Montezemolo demands “urgent” action on cost-cutting

F1 Fanatic round-up

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2011In the round-up: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says F1 must respond to the global financial crisis.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Montezemolo across the board: “There is a need to do something immediately about costs in Formula 1″

“We cannot lose any more time: we need to tackle urgently and with determination the question of costs. Ferrari is in agreement with the FIA?s position that drastic intervention is required. We are absolutely convinced that, as I have always said, the teams and the commercial rights holder must work together with the Federation on this front. This is no longer the moment for getting bogged down in sterile discussions or the meanderings of engineers, usually only concerned in defending the interests of someone or other: the question has to be tackled at the highest level, without further delay”

Engine dispute threatens F1 schism (BBC)

“The new engines are being pushed strongly by governing body the FIA and have the support of the key manufacturers in Formula 1. But there are fears they will be much more expensive than the current 2.4-litre V8s and that the teams – the engine manufacturers’ customers to a large degree – will not be able to afford them.”

Pirelli to test new hard compound tyre (Autosport)

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery: “There is a big point to make that if we make a change, particularly with the way the championship has been played this year so close, we don’t want to risk creating an advantage for a particular team. So if you imagine, suddenly, for races 10, 11 and 12 one team starts running away, then we’re going to come under all the criticism.”

Dennis remarks all part of the McLaren game (The Telegraph)

“[Lewis Hamilton] has been a different beast altogether in 2012; calm, patient, pleasant to be around, and practically faultless on the track. Which made McLaren chairman Ron Dennis?s comments regarding the driver?s future all the more intriguing. ‘He?s going to look at [where he can go], we?re going to look at who?s available,’ he said.”

Bruno Senna wins the 2012 Lorenzo Bandini trophy (Williams)

“Established in 1992, The Lorenzo Bandini Trophy is a prize awarded in memory of Italian race car driver Lorenzo Bandini by his hometown of Brisighella, near Imola. Bruno is the 19th recipient of this prestigious award, with past winners including former Williams F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, current Williams F1 driver mentor Alex Wurz, and past World Champions Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.”

McLaren rally round Button (Sky)

Martin Whitmarsh: “Jenson is a great racing driver, but we served him badly over the weekend. His rear tyres were completely shot because we didn’t long-run with his suspension set-up on Friday. That was our fault. We didn’t give him a car he could perform in.”

For One Day, Formula One Parks at the Crossroads of the World (New York Times)

“Short of strumming a guitar in one?s underwear, there are few fail-proof ways to compel passers-by to stop and gawk in Times Square. Formula One, the international open-wheel racing series, gave it a shot Monday, bringing a white and gray racecar from the Sauber team to promote coming races in the United States.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“Charlie Whiting has visited the Circuit of the Americas, praised their progress so far, and is planning to return in late August.”

What happened in Montreal and new upgrades for Valencia 2012 (Caterham via YouTube)

Comment of the day

A view on whether the racing has improved this year from Patrickl:

I haven?t seen much of the races this season. Not too interested in F1 since the tyre lottery was introduced. This was the first race I watched the whole race. I’m really glad I did, because this looked like the racing I loved from before. Perhaps it would have been better if Alonso and Vettel actually had gone on the same strategy as Hamilton, but in this case even some tyre based “entertainment” was exciting in its own way.

Personally I liked the “boring” bit before that better. The suspense of how the race will unfold with the top 3 continuously that close to each other interests me a whole lot more than all the fake ??overtaking?? that has been introduced.

From the forum

Will Wood taking over the round-ups

Will Wood will take over writing the round-up ups for the next week as I need to put some of my time into other areas of work.

Will previously wrote for F1 Fanatic during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Scunnyman!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Riccardo Paletti lost his life during the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix.

That sad day in F1 history will be the subject of an article here later today.

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132 comments on Montezemolo demands “urgent” action on cost-cutting

  1. Mooph (@mooph) said on 13th June 2012, 9:53

    I thought part of the new engines would be that other formula’s and racing series would be able to take the base engine re-tune it to a new rev limit / fuel flow rate, add a lower / different Turbo and remove KERS/ERS or adjust accordingly thus allowing engine manufactures to sell to more series and spread their costs reducing every series and racing costs,
    Would also make progression through the lower formula a bit better as they would experience a similar engine (though lower powered) and make them a bit more relevant as a learning for both teams, drivers and suppliers, thus people like Lotus / Caterham who have lower formula teams may find some synergies in their teams, it could make other F1 teams look at the lower formulas as a proper learning area / test bed and invest themselves.

    • Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 13th June 2012, 10:18

      I know that’s kind of the way NASCAR does it here in the states. The Cup, Nationwide & Truck Series all use the same engine just de-tuned a bit for the Nationwide & a bit more the the Truck series. Not only does it help with costs for the builder/suppliers but lower budget Nationwide & Truck teams can buy used Cup engines and tune them for their series.

      If I remember reading something correctly the other week aren’t these new F1 engines supposed to be pretty close to the engine specs that Indycar has adopted for this season & I think Le Mans is looking at adopting within a few years too.

      • Mooph (@mooph) said on 13th June 2012, 12:21

        i recall something about Le Mans looking at this as an option and again this is exactly what Cosworth and the likes shoudl be looking at to make this as viable as possible for them,

        I will confess my ignorance of the American Truck racing series, but i had not considered the second hand market, though i am not sure about ownership of the actual engines by the F1 teams, i thought they all ended up back with manufacturer.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2012, 15:31

          yes, @mooph it was announced a week ago, or something, that these engines would be allowed to be used from 2013 onwards (so they could be used in endurance even as a testbed for F1)

  2. Dizzy said on 13th June 2012, 11:05

    There’s always some complaints when a new engine formula comes in, Then after the 1st season they die down.

    I remember when we went to the current V8 formula in 2006 there were grumblings through 2005 about high cost’s Etc…. yet by the end of the year & into 2007 & beyond that all died down.
    Initial development cost’s are always going to be higher, However once manufacturing gets optimised & initial development/testing ends the cost’s always come down.

    I for one am looking forward to the new formula, Will be nice to see a change & perhaps a change in the order. Mercedes are said to have the most powerfull V8 but its possible someone else will build a better V6 Turbo. Indycar have a similar engine formula for this year & I think they sound great & look fun to drive.

    We have had the current V8’s since 2006 & everyone has a decent handle on them, Will be great to see new engine’s come in which have new challenges.

  3. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 13th June 2012, 12:16

    Regarding the COTD, I think he seems more interested in Formula 1 as a show rather than being passionate about the sport itself. Otherwise it’s not possible for a true fan to leave Formula 1 just because it has the “fake” overtaking moves.

    • Dizzy said on 13th June 2012, 13:39

      Otherwise it’s not possible for a true fan to leave Formula 1 just because it has the “fake” overtaking moves.

      Not necisarily true.

      If you watch Formula 1 to see good racing & real overtaking, Truly exciting overtaking & you don’t find the current formula to be producing that excitement then why would you continue watching?

      In the DRS/Pirelli era I’ve found myself turning off the TV more than once after having to sit through a couple easy & boring DRS passes. Thats not the sort of racing/passing that intrest’s me & when I see a lot of it I simply stop watching.

      I’ve been a fan of Formula 1 for about 40 years, Have attended several hundred Races (F1 & other events), I love this sport & am passionate about this sport.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2012, 13:55

        I don’t like the term ‘true fan’ but I do think that F1 should have some more support from long-time fans with regards to the current formula. I tune in to a race for a million and one reasons. If I just tuned in for the on-track action and over-taking I’d probably be pretty vexed at times, however, rough with the smooth!

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 13th June 2012, 18:04

      It’s exactly the opposite. I didn’t like the sport being turned into a show. Granted some random elements can make things more “entertaining”, but I don’t like it.

      Just can’t help it but I found the races were boring to watch. No matter how many cars drove past each other.

      Probably I’m weird because I’ve had races where i was on the edge of my seat all race and then other people complained it was boring because there was no overtaking. I remember a race where Button and Barrichello (driving for BrawnGP) were on a different strategy. Loved that race even though they didn’t actually overtake each other on track.

      Admittedly I often had other things to do with my kid growing up and going to sports on the weekends too. So I often just couldn’t watch the races (or just a part of it).

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2012, 13:38

    Crikey, these old guys are starting to lose it!

    So Montezemolo wants to save on costs but is happy to go for further testing and would like the idea of a third car?

    Ecclestone vehemently trying to get rid of the new engines as well? Sure, he may be sticking up for the little guy in all this but times move on, deal with it. I for one am really looking forward to the new engines, some new challenges and a massive shake-up for the grid as a whole. I do expect the costs will be quite high but I also expect they will come down in time. As Lowdon says, it’s a cash flow issue more than anything so that’s what needs to be addresses, no ditching the engines because they’re too expensive.

  5. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 13th June 2012, 13:54

    My thoughts on cost-cutting: How about more standardized parts? Performance recently is generally limited to aero, engine and suspension. So non-critical, non-visible parts such as fuel-tanks, radiators, engine ancilliaries etc could be standardized to cut costs with minimal effect on any deserved advantage gleaned from pure hard-work and innovation. Sharing technology through open-source concordes would also be beneficial, such pitwall tech, telemetry-gathering equipment and so on. The problem with cutting costs is that whilst it makes smaller teams more viable, the larger teams that already have a (relative) surfeit of cash can spend more money on their already well-developed cars, thus widening the performance differential from one end of the grid to the other. Some very clever rule making would be required here (mandatory minimum drag co-ef anyone?). Small teams at the back running four, five or six seconds off the pace don’t generate sponsorship, however low the costs may be.

    And on engine changes: MotoGP has had problems in this area, with the development of new engines that were reliable (to meet rules regarding number of engines allowed for the year) has cost as much as, if not more than, the cost of manufacturing many engines of lower longevity. Development costs outweigh manufacturing costs, it seems (ironic given the reason these rules were introduced). Perhaps allowing more engines, lower penalties (or none) for engine changes in the first years turbo engines are adopted might help lower costs until manufacturers have a handle on them.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to turbos. I like the idea of a mid-field team turning the wick up on them for a glory run in quali, then bunching everyone up behind them in the race. Or turning the boost up to pass someone, but running low on fuel later on and being caught. It could even mean the end of DRS…

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2012, 14:02

      @splittimes Nah, the appeal for F1 is that it is a true non-spec series. Only a few parts like the engine, ECU, cameras are controlled. Things like fuel tanks, radiators all have impacts on performance and in particular aero. One of the reasons why RBR use the Renault engine is that it is compact and allows for better flexibility with aero packaging, hence their success. That’s just one example.

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 14:32

      I call heresy ;-) For me, F1 is 50% about the engineering. “… a car of your own design and build” etc. Even the standard ECU makes me cringe. The more standard parts there are, the less possible it will be to innovate. I would bet $100 that Mercedes GP had to make some radiator changes in order for that Blown Fron Wing/DRS to work.

      To quote an old addage, “How do you make a small fortune in F1? Start with a big one.”
      F1 Racing is expensive. If one doesnt like it, or cant afford, go find another venue. That said, I understand the wisdom of avoiding a spending war.

    • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 13th June 2012, 15:02

      @javlinsharp @AndrewTanner
      Fair enough. I understand that everything has an impact (fuel tank : centre of gravity, packaging etc). I agree that the sport should be the pinnacle of technological achievement. But I don’t think designing a really nice throttle pedal, or seatbelt mounting point, or driveshaft boot is the pinnacle of technology. The teams don’t manufactur their own spark plugs, or HT leads. There must be other things which make less than 1% difference to the performance of the car. If Mercedes weren’t allowed to modify a radiator, I’m sure they wouldn’t have scrapped the idea. They would have re-innovated. The quality of the technology, for me, is defined not by its uniqueness, but by the creativity and wit involved in its implementation.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2012, 15:33

        Actually the example of the radiators is not the best one @splittimes, as each engine has a different cooling need and there’s a really big influence from radiators to aero-configuration (just think about McLaren’s U shaped sidepods last year).

        But I get the ghist of your comment, and I am pretty sure it would not really have to be hard to find a load of components that could be standardised really to save cost.

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 16:33

          In defense of @splittimes, and since we are engaging in uber-specific hairsplitting…
          The engines are all the same spec. They generate the same HP, and would have the same cooling requirements. In a world of standard radiator, the only real design question is “what bodywork would be needed to funnel sufficient air to the enable suffienct cooling?”

          That said, I think it is very dangerous to start limiting what components can be modified and what are standard. We cannot foresee what changes any new innovations may require. Such behavior borders dangerously on “Spec Series”. The second F1 becomes Spec racing is the very same second I will stop caring about it.

          • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 14th June 2012, 1:03

            The engines are all the same spec.

            The second F1 becomes Spec racing is the very same second I will stop caring about it.

            When I started watching F1 there were almost as many different types of engines as there were teams, from 1.5L V8 Turbo’s to 3L V12’s and several other configurations in between, and many of the current regulations make F1 appear very “spec” already.

      • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 16:11

        You make a good point. Innovation is still innovation even when it is constrained by external factors; this is indeed the type of innovation we have today.

