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

  1. Robert McKay said on 9th June 2010, 9:30

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

    Dumb question here, is this a reference to sports cars, or is he talking about special very long Formula 1 races? I thought there already was a series of Le Mans style endurance races.

    The races are more or less the perfect length as is, in my book.

    But I get the feeling that Monty will persuade FOTA that GP2 style weekends are the way to go and they will start to psuh for that.

    • mvi said on 9th June 2010, 10:29

      Regarding your question, here’s what was said about endurance races:

      – However di Montezemolo also admitted that Ferrari has considered re-entering endurance sports car racing. “I’m very impressed with Le Mans but we can’t do both [F1] because of money and know-how and it’s only one race,” he said.

      “Instead if we can put together an endurance series, either 12 or 24 hours, with other car makers and race around the world, that would be good,” he said.

      So in context, that makes sense.

      I don’t think Montezemolo is involved very much with FOTA any more, as the Ferrari side is represented by Domenicali.

      Much of what he is saying is not news as he has said it before (3 cars, new teams in F1, testing) and the rest just sounds like ordinary speculative dinner chit-chat rather than proposals for the sport.

  2. rampante said on 9th June 2010, 9:48

    Yet again a sensationalist headline because Montezemolo said something. He did not call for shorter races and he did not demand 3 cars. He said all should be discussed and assessed. Yet again most on this site have to ‘have a go’. What he said about the time relates to a huge percentage of fans in Europe where Sunday for nearly 6 months of the year is spent at the beach. I know that this is not the case in the UK or Germany but it is in Portugal, Spain, France Italy all the ex Yugoslavian countries etc. They do make up a huge part of the viewers. This really only affects central and southern European viewers of course. Ferrari may be a big team and Red Bull are now and it only took them a few years to get there. The point is in England do you tell Man Utd, Chelsea that they can’t spend money because Bolton can’t. Teams move up and down and if they move up the league they spend more money. This rant has nothing to do with how Ferrari have performed this year, his arguments have not changed for several years now. I don’t agree with much of what he says but I am very strongly against testing bans and track time for drivers. Is there a more useless position than an F1 test driver? Criticize him, shout at him as many will do but he has a right to talk about F1. He kept Ferrari in the sport in the mid 70’s when Enzo was ready to give it all up and for that I forgive a lot of his crazy ideas.

    • Robert McKay said on 9th June 2010, 9:53

      “Yet again a sensationalist headline because Montezemolo said something. He did not call for shorter races and he did not demand 3 cars.”


      But the quote at the top of the page seems pretty clear.

      “Do races need to last so long? F1 is not an endurance race. We need races to be short and tough.”

      It suggests strongly that he’d LIKE short races, even if he’s not CALLING for them.

      And you could argue that by floating the idea in the first place he’s getting close to calling for in in the first place anyway.

      • Icarus said on 9th June 2010, 17:58

        Actually Di Montezemolo is very wrong even about the beach thing. NO ONE goes to the beach at 2PM it’s too hot then and UV rays are the strongest, living in a tourist place I can tell you that beaches are the emptiest during 2-4PM jus when the F1 race is on.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th June 2010, 9:57

      What he said about the time relates to a huge percentage of fans in Europe where Sunday for nearly 6 months of the year is spent at the beach. I know that this is not the case in the UK or Germany but it is in Portugal, Spain, France Italy all the ex Yugoslavian countries etc. They do make up a huge part of the viewers.

      And what about viewers outside Europe?

      Yet again a sensationalist headline because Montezemolo said something.

      It’s hardly sensationalist – he said he would prefer letting the big teams have three cars than the current situation of having some new teams who are off the pace.

      • Tango said on 9th June 2010, 10:35

        Plus in France, believe me, not everybody is at the beach (sighs)

        • matt90 said on 9th June 2010, 13:56

          Exactly. Oddly enough, countries like France, Spain, Germany, even northen Italy are not entirely coastal, as with the UK. There’s a bit in the middle, and traditionally people tend to live there as well as on the coast, and it’s a fairly big commute for them to get to the coast. Especially to get to the coast at 2pm and be back home in time for a race just before and just after 2 pm.

          • PJA said on 9th June 2010, 14:06

            Whatever time races are scheduled for because F1 is a global sport you could easily find a group of people somewhere who would usually be doing something else.

            It would be impossible to cater to everyone’s needs and I believe the current time and format works fine, so I see no need to for major changes.

            F1 isn’t broke so it doesn’t need fixing.

      • rampante said on 9th June 2010, 11:46

        I am against 3 cars per team but don’t Red Bull have 4? Not only one more they also have access to engine technology that they should not have.

