Montezemolo urges rethink on testing and engine rules

2011 F1 season

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari F150 launch, 2011

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari F150 launch, 2011

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo admitted he is unhappy with the planned engine rules for 2013 and has lobbied FIA president Jean Todt to abandon the planned switch to four-cylinder engines.

Speaking at the launch of the Ferrari F150 di Montezemolo said:

Yes, that?s true. I spoke to Todt and I?m glad the there is a different climate of dialogue than in the past. We?re engaged in technological challenges such as the FF: a four-cylinder Ferrari seems absurd to me. We?ve not even built a ten-cylinder Ferrari and I?m still thinking that a six-cylinder would have been more in line with the Formula 1 positioning on the market.
Luca di Montezemolo

He re-stated his objection to the restrictions on in-season testing and said that F1 should not be solely about aerodynamics:

I think that we have to concentrate on three fundamental points: first, Formula 1 is based in an excessive way on aerodynamics, which is the point, which makes the difference. In the 1970s it was more about the engine and mechanics, now it?s all about aerodynamics.

Second, it?s about the tests: a sport on such a level can?t continue with such an absurd limitation regarding testing, in terms of development and in terms of safety, for our new drivers, who have to involved and have to be able to test.

Last but not least the technology transfer. Formula 1 has to be more and more also a laboratory, a centre of advanced research for innovative technologies for tomorrow?s cars. The KERS is very important in this context and Ferrari as a manufacturer had and has extraordinary support in Formula 1. Just think about the F1 gearbox, modified chassis, electronics, flat underbody and many more in the road cars.

It?s mainly about expenses and the permanence in Formula 1. Formula 1 will always have high and strong investment. Who can?t make these investments will race in other series. Limited expenses are easily to avoid, we have to continue on the right track reducing costs, while the real DNA of F1 doesn?t change.

But if we?re heading towards an equalisation towards the bottom of performance, then this is not good and the engines can?t be the same for all. Naturally costs are fundamental, but without loosing the sports essence. With serenity and dialogue you can improve a Formula, which already today is really extraordinary.
Luca di Montezemolo

Ferrari 2011 F1 car launch

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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63 comments on Montezemolo urges rethink on testing and engine rules

  1. Hallard said on 28th January 2011, 15:42

    Did Luca Di Montezemolo just speak of the importance of “serenity and dialogue”?


  2. Shomir said on 28th January 2011, 15:54

    Well i still do feel that they should not have TOTALLY taken out in-season testing. But then again no one would be able to monitor how much testing the teams have really done… so it was either testing or no testing.

    Not sure about the engines, as long as they sound different(i started watching f1 in 2009) i would like it.

  3. Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 28th January 2011, 15:57

    Shock horror! Luca DiM thinks that F1 should be “like a laboratory” except for engines because he doesn’t want to have Ferrari making a four-cyclinder car, as it will make them seem like they exist on the same planet as all the ‘common’ manufacturers.

    Change the record, please!

    Luckily we seem to have people in power at the FIA who don’t agree that F1 exists solely for the benefit of Ferrari’s road car division…

    Wait, did Luca just suggest that there is now a better climate of dialogue? Better than when Ferrari were effectively allowed to veto any rules they didn’t like?!?

    I can imagine that Stefano is longing for the day Luca gets bored and stops embarassing the team in public.

    • Daniel said on 28th January 2011, 22:25

      Usually, I’m on board with everyone who points out Montomezolo’s stupid statements, but here he actually makes some sense, and hardly any of you have noticed.

      Yeah, I think turbo 4 cylinder engines are good, as they have more road relevance for the future. Otherwise, I’m inclined to agree with Montomezolo here.

      F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. It is supposed to be a development category, and it is supposed to facilitate technology transfer to road cars.

      If you can’t test, you’re development is slowed. Why not give the teams x in-season testing days a year to be used when and how they like? So long as x is small, costs won’t balloon. A testing day isn’t much more expensive than a media day, and we see a few of those. Testing costs Ferrari very little anyway, because they own testing tracks. Others could have made that investment in the past and didn’t – don’t blame Ferrari.

      Aerodynamics has the least relevance to road cars of any of the technologies in F1. I agree with Montomezolo that the strictness of the rules do not allow enough experimentation in other areas. This is what he means by F1 being a Laboratory.

      I’m more and more inclined to watch LeMans cars these days. They are closer to what F1 used to be. Motor Racing as a sport began as a way to see whose car was best, not who was the best driver – that is motor racing. If you want to find the best driver go watch a one make series, but I want to see advancement and progression. I want to see new developments, and regulations designed only to produce close racing at reduced costs don’t allow for that.