        Please excuse my knee-jerk reaction to despise all things regulatory in F1. If I had the power, F1 would still allow 6 wheeled Tirrells, huge Turbo’s and SideSkirts. But what do I really know – Arm-chair F1 engineering is a lot easier than the real thing, all one really has to do is complain ;-)

        • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 13th June 2012, 18:13

          I’m with you on six-wheelers! That’s the real thing to me. The satisfaction an engineer must feel from coming up with an idea like that, or the Lotus double-chassis, must be a million times what they get from designing an aerodynamic wheelnut.

          I think my fear is that such an innovation would be out of reach for all but one or two teams. I know what you mean though about spec racing versus real prototypes though. I love the ethos of the DeltaWing at Le Mans. And anyway, we’re not complaining: we’re suggesting contructive debate!

          • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 21:02

            I was not implying that anyone other than myself was complaining, apologies if that was unclear, I do enjoy lively debate.

            As far as the costs go. I agree, there are probably tons of things built/designed/executed by the teams that cost lots of money but dont really do anything, and you had mentioned some of those things previously.

            IMHO, the spending wars of the past are not good for the sport, but we cannot deny that F1 is very expensive. The reason behind Spec series (as I understand it) is to place more emphasis on the Drivers, by putting them all in the same car. Since this is against the spirit of F1, there are only 2 other ways I can see. The bit by bit restricion of parts (Radiators, ECUs, Tires, Engines rations, Gearbox rations) OR to level the field in the area of spending, ie. and auditable Spending Cap.
            Let the older teams retain the benefits of their hard won knowledge and experience, but still give the new teams a chance. At the same time, remove all these stupid rules against “Holes in the bottom right portion infront of the rear wheel” or the Super Diffuser, or what have you.

            When I think of F1, I think of this… Take your money, your intelligence, you manufacturing capability, and put it up AGAINST THE ENTIRE OF PLANET EARTH. In my opinion the WCC IS THE best machine(of any type) created by mankind in that year, and the WDC is the best driver of that same year.

            Restriction stifles and cheapens that proposition.

          • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 13th June 2012, 21:26

            @javlinsharp I like that last statement.

            I’ve just remembered the last time they talked about introducing the budget cap, was their a clause that working to a lower budget allowed greater freedom of design? I like the idea of that: it serves to make the sport easier for young teams, would hopefully close the field, and still allow creativity. The downside, I guess, would be engineers would be less enthusiastic about taking a risk on creative technology, given that they limited resources to develop it (at the expense of some other area of the car). How do you feel about that one?

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 13th June 2012, 19:43

        @splittimes @BasCB @javlinsharp You could indeed get away with standardising many components as far as F1 is concerned. However, as mentioned regarding engines recently the manufactures in particular have road car obligations to meet. Every manufacturers wants to shed weight and promote a fuel light car so using F1 as a testing ground is invaluable. No other sport is as relevant to technology. It’s both fascinating and frustrating for F1.

        • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 21:24

          I think F1 has done alot in the way of “testbed” both in the distant and recent past.
          Hybrid electric/gas systems are in play and im sure sending huge data to consumer manufacturers. Williams even developed that Flywheel system that seemed pretty neat.

          However, it is safe to say that there are no REAL consumer manufactures in F1 anymore.
          Ferrari – I would not exactly call their products “consumer grade”
          Mercedes – Still a high end brand, and they dont really NEED F1 as a testbed, more for the prestige. LeMan, DTM, or MANY other series would serve the same purpose at much lower cost.
          Mclaren – I guess, they do produce a few consumer cars every few decades or so…
          Lotus – Maybe have a case there…

          RBR, Caterham, Force India, Marussia, Williams, HRT, ToroRosso, (ie, the vast majority) dont make consumer vehicles, and therefore, dont add improvements in the spectrum of consumer vehicles.

          Similarly, no teams are freely sharing their information with the public or anyone else outside their parent organization.

          The story might have been different when Honda, Toyota and BMW were in the game, but at this point, it can be said that the Consumer impact of F1 is probably at the low-water mark.

  6. javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 13th June 2012, 14:26

    As far as cost cutting goes…
    Please remind me again why there cant just be a spending cap, and full finacial auditing?
    It works for nearly every sport in the US.

    In my perfect world, the only Engineering rules in F1 are Safety rules, all the other bunk is stripped.
    The Spending madness would be restrained by use of a cap, and independant auditer.

  7. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2012, 17:51

    After having had Vettel battle to get a word in with Letterman, here is Hamilton talking about racing on TV for Sports Centre (ESPN)

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 13th June 2012, 17:59

    not everyday we have an F1 driver advertising jobs:
    on twitter by Timo Glock (‏@realTimoGlock):

    Do you live in the UK, love F1 and have a talent for social media? If so check this out #SMDriver

    Grab your chances everyone!

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