        • disjunto said on 9th June 2010, 11:59

          STR are not RBR :D

          They build there own car, and use a different engine supplier, nothing is the same

          • rampante said on 9th June 2010, 12:06

            If you think that at no point someone from RBR has not had a look at the engine in a STR or that they are not the same outfit please let me know where you live because I would love to be in such a place without taking drugs:)

        • Ilanin said on 9th June 2010, 12:06

          If Ferrari want to set up another team which builds a separate chassis and runs a Renault engine, there’s nothing stopping them from bidding for the 13th place…

    • Maru said on 9th June 2010, 10:38

      I think you’re generalizing quite a bit here. Sure there are many viewers in Southern Europe, but I don’t see how they make up a bigger audience than those in Middle/Northern Europe (which includes more than just the UK and Germany).

      And anyway, we’re talking about 9 races between May and September (minus Canada which airs later in Europe)… that’s 9 days out of 40 possible beach-weekend days in those 5 summer months (which is probably far more summer than most if Europe gets anyway). Ignoring the fact that people could just go to the beach before and/or after the race, I don’t think those 9 beach-less days are a good enough reason to change a schedule everyone is used too and that has worked well for a long time.

    • Nick said on 9th June 2010, 11:15

      How do you go to the beach if you live in Madrid, Paris, Lyon etc etc ?
      A pretty small minority of people go to the beach at 2.00 pm in Europe on a Sunday. Maybe 10%?

    • Ned Flanders said on 9th June 2010, 11:41

      Sorry to be pedantic Rampante, but I doubt many people in central Europe spend much time at the beach….

      Anyway I disagree with you. It’s not so much what LDM is saying which bothers me- I agree with a lot of it- but it’s the way he says it. This isn’t some anti Ferrari conspiracy, it’s just we’re all growing tired of his outbursts.

      Compare what he’s said to Martin Whitmarsh’s quotes yesterday. They are saying similar things, but the difference is Whitmarsh was a lot more respectful and actually considered the needs of the smaller teams.

      • rampante said on 9th June 2010, 12:29

        I don’t agree with a lot he says Ned but this is an old story and at no point did he use the word joke. That is why autocar and Keith put it in brackets.
        People in the UK only see ‘clips’ of LDM and I see why he is unpopular. He is not the most loved man in Italy however he is a key person in many fields.
        Finally the weekend trip to the beach is by far the biggest pastime for most in these parts.I live 18km from the coast and every weekend the motorways are busier than during the week. Think of it like a 4 month English bank holiday.

    • Icthyes said on 9th June 2010, 13:37

      Just because you’re a Ferrari fan it doesn’t change the fact that Luca is really losing it these days and many people see him more as a clown than a respectable figure.

      Before ranting about sensationalism, maybe you shouldn’t be so reactionist? Not everything is an attack on the beloved Scuderia – a look at how many people here say good things about Domenicali would prove that instantly.

      • rampante (@rampante) said on 9th June 2010, 15:08

        I am possibly the most critical Ferrari fan in Italy. I hate fans who jumped onto a bandwagon without thinking. I have not defended LDM here but this was not a new story and he did not use the word joke. It provokes a reaction. He is off his head with some of his ideas but he still has a right to say so. The Mclaren/RBR events of 2 weeks ago have still not been cleaned up and both MW and CH are falling over themselves about who/what/why. If that was SD or LDM the web would have melted by now.

  3. wasiF1 said on 9th June 2010, 9:48

    Everything he talked about is total rubbish.The new teams are progressing & what he needs to care that his team haven’t made any significant improvement since the Bahrain GP.Three car team is a horrid idea imagine you have a safety car on track & you want all your drivers to make their pit stop, we will need traffic & police who controls traffic to control them in the pit lane that will be a very expensive traffic jam. I don’t find a reason why he find the race to be short & the ban of in season testing was introduced by him when he was the head of FOTA.

  4. Mike said on 9th June 2010, 9:51

    Formula One, Right now, Is the best it’s been in a long time, if not ever (bold yes insane, not anymore) How can he be so stupid? Maybe there are things that could be fixed/improved, like some in season testing, perhaps it could even could be implemented to encourage smaller budgets?

    But all these things he is suggesting, they are sacrilege. Part of what makes Ferrari a bit team (apart from the huge budget and other advantages) Is it’s history, What he is suggesting, destroys all of it! What is the point of Monaco when it it’s not the same challenge as they went through 50 years ago? He seems to enjoy shooting himself in the foot.

    The most perplexing thing, Is this. Remember Mosley (boo hiss), Who fought and triumphed against Mosley, who was the most outspoken, who gained so much praise because he put up a fight? Luca!!! So then he was a hero to (most) of us.

    But… How has he gone from hero to “an arrogant and unpleasant person!!” as Josef said or as Tango expressed his thoughts “The guy is a joke.”
    He could be the voice of reason, But he has shown that he is just like Mosley, in fact, even Mosley had more respect for the fans.

  5. this site will be quite happy when Ferrari announce they are leaving at the end on 2012.

    • Rob said on 9th June 2010, 11:11

      How do you know?