    • Oliver said on 29th January 2011, 4:46

      Why not allow the teams to spend their money the way they want to.
      If you have resource restriction, then allow a team to spend more in areas they feel they want to prioritise.
      Just because HRT can’t do much testing doesn’t mean all teams have to come down to that level.
      If they teams are not allowed to exceed a certain budget, then its for the teams to decide how they want to allocate their resources.

  4. Dutch_Alex said on 28th January 2011, 16:04

    There found out F1 is all about aerodynamics already! It has been like that for the last 10 years at least with the FIA dictating exactly what kind of engine a car must have. And also it is not going to change in 2013 with new regulations. I wish they would make a horsepower limit, and little to no limitations on how to get to that limit. Ferrari could have its V12, maybe tied with a KERS system. Renault and maybe other car manufacturers (Honda, Toyota) might be interested in building a small turbocharged 4 cylinder because it’s what they have in most of their road cars. Heck maybe someone wants to build the first all electric F1 car. Plus it would be a major step away from the spec series that F1 is turning in to.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th January 2011, 16:12

    saying: “a 4 cylinders Ferrari would be absurd” is one of the worst arguments EVER!.

    there should be a valid reason why 4 cylinder engines are not a good idea if you want to argue about it. But there isn’t.

    In the early 90’s Ferrari kept the V12 against the V10s and they lost badly!. More isn’t always the best.

    • Spaulding (@spaulding) said on 28th January 2011, 18:49

      His point is that he (Ferrari) want to be able to race engines that they can develop for the street. If a company doesn’t have an interest in a 4 cyl. and only mild interest in 6-cyl. engines, then it would make more sense to open up the formula to other engine types if they want the research to be road relavent, which is what F1 claims is important.

      • dyslexicbunny (@dyslexicbunny) said on 28th January 2011, 21:12

        I actually would think it interesting to develop different requirements for 4, 6, and 8 cyl engines and then let manufacturers select from the engine types to decide what they want to produce.

        At least at a performance level I it would be something to see. Unfortunately, I don’t have a feel for the numbers on aircraft engines.

        • Daniel said on 28th January 2011, 22:29

          I would favour a rule that said you have x amount of fuel for the race. No fuel stops. The amount of fuel will be reduced slowly thoughtout the season at particular points by y amount. Develop whatever engine you want to use that fuel.

    • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 29th January 2011, 0:11

      Sounded amazing though!

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 29th January 2011, 9:42

      I happen to think that 4-cylinder engines *are* a mistake – V4s sound interesting, but they don’t sound awesome. I’d much prefer a V6.

      Incidentally, if a four-cylinder Ferrari is absurd, then…

  6. TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 28th January 2011, 16:14

    Is this all Montezemolo talks about?

  7. we do need more testing though, it does look rather silly that a sport as big as F1 cant test there cars or train there drivers.

    • BasCB said on 28th January 2011, 16:40

      Or possibly at least the option of having some days of pre season testing postponed to one or two periods during the season to allow teams to cach up if they get cought out in development.

      Or just let them test but exchange testing days for x hours/days of windtunnel use or a certain amount of CFD, or exchange a track test for 3 days of simulator time or something. That way the teams can choose to do some testing instead of something else, so it is still limited to balance spending.

    • SeattleChris said on 29th January 2011, 20:56

      I think that everyone can agree to resource restrictions, but I’m with anyone who agrees the number 1 motorsport should be able to drive their cars on their own tracks if they can. HRT and Virgin are in need of test time and if they can build a relationship with a a track or a team with a track I say Let Them! Ferrari love to test, so maybe a buddy system? Whatever the situation, these cars need more pre-season testing with all the new equipment that goes on EVERY year and for the new young drivers; I also find it ridiculous that they can’t organize a cheap option to test once the teams get back to Europe, or even stay an extra day to test at the race track they are already at (the logistics savings alone would make this the cheapest option).

  8. Jarv027 said on 28th January 2011, 16:25

    Same old Luca

  9. I can hear the whirring of brains beginning at the McLaren Innovation Centre, coming up with a punchy little 4 cylinder turbo’d lump to put in the back of their MP4-28.

    Cosworth will be up for it too, we know they can do small turbocharged engines, plus the pletheora of other car companies looking at 2013 as their time to jump into the sport.

