having three-car teams “hasn?t been discussed recently” by the Formula One Teams’ Association. Whitmarsh added:

If you introduce a third car McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes would all be, probably happy to have it. But I think in fairness to the smaller teams it would only disadvantage them further.
Martin Whitmarsh

In a poll of over 4,500 F1 Fanatic readers in February, 62% were against three-car teams.

Di Montezemolo also urged the return of in-season testing – hardly a surprise given Ferrari’s difficulties keeping up with the pace of development this year, while owning a test track its F1 team cannot use for most of a year.

And he said Ferrari would consider entering a series of Le Mans-style endurance races if enough manufacturer interest could be found.

Much was made of di Montezemolo’s visit to the Le Mans 24 Hours last year during the height of the conflict between the FIA and the teams, when he participated in the ceremonial start of the race.

New teams and three-car teams

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131 comments on Di Montezemolo attacks new teams and calls for shorter races and more testing

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  1. Christophe said on 9th June 2010, 8:55

    There is already a very similar format: GP2. The way the cars are built surely has something to do with the excitement in the races. But I firmly believe that the motivation to showcase your skill – to get in an F1 – accounts for a far larger part of the excitement. I’m unsure if di Montezemolo’s comment is inspired by watching GP2, but it doesn’t seem that unlikely.

    I also can’t help but think that “everyone is at the sea”, may be true for sunnier regions like Italy, but I doubt many people in Northern Europe for instance get a lot of sea-time before july.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th June 2010, 9:00

      I also can’t help but think that “everyone is at the sea”, may be true for sunnier regions like Italy, but I doubt many people in Northern Europe for instance get a lot of sea-time before july.

      My sentiments entirely!

      • Richard in Hong Kong said on 10th June 2010, 3:47

        And what about the millions of F1 fans here in Asia and beyond to Australia?

        The timing is perfect here, with Europoean races usually starting at 8pm on a Sunday evening – the perfect way to wrap up a weekend.

        The only problem is, and I’m sure anyone reading this in Asia wil agree – the commentary and build up on Star Sports is diabolically bad.

        • Tom M in Australia said on 10th June 2010, 9:19

          The coverage is equally bad in Australia, so I get my Dad to record the BBC coverage (plus the Forum, naturally) and send them over on DVD after each race!

          I agree about the timing though, it is great to have F1 on at prime time.

          • Richard in Hong Kong said on 10th June 2010, 14:10

            You can watch the BBC coverage anywhere, Tom, if you pay about 5 pounds a month on sites like http://www.my-private-network.co.uk, and don’t mind watching it on your pc.

            You’ll get access to the BBC iplayer and the live F1 broadcasts. Works well most of the time in Hong Kong, but sometimes it does spend too much time buffering, so can’t be relied upon!

          • schumiforthewin said on 10th June 2010, 14:58

            richard, i actually used to enjoy the f1 pre show on star sports. mainly cos of paula malai ali though.. HOT!!! she used to go to my high school.. just fyi :) well i didnt think it was so bad. but then again i havent exactly seen the bbc coverage. but after having being in melbourne for a year and a half now and having to put up with that crap on one hd, star sports coverage is mind blowing.

        • subrozzo said on 10th June 2010, 17:53

          yep having to hear steve slater each race is a huge distraction.years of f1 commentary cant even get the driver’s name straight.BBC commentary is so good.their pre grand prix show is excellent

          • Richard in Hong Kong said on 11th June 2010, 3:36

            I agree totally with you, schumiforthewin. Paula is HOT, but she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Alex Yoong is the only presenter with any sense. Paula does kind of make up for some of her lack of knowledge with her hot looks, I guess.(She has a twin sister, right? It just gets better… maybe you can hook me up when I’m in Singapore for the sept race?;)

            If you haven’t seen the BBC coverage you’re realy missing out. The pre-race show is fantastic, with great analysis and interviews right from the pitlane, and the post match forum is great. (check out the link I mentioned above)

            Subruzzo: Steve Slater should be shot!

    • Nathan Bradley said on 9th June 2010, 9:16

      Ha ha ha, so true! :)

      The only good thing about Luca’s rants is that they give me a fantastically deep belly laugh every time I read one.


      • Nathan Bradley said on 9th June 2010, 9:19

        I also meant to say, you could give a book of his rants to people who have no sense of humour. You’d have them rolling in the aisles in no time!