      I have started to warm a great deal to Ferrari since Schumacher and Todt left the team – Domenicali seems like an honest guy trying to run a team without having the ear of the governing body and able to get anything he doesn’t like about other teams banned, and I like the way they have moved away from being the team based around getting one driver the title at the expense of his team-mate, to allowing Massa and Alonso to compete hard with each other.

      I peronsally will be glad when Di Montezemolo leaves F1, because he has nothing of value to input and just carps about other teams.

      • Mike said on 9th June 2010, 15:01

        Well said rob, Right now I dislike, in general terms, ferrari, but it has more to do with Luca’s bashing of the small teams than any deep rooted dislike of the team.

        It’s just like Renault, without Big Ugly Flav, I like them!

        • Ferrari are leaving F1 at the end of 2012. Their plans will be laid out in full in January 2011, that is one of the reasons why they have continued with the same line up. Most of the British press will rejoice. Ferrari leaving F1 will be good for them.

          • matt90 said on 9th June 2010, 21:28

            I don’t think so. I don’t particularly like Ferrari, but I am not so bitter as to want them out, and I expect that is how many people who dislike the team feel, including the press. F1 wouldn’t be the same without them, but that doesn’t mean they have to be liked or that nonsense statements from them have to be tolerated. And I do not believe that Ferrari will leave the sport. If they gave up F1 just for endurance racing they would lose many fans, as there wouldn’t be very much coverage of a series of 12 hour race. It would not be good PR, and the drivers probably wouldn’t follow them (loosing more fans).

  6. Prateek727 said on 9th June 2010, 10:11

    1) Shorter Races => Smaller margin of defeat to Red Bull, Mclaren, etc.

    2) Shorter Races => Less opportunities for Ferrari to mess up => More number of TV sets saved!

  7. Omegaz3ro said on 9th June 2010, 10:18

    I guess he wants small teams out because he knows in two years Ferrari will be challenging Lotus-es and HRTs.

    At least without them racing they won’t look so pathetic.

    (By the way, we’re discussing a guy who just only after being in the sport for 30 years choose to drive a car into a sand trap.


    I guess it’s his brain that went to the seaside – fulltime)

  8. Prisoner Monkeys said on 9th June 2010, 10:19

    Luca has always been painted as the man to stand fast again Max Mosley. But now that Mosley is gone, he’s really become quite mad. Ever since this talk of three-car teams emerged, I’ve maintained that Ferrari are feeling vulnerable. They had a bad season last year, and now they’re losing ground to Ferrari. The fact that Alonso spent most of the race being unable to pass a rookie in Turkey is proof enough of it. This talk of three-car teams is little more than an attempt by Ferrari to re-consilidate their power. They loved the period from the mid-1990s until 2008, when there were always two teams at the front. Well, there are two at the front again in 2010 … but one of them isn’t Ferrari, and that’s killing them.

    In the light of Luca’s constant comments about the new teams being a bad joke, I think it’s a good thing that they’re having a rough season. Ferrari really only came good once they’d snared Schumacher; everything before that (the Ivan Capelli years, anyone?) was measured by medicority. I think Ferrari need to spent some time struggling in order to remember where they came from, and recapture some of the Ferrari spark rather than being some kind of monster that only care about winning and believe that Formula 1 is only at its best when they are winning. We’ve heard that kind of Cold War rhetoric before – from Briatore.

    And what does Luca think is going to happen? That the new teams are suddenly going to withdraw because they’re supposedly embarrassing Ferrari?

  9. sumedh said on 9th June 2010, 10:27

    Ferrari were taught to develop their cars through usage of unlimited testing by Michael Schumacher during 1996-2005.

    I have a feeling, they perhaps never perfected their wind tunnel and CFD techniques.

    This is the reason we see Ferrari always bringing in huge developments during the winter and almost nothing during the season.

    They need to start trusting their wind-tunnel more, and not whine about the rules.

  10. MacLeod said on 9th June 2010, 10:37

    Actually i would like to see that the F1 races lasted longer i find 90 minutes way too short for what i have to pay and i get to see in the stands.

    minimum of 2 hour max 3 hours is much beter as the cars are tested on durability and speed.

  11. chaostheory said on 9th June 2010, 10:49

    Shorter races is the number one thing i am scared of. Races are already short; make them even shorter? All this hype, all this week or two weeks of waiting for next race – just to see it end after one hour? What is it? A junior racing series? Stupid.

  12. Dane said on 9th June 2010, 10:53

    I like the idea of more testing, especially for the new drivers.

  13. Sven said on 9th June 2010, 11:12

    This is just Luca trying to divert attention from the fact that Ferrari does not have the technical talent and skill to build a car fast enough to beat Red Bull who by the way are a very new team. If Lotus beats Ferrari in 5 years time, are they still not worthy of a place on the F1 grid in his mind.

  14. Rob said on 9th June 2010, 11:12

    of course, I actually meant ‘personally’

  15. Bartholomew said on 9th June 2010, 11:13

    Anytime Lou gets out of bed in a bad mood there´s a speech.

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