    All Ferrari have is an old shouty complainy-pants.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th January 2011, 18:59

      Ferrari have the whingeing, but eventually, like a child refusing to eat their veggies until told it’ll make them big and strong, will do a good job of it and produce something nice and competitive :)

  10. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 28th January 2011, 16:26

    Nothing on running a third car?

    • BasCB said on 28th January 2011, 16:41

      Nah, he is saving that rant for after Lotus, Virgin and HRT field their cars. Then he can show up in Bahrain for the GP and tell the world how much better it would be to have more Ferrari’s instead of these teams.

  11. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 28th January 2011, 16:31

    We all mock and laugh at LDM, but to be honest, I agree with many of his points. Formula 1 is the Pinnacle Of Motorsport but a 4 cylinder engine is not the Pinnacle of Technology and surely that is what Formula 1 is all about?

    I am all for cutting costs and attracting new manufacturers, but I think we need to keep the “old manufacturer” (Ferrari) happy too, after all, how different would Formula 1 be without them? I think it would be much worse off.

    Also, why don’t they add a summer break, of 6 weeks, where testing and driver changes take place? Obviously this would extend the season, but actually there is a month long break slap bang in the middle, so lose a race (Turkey, Valencia, Australia and China are all in danger of being this race) and hold two 3 day sessions to help teams try new things, catch up on development, or change they’re drivers!

    They always talk about improving the show, and I for one believe a turbo boosted 4 cylinder engine is not part of the Formula 1 show.

    • how different would Formula 1 be without them

      There would be one fewer team on the grid until another team took the space up, Sauber and Toro Rosso would have to find a new engine supplier, 60 million Italians in red shirts would stop watching, and there might not be any need for Monza any more. Casual fans wo occasionally turn up with a Ferrari flag would either look confused and go watch something else (big deal) or stay and support another team or the sport in general.

      Other than that, I think F1 would cope just fine.

      • Snobeck said on 28th January 2011, 18:20

        So what is the pinnacle of technology? The world is moving towards smaller, more efficient engines. What greater challenege than making a poweplant even smaller, even lighter, but with the same power as a V8, V10, or V12 powerplant… reliabily. Staying with larger engines to make large amounts of power is not the pinnacle, it’s rather old world. Some people probably think the Veyron engine is some sort of technoligical revolution… anyone can make 1000hp from 8 liters, 16 cylinders, and 4 turbos!

      • IceMan said on 31st January 2011, 10:33

        There would be one fewer team on the grid until another team took the space up, Sauber and Toro Rosso would have to find a new engine supplier, 60 million Italians in red shirts would stop watching, and there might not be any need for Monza any more. Casual fans wo occasionally turn up with a Ferrari flag would either look confused and go watch something else (big deal) or stay and support another team or the sport in general.

        Like to add one more point.McLaren will have to look for some other team to steal the specifications.Oh come on dude. Stop joking. Face the fact, there won’t be f1 without Ferrari.

    • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 28th January 2011, 16:41

      Formula One would easily survive without Ferrari, the other big names would keep it going.

      As much as Ferrari want to get out, others want to get in the soon-to-be Porsche-Volks group are largely believed to be interested after budget reductions.

      Budgets that were too high is what killed off CART and made IRL popular.

    • BasCB said on 28th January 2011, 16:45

      You are right, 4 cylinder engines are not the pinnacle of technology.
      That would mean directly going for a 2 or 3 cylinder 1.2 engine with full hybrid driven front wheels etc.
      But I suppose that is not what you mean? In NASCAR they have big NA engines, is it better? And certainly not the pinnacle of technology, doing the same for another 10 or 20 years.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 28th January 2011, 16:48

      The pinnacle of technology argument in terms of engine size and power doesn’t, I believe, stand up any more. Engine technology has progressed so far beyond what could be reasonably called safe if left unrestricted that it would be impossible to run a series which was structured around that philosophy.

      Take the Bugatti Veyron – a W16 quad-turbo engine producing in excess of 1,000bhp. A Ferrari naturally aspirated V12 doesn’t come close to being the pinnacle anymore.

      If an F1 team had theoretically unlimited budget and could produce whatever engine they could imagine it would exceed the Veyron’s and coupled with cars weighing half a ton the safety implications of the cars’ performance would be immense.

      Forget the most dull tracks Tilke has produced; ones that could race with cars at this pinnacle of technology would be giant airports of flat land to reduce the danger to drivers and spectators.

      If manufacturers can produce 4 cylinder turbos that lose little in performance compared to the old V10s then I would call that the pinnacle of technology! Imagine having one of them in your Ford Focus…

      • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 28th January 2011, 16:51

        Yes like power boat racing which is rubbish to watch, on TV and non-existant as a spectator.