    • BasCB said on 9th June 2010, 11:51

      Not to mention millions of people not watching from Europe but getting out of bed early or into bed late to watch.

      Also watching F1 is a lot healtier than sitting in the sun 8)

  2. KNF said on 9th June 2010, 8:56

    Luca di Montezemolo is a joke, more histronics and arm waving when he should be steering his team…

    For sure there are big works teams in LeMans too, but racing with smaller teams in LMP2 and GT classes. Will he be attacking these guys too when Ferrari enters LMPs???

    • matt90 said on 9th June 2010, 13:39

      ‘And he said Ferrari would consider entering a series of Le Mans-style endurance races if enough manufacturer interest could be found.’

      A Le Mans type series with plenty of manufacturer interest? Such as the various Le Mans series then? Why not just say what you mean, unless what you mean is creating a new series similar to one which already exists, in which case you’re being foolish. What an idiot.

      The fact that his vision of what F1 should be is sooooo far removed from what it actually is suggests that F1 isn’t the sport for him at all. Unfortunately for him most people who watch F1 watch it because they like the format of it, even if there are some things which need improving. Sure, the two race thing works in GP2, but that doesn’t command the same international audience as F1. If F1 showed 2 seperate races, what are the chances that people skip one of them anyway, instead of arranging their time so that they are at the TV at 2 seperate occasions. Also, if they were spaced further apart, their would have to be several support races actually at the track in between. Having Porsche supercup following the F1 would probably make the first race seem less important to the audience than the second, even if the points awarded were the same.

      ‘F1 is not about endurance.’
      Funny, I thought F1 used to last at least 3 hours in the 50s/60s, and I thought the race length of between 1 and a half and 2 hours was actually pretty much perfect. Imagine if Bahrain had been a short ‘sprint’ race. Would it have made for better racing? Almost certainly not. We would have complained that the race was both boring and short, removing any chance of something interesting happening. Also it would remove the need for any pitstops at all.

      His vision of F1 is not at all reminiscent of what F1 is and what it’s about, so I think it is very worrying that he is in such a prominent position in the sport.

  3. I think Luca should concentrate more on his own teams performance than that of others particularly when you consider the rate which the new teams are catching Ferrari, who have stagnated this season.

    “Everyone is at the sea at 2pm”??? – I don’t recall cancelling many seaside trips to watch F1!!

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 9th June 2010, 9:46

      Well the solution is easy the isn’t it Luca?
      Let’s have the races at 4 am – in February.

    • bosyber said on 9th June 2010, 9:51

      And that answers the question of why he goes on like this perfectly: to divert attention from his team not doing all that great yet again this year, even when they started with a top of the field car.

      Well, the Turkey weekend was nice here, but for Canada I cannot see myself going to the beach to be rained upon either ;)

  4. pgj said on 9th June 2010, 9:02

    I wish this idiot would get over the failure of GPMA. If he wants a series for ‘big’ teams let him put a series together or shut up. Ferrari is in danger of slipping back even further and being overtaken by a few ‘small’ teams. This constant belly-aching is getting tedious in the extreme.

    • M0tion said on 10th June 2010, 7:53

      So agreed. Ferrari needs F1 more than F1 needs Ferrari. Ferrari are nearly more a merchandise company now than a car company. We know what happens when Ferrari rule the roost and it is BORING.

      Best thing ever for McLaren if Ferrari ever walked from F1 and they didn’t, so it won’t happen otherwise and now with Renault being more team than manufacturer it leaves only Mercedes for Ferrari to really pal up to.

      The only thing that has any attraction in a new series is getting rid of the CVC debt servicing noose around the necks of the teams and the venues.

      Go the real racing teams and the developers that use more brain than dollar!

  5. Superted said on 9th June 2010, 9:02

    I wish Di Montezemolo would get back in his box regarding new teams. Ferrari don’t run F1 and if the teams have something to say then they should use FOTA to voice their concerns. It is after all, what FOTA was setup to do.

  6. Puffy said on 9th June 2010, 9:02

    I must admit to finding Di Montezemolo’s disdain for the newer teams to be slightly perplexing. Yes they aren’t as established as the other teams, yes they are off the pace (to be fair Ferrari is well off the pace of where it should be) but the new teams are improving every race and will soon be as competitive as the Saubers, Force Indias and the Williams.

    As was pointed out in the article, a lot of fans do not want to see 3 cars per team, and I remember in a poll a while back on the site that it was a fair majority that were against shorter races. Formula 1 needs to be very careful about over-fixing.

    The one and only point that I do agree with Di Montezemolo on is the need for more testing. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor racing and I’m a huge fan of the technical aspects, I want to see teams testing and developing new parts and new innovations, bringing updates to each race. On that note, I personally would like to see more freedom in the technical rules to allow teams to follow different routes to achieving performance instead of every team simply copying any small innovation from other teams until the cars are indistinguishable.

    • Kent Paul said on 9th June 2010, 13:48

      Your last paragraph leaves me feeling slightly :S

      McLaren came develop new parts and innovations (f-duct) with testing, so why can’t Ferrari? :S

      How would more testing see more freedom in the technical rules? Surely it’s the technical rules that are at fault, not the testing ban? :S

  7. Chalky said on 9th June 2010, 9:05

    Maybe Luca should look back on history and realise that Ferrari once were a small team in motor racing. They used Alfa Romeo’s till they could develop their own car.
    A bit like how HRT use Dallara before they build their own next year.

    • DGR-F1 said on 9th June 2010, 13:25

      Apart from the fact that the ‘Ferrari’ development was to write ‘Ferrari’ instead of ‘ALFA’ on the engine! :-)

  8. Jonathan said on 9th June 2010, 9:06

    You know what’s a joke?

    Ferrari and Di Montezemolo

    • Tobitron said on 9th June 2010, 16:53

      I have to agree with this point. Ferrari have absolutely lost the plot.

    • leon said on 9th June 2010, 16:56

      Montezemolo is presiding over what might turn out to be the terminal decline of a great marque. His strutting arrogance about everything that is not Ferrari in F1; his pathetic delusions so severe that he really seems to believe that all his problems are everybody elses fault. Everybody that doesn’t work for Ferrari that is.

      These are not good signs for Ferrari’s future. In the tough day’s of the early nineties, Ferrari luminaries kept their heads down and rebuilt the team around Schumaker. Dare one suggest that they seem to have the wrong guy running the ship right now ?

    • American_F1_Fan said on 9th June 2010, 20:37

      I couldn’t agree more! Funny how Ferrari only has a problem with the format and rules when they aren’t at the sharp end of the grid…

      I know a lot of people won’t agree with me on this one, but let Ferrari leave. Regardless of what they believe, they aren’t the “soul of F1″.

  9. Shortening the races is a very bad idea it cheapens the sport. Shortening events only dimish their value, England won the T20 world cup the other month, but no one was that bothered because although it was pretty exciting the shorter form of the game always seems of less value. Shortening F1 races would simply devalue what’s supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport.

    Also its bizzare after we’ve had such an exciting race in Turkey people still obsess about ‘the show’ Constant rule tinkering and the kind of politiking Luca is engaging in is a bigger problem for F1 than the quality of the racing, which this year has been excellent.

    • plushpile said on 9th June 2010, 9:40

      “Shortening the races is a very bad idea it cheapens the sport.”

      Agreed, a last lap pass means a hell of a lot more after 300km than 20km.

      If anything I’d like races to be longer, many will run closer to 1 hour than 2…

      • bosyber said on 9th June 2010, 9:58

        Yesterday I saw the (replay, I guess) of the indycar oval race in Texas – quite nice to see, but I was working at the same time, which was good, as I otherwise would have been a tad bored.

        And even then, it was good I that only switched on after about 100 laps (or 228) – only after about 150 laps did it really heat up, even though it turned out the eventual numbers 1 and 2 were more or less constantly in the fight for the top 5 places, which was impressive and nice to see.

    • Tiomkin said on 9th June 2010, 10:12

      If my memory serves me right didn’t all the action occur in the closing stages of the race. Hamilton’s blowout, the Redbull self destruct and then the Mclaren 2 step. Shortening races would be disastrous.

      Ferrari are just crying because this year they cannot challenge for the top step.

      • Jim N said on 9th June 2010, 10:46

        Ferrari always cry when they cannot challenge for the top step…. most of the time you get the impression from Luca’s comments that the other teams should just be there to make Ferrari look good, but shouldn’t do anything so impertinent as to go faster than them.
        Most team principles when they comment on the sport tend to give an opinion slightly slanted towards their on team but overall reasonably balanced. On the other hand almost all Luca’s rants can be summed up as “Ferrari are better than anybody else at such and such so it should be made compulsory”. And “Ferrari are not as good at such and such as the rest and so it should be banned”. A real pity because Ferrari are a fantastic team and are big enough and strong enough not to need such continuous one sided announcements.

    • BasCB said on 9th June 2010, 11:58

      Moreover, can you imagine flying into the middle of nowhere, get an over expensive hotel room (3 nights minimum) and be at the track on 2 days just to see 2 times about an hour of F1 sprint races?
      Maybe if you get a Ferrari-theme park ticket included, making races just a side show<

      The other idea about the weekend by Sam Michael was a lot more sound, run events on friday, just not using F1 cars so the teams have less running to do. Spice up the weekends, not dumb them down.

    • Ads21 Well, I disagree whole heartedly that World twenty20 means nothing. It means more every year, it’s respected more very year, an the skill tactics, an level of attention given to the game increases every year as it gets more important. Even the purists bang on about it these days.

      Still I agree, Luca’s gone barmy. F1 isn’t an endurance race? Indeed it isn’t. We’re not messing with the 2hr 200mile format just because he thinks it’ll be good for him.

      I recently had a long an impassioned argument with someone on this forum on just this. I’ve changed my mind recently, Turkey had something to do with it, what a terrible idea?

      An he’s slating of the new teams is looking more and more stupid, especially considering the rate of their improvement.

      • Bendana said on 9th June 2010, 17:39

        I mostly agree scribe, but whilst I love T20, you’ve got to admit that it will never be held in the same reverence of full test cricket – in the same way that two shorter races wouldn’t be held in the same reverence as a full grand prix. Look at the love of Le Mans as an endurance event.

        No matter what Luca says, F1 IS an endurance sport. its about making a car that is essentially constantly destroying it’s own parts through the stresses placed on them work for a 200km race at maximum speed and skill.

  10. Electrolite said on 9th June 2010, 9:12

    Wouldn’t you need to completely re-think the design of an F1 car if you wanted shorter races? Finish a race after 20 laps in today’s cars and you might as well call the winner in qualifying, surely? Fanatics like us can’t get enough of races – for me Turkey felt like it ended too soon, I was just getting into it!

    As for the smaller teams they are and always have been a part of F1, it’s great to see their development and add another dimension to the sport. It’s like saying football matches should be only half an hour and there should only be a premiership. Ridiculous.

    • Electrolite said on 9th June 2010, 9:16

      Just to add;

      “It needs heroes and it needs big teams. You cannot equalize everything.”

      F1 is more competitive at the top and has more ‘heroes’ now than for a long while in my view. And only having big teams would ‘equalise everything’ so this is a bit contradictory.

  11. themark said on 9th June 2010, 9:12

    Luca hasn’t said anything of relevance for years now. He just farts loudly on occasion to keep people looking in his direction.

  12. Tango said on 9th June 2010, 9:16

    IS Williams a small team? Are Ferrari poised to eventually become “a small team”? Were MacLaren and Red Bull always “Big teams”? The guy is a joke.

  13. Josef said on 9th June 2010, 9:19

    Shorter races? That’s ridiculous, an F1 GP has traditionally been like this, and F1 race should be longer and harder than a GP2 race for example. If he doesn’t like it the way it is, maybe he can race in GP2 or F3 with 2 short races…

    In season testing? Maybe not a bad idea but he only seems to mention it now that Ferrari are behind, quite sad really…

    Racing at 2PM? I am not at the sea when there is a GP because I want to watch the race. Should we change everything to accomodate for each and every person and by doing so destroy all of the history and heritage of GP racing? Some of the beauty of F1 is its history, passion and heritage, let’s not destroy that…

    Why keep attacking the new teams? It’s their first year, what else can one expect…

    I’m really starting to dislike DiMontezemolo, what an arrogant and unpleasant person!!

  14. Josef said on 9th June 2010, 9:20

    And by the way, I think the racing has been excellent and exciting in the last few races!! Thanks to no refuelling and long races in some part too :D

  15. Ben Curly said on 9th June 2010, 9:25

    One day we will see Lotus overtaking Ferrari, and that’s what Luca is afraid off. He’s not in it for the sport, he’s in it for the money. From that point of view all he says is perfectly justified. Making life harder for newcomers is good for big teams, and making races shorter is good for the “show”.

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