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. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th January 2011, 18:17

    I don’t see why he is so paranoid. Formula 1 will of course remain the pinnacle of motorsport and the best way to relate to people is to give them teams that they can also see on their roads.

  2. Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 28th January 2011, 23:16

    We’ve not even built a ten-cylinder Ferrari

    Someone should really point out to LDM what engines they used in their F1 cars during years that Schumacher won his 5 titles for the team!!

  3. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 29th January 2011, 0:57

    I dunno about the rest of you, but I thought that “The Fool Monte” was a pretty good movie :)

  4. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 29th January 2011, 1:40

    If I remember correctly then it was both FIA & FOTA decisions on cost cutting to reduce amount of testing.If they want to have it back then one thing they can do is that they can test as much as they want in that given 15,000 ( fifteen thousand) KM that is permitted by the FIA.As last year many teams didn’t even crossed the 10,000 KM barrier.

  5. Luca has a point to a certain degree. If the rules were simply for turbos to be reintroduced at 1.5 litres then why limit the engine layout to 4 cylinders? At the start of the old turbo era there were inline 4s, v6s and even an Alfa Romeo V8!

    Eventually everyone settled on a V6 as the best option – Ford, Renault, Ferrari and the dominant Hondas. Similar to what happened when turbos were banned – eventually everyone was using V10s until they were banned too. So why limit the engine layout?

    In terms of F1 being too reliant on aero, again I agree. If the engine rules are being changed to reflect road cars more then why should the chassis rules not also change? In today’s world surely there is more sense in having the massive F1 aero departments develop low drag designs, which have a massive amount of potential crossover to road car design, as opposed to making tons of downforce, which has virtually zero relevance to road cars?

    Who knows, research like that might actually help Toyota build a good looking Prius…

  6. Why have a V6, V8, V10 or whatever, if you can get better fuel economy and just as much power from a straight four?

    There can be no doubt that if fuel efficiency is a factor in the new rules that a straight four would be the ‘no-brainer’ option. Only by forcing everyone to run the same configuration of V engine, instead of a straight four, would a V engine be competitive.

  7. Toro Stevo (@toro-stevo) said on 29th January 2011, 12:46

    I thought most of the limitations in testing were brought about in part because of the insane amount of testing Ferrari was doing during the early 2000s compared to everyone else? Could be wrong though.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th January 2011, 12:49

      All the big teams were doing a lot of testing in the early 2000s, especially during the Michelin-Bridgetone tyre war. But it’s true that Ferrari resisted efforts to limit the amount of testing – partly because they have their own test track on their doorstep so testing is cheaper for them than it is for other teams.

      • Toro Stevo (@toro-stevo) said on 29th January 2011, 14:29

        http://www.fastmachines.com/f1/the-price-of-formula-1/

        This would seem to indicate (for one year anyway) they were spending almost twice at much at testing than Williams, and three times everybody else. And I recall one year’s rumoured budgets putting Ferrari’s overall expenditure at more than double every other team except Toyota.

        Maybe I’m just wary of Ferrari’s claims regarding the dangers of limited testing and budgets. The early 2000s at the height of their spending (relative to other teams, who caught up by 2006) were hardly conducive to good racing.

  8. Well i think he is partially right. All those rules are mainly to level the field so that smaller teams can enter. More teams means more sponsors, more money, more business. The argument that 4 cylinder engine are a technical challenge is flawed. The intention behind it is to standardised as much as possible f1 parts. Electronic is already common, the kers, soon it will be the gearbox, the suspensions, etc… The sport is becoming an entertainment like any Tv show (wouldnt be surprise to see a reality show on lewis love and family life) and not technological laboratory as it should be.
    And look at the lap times of a gp2 car, they are only 6/7 sec slower… Imagine with smaller engines limited to 12000rpm… Pathetic. And finally all this story to limit spendings is a nonsense. Teams spend their cash on ridiculously expensive simulator. In the end, f1 will become like moto2 : same engine, different chassis.

    • “The argument that 4 cylinder engine are a technical challenge is flawed.”

      No it isn’t, otherwise the majority of teams would not have agreed to it. A V6 is no more a technical challenge than a straight four. In fact, it could be argued that a straight four is more technically challenging.

      The sport has to be, first and foremost, entertaining. If it is totally technology driven, it will become too ‘geeky’ and will be of limited appeal.

      The 2013 cars will be no slower than this seasons cars. In fact it may be necessary for the FIA to introduce more performance restrictions.

      • Maksutov said on 29th January 2011, 16:51

        In fact, it could be argued that a straight four is more technically challenging.

        Anything can be argued to be more technically challenging if you spend enough time on it. But if 4’s do become harder to improve in performance, then teams will end up spending more just to find a way.

        The sport has to be, first and foremost, entertaining.

        agree.

        If it is totally technology driven, it will become too ‘geeky’ and will be of limited appeal.

        I think people tend to find technology quite appealing. But what F1 needs is stability in technical rules and regulations. And that has not yet been achieved. In fact, with Todt, it is getting worse. Soon people (the F1 audience and viewers) are going to start scratching their heads wondering, how on earth a particular car got overtaken on track. There will be an overwhelming number of technical gadgets available to drivers now, i.e kers, adjustable wings, block the whole with you hand, one with your foot, the other with your leg… Its going to become harder and harder to keep up with with rules, equipment to determine what is going on out on the track. So if we are talking about technology and appeal, then I would be more worried about that.

        • If I were to choose a configuration that would develop around 650bhp, and give the best fuel consumption, it would be a straight four.

          Smoother than anything with less cylinders, more efficient than anything with more.

          Hence its almost universal application in production cars.

          A straight four also has properties that increase tyre traction over anything that has more cylinders.

      • The fact is that the gap between f1 and the category below isgetting closer. Soon F1 will be a bigger GP2, with standard parts. Not very exciting.
        Anyway i think that criticizing montezemolo is a bit easy considering what he has achieved for the italian car industry. I understand that there might be a bit of jealousy. But after all ferrari hasnt been sold to any germans, qatar, malaysian or indian company, so his vision of the business might not be that wrong. Same for todt actually

  9. Lorenzo C said on 30th January 2011, 22:24

    For a moment, let’s put aside the fact that the current regulations are already pathetic and have “dumbed down” the sport to an almost unfathomable level. Four cylinder turbos with fuel and “whatever else” restrictions completely destroy the brand that is Formula 1. As someone who has followed the sport closely for over 30 years it is sad to see what is happening. Up until recently (with the onset of small V8’s, no testing, budget restrictions, artificial measures to “improve the show”), Formula 1 as a brand has always represented the absolute pinnacle of technology combined with the world’s fastest most gifted drivers doing battle on the greatest race tracks in the world. Fast, exotic, loud, exclusive and (yes) expensive. It is a war of sorts -engineer against engineer, driver against driver, country against country. It is not a spec series nor is it NASCAR!. Formula 1’s role is not to save the planet from itself – fans don’t go see Formula 1 because of its carbon footprint! Sure, there are ways of making more efficient engines but what’s next – “pedal power”?

    When you walk away from the essence of your brand, you lose the differentiating factors that make your business special and attractive. This is why VW didn’t sell many Phaetons or no one is interested in an exotic Lexus when for the same price they can buy a Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini. Formula 1 risks losing its place at the “top of the heap” because the regulators don’t have a clue what the essence of the sport actually is.

    Montezemolo is absolutely right. He has been in the business longer than most, so he actually gets the essence of F1. For most of the sport’s history, Ferrari has been the primary manufacturer to build both its own chassis and engine. It is a racing company that has an exotic road car division. The technology transfer they use between both divisions is the essence of their brand and sorry to say, fuel efficient turbo four cylinders are just not going to hunt when you’re trying to build the ultimate GT car and build the ultimate racing car in the top series of the sport. For those that don’t like Ferrari, it would be foolish to discount their importance to the sport, they have the largest fan base, are the biggest promoters of the sport and have been at it the longest. If they go, F1 is no longer F1 – plain and simple.

    Here is my suggestion. Return to 3 litre displacement – any engine configuration – let the engineer’s figure it out. Open up testing again so technological development and progress can actually happen and for the simple fact that driver’s are paid to drive not sit in simulators. Gas “Kers” – we don’t need “push to pass” – thank you very much. Reintroduce basic specifications to the formula and let the engineers work with those general guidelines to develop the cars. Those teams that get it right will be rewarded by winning more often – what a novel idea! Lift most of the budget constraints – it kills employment and let’s face it Virgin Racing, HRT, Lotus etc are never going to win a race or get a podium finish – or if there are some constraints, leave it to the team to decide how to spend their money (why is there a # of engines rule anyway – shouldn’t the teams decide on what the best way is to spend their money?). Teams that can’t afford F1 should compete in another formula -sorry that’s life! Stop changing the rules every few months – that’s why manufacturers have left the sport – rule instability costs money. With all these changes, we can call the sport F1 once again and be suitably awed by the spectacle of seeing the fastest cars in the world compete at the highest levels. One final thought – do we really need VW in F1?

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