      • Guilherme (@the_philosopher) said on 28th January 2011, 17:31

        If manufacturers can produce 4 cylinder turbos that lose little in performance compared to the old V10s then I would call that the pinnacle of technology!

        I agree wholeheartedly! Those V8 we have today are almost the same as the V10’s of yore, so I don’t really see how the current engine formula, or any formula based on what we have today, can still be considered as the “pinnacle of technology”. If the teams were pushing for the pinnacle of technology we would have way more powerful KERS units, different fuels and probably a whole different engine configuration altogether.

        I say bring on the Straight-4!

        • sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 28th January 2011, 17:59

          I mean Formula 1 without Ferrari ever being in it, no Scuderia, no scarlet cars in the 60 years history, Formula 1 would have been worse off without that. Take Ferrari out of Formula 1 now, and the only true manufacturer is Mercedes, and in my eyes that is a sad way for Formula 1 to be.

          And no, I don’t think a straight 4 engine is the pinnacle of technology, else all the fastest, most desirable cars in the world would have them, and they clearly don’t. I am all for more energy efficient engines and lower costs, but Formula 1 must keep certain things to keep it fascinating for us to watch. Someone above mentioned an all electric formula 1 car, words cannot describe how depressing that sounds (not to mention there would be a distinct lack of sound too)

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th January 2011, 18:15

            For most of F1’s history Ferrari have been just another team. Apart from the Schumacher dominance, there’s nothing different at all about them in fact, just that they’ve had the fortune to stick around longer. They were just another private entry at the beginning, with some success and popped up every now and again to win races and championships. It’s only in the past 14 years or so that Ferrari have been regularly at the front, thanks in a large part to a certain Mercedes driver building the team around him.

          • Dobin1000 said on 28th January 2011, 18:18

            The reason other cars have larger engines is because of the expense and technology required to get equivalent performance out a smaller engine. Why would anyone multiply their development costs just to have a smaller engine with the same power? But of course if F1 goes that way the tech will be there for manufacturers to do exactly that.

            Is F1 20% worse since reducing from V10s to V8s?

            I am more interested in the racing than knowing what size engine is in the car. British Touring Cars produce great racing with 2l 4-cylinder engines.

            And if the sound is that important there are already devices developed for electric cars which generate an engine noise.

    • judo chop (@judo-chop) said on 28th January 2011, 18:46

      A 4 cylinder turbo was the “Pinnacle” 28 years ago.

  12. GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 28th January 2011, 16:33

    Agreed its a poor argument, especially as it’s based around the fact that Ferrari should be special. Well funnily enough they are not, especially as there Mercedes (high-end via AMG) and Marussia, Lotus and McLaren (one car so far but ramping the road car division, see building works every day).

    As its going technologically impressive to see a 4 cylinder with 700-odd HP.

    I think the move to 4 cylinders is great, I don’t care what they sound like because its a technical challenge.

  13. Ned Flanders said on 28th January 2011, 17:02

    Instead of moaning about how engines are getting less powerful, why doesn’t Ferrari just accept that the times are a changing and start producing more fuel efficient engines for their road cars?

  14. Icthyes said on 28th January 2011, 17:25

    It’s a sad spectacle to see such a proud and historic team quake in its boots at the thought of a new challenge that will genuinely level the playing field.

    • US_Peter said on 28th January 2011, 19:36

      I think that’s the real root of his complaints isn’t it? The 3rd car as well. He’d rather have more of his own team out there than increased competition. Monte’s getting old now and would appreciate if everyone could make his life easier by bowing down to Ferrari and letting them win every race as they rightfully should. If any other teams are reading this, please comply for Monte’s sake. ;-)

  15. Mack41 (@mack41) said on 28th January 2011, 18:09

    I like the idea of smaller, lighter engines, but wholeheartedly agree that the reliance on aero is too much. The reason theres so little overtaking and close racing is due to the move to ridiculous aerodynamics that have little real world technological application. If F1 is to remain the pinnacle of technology then move away from aero to not only increase close racing organically, but to further develop mechanics that can be implemented into road going cars since aero bits that work at 140mph have zero real world technological use.

    • SeattleChris said on 29th January 2011, 21:09

      In Germany, many drivers were blowing by me when I was doing about 110mph in my little rental. I would say that 140mph does have real world use. What is useless are American drivers and the police/municipalities that still think 25mph is all cars can handle! Oh wait, they just want to ticket people to keep their jobs

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