FIA ‘lacked courage’ on Mercedes test – Montezemolo

2013 F1 season

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, 2012Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo accused the FIA of damaging F1’s credibility by treating Mercedes too leniently after discovering they had conducted an illegal test.

In an interview for Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra also published on Ferrari’s website Montezemolo said he was pleased to see a limited reintroduction of in-season testing had been agreed for 2014:

“We will finally have testing again and not a farce like what we saw this year with one team doing illegal testing without even paying the right penalty for it. In this case, I would have expected more clarity and courage from the FIA.”

Montezemolo claimed Mercedes’ form since the test, which took place before the Monaco Grand Prix, showed they had benefitted from the three days spent at the Circuit de Catalunya:

“The benefits gained by the team that carried out the secret banned testing are watched by everyone: before then, it had not won a single grand prix, then after the test it won three out of five races. These are the sort of serious incidents that affect F1?s credibility and alter the championship.”

“Formula One… has to be a clean sport without any of the monkey business we have had to put up with in recent years,” he added.

Bernie Ecclestone should have also spoken out against Mercedes’ said Montezemolo: “I don?t want to have discussions with Ecclestone, I have had some in the recent past, because he was too talkative on the subject of Ferrari, but surprisingly silent on the subject of the illegal tests carried out by Mercedes.”

Montezemolo is looking forward to a “completely different F1, finally less dependent on aerodynamics”, in 2014. “I build cars not planes,” he said.

He believes Red Bull have thrived in recent years because most of the performance gains to be found under the current regulations come from aerodynamics:

“With the current regulations favouring aerodynamics, Red Bull was clever in getting a great designer, Adrian Newey, to get the most out of all aspects of the regulations.

“I will digress: this aspect of the rules is, in my opinion, a mistake and therefore needs changing. Luckily, the hoped for changes are coming.

“We don?t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order. We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world.”

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72 comments on FIA ‘lacked courage’ on Mercedes test – Montezemolo

  1. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 4th August 2013, 0:49

    ‘“We don’t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order.’

    …But you’re still being beaten by them?

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 4th August 2013, 1:09

      @electrolite it’s a pathetic excuse: they are as professional a racing team as any and have definitely been the ones to beat over the past nearly 4 years now. So resorting to referring to them as a “drinks company” is just evading the fact that they’re whipping the prancing horse, who are supposedly a “car company”.

  2. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 4th August 2013, 1:26

    Di Monezemolo damages F1’s credibility.

  3. arki19 said on 4th August 2013, 4:22

    I think what he was getting at with the ‘we don’t make drinks’ thing is that it is perhaps harder to be all that passionate about teams with such little history in motorsport. Yes, I know RB has been sponsorting events for, what, ten years(?) but how could that ever compare to companies like Mercedes and Ferarri who have been involved since F1 began. I think it is a great pity for sport of F1 that more car manufacturers are not involved – it would make it more appealing to fans.
    I sure hope the new regs in 2014 mean engines have a greater role in determining the fastest car. While I would not denigrate the intelligence and ingenuity behind all the aero devices/upgrades teams come up with, it is so difficult to relate to.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2013, 19:04

      I know RB has been sponsorting events for, what, ten years(?)

      Off the top of my head I think their first motor racing sponsorship deal was in the mid-eighties with Gerhard Berger. Then they had a highly visible presence on Sauber from 1995.

  4. MagillaGorilla (@magillagorilla) said on 4th August 2013, 5:52

    So when LDM does stuff he can do no wrong, doesn’t matter if it’s another team or his own driver anyone that does better or says something that is factual and puts LDM in his place is wrong. Cause as we know LDM like Bernie can do no harm…

  5. trust LDM to make statements for all of us to mull on and be enraged for days on end.

    Not too sure if Mercedes weren’t punished enough, I don’t remember the FIA ever being harsh on any major punishment it’s given in recent years (I could be wrong on this though). Mclaren were “only” stripped of their WCC points in 2007, and aren’t the chief culprits of the Piquet Jr crash in 2008 back in F1 circles?

  6. andae23 (@andae23) said on 4th August 2013, 10:04

    I don’t think I can express how mad statements like this make me without resorting to colourful language. Formula 1 is a competition, essentially a game to find out which driver/car combination is the quickest around a circuit for an x number of laps. The rules are quite clear and if there are issues with for instance an illegal tyre test, then there is a court meeting which looks into it and gives a punishment. Mercedes was found guilty, given an adequate punishment and moved on. I have no doubt that the motivation behind the Mercedes penalty were justifiable and hence I see no reason to question the sentence.

    The statement by Di Montezemolo is effectively abusing Ferrari’s unique position in Formula 1: they are the oldest and most famous team by quite some distance, so F1 will probably go to great lengths to keep them in the sport. The team president’s words are meant as some sort of threat, as in “you did this, this and this wrong in my opinion, so do it better next time.” To be honest, the only way I see Formula 1’s credibility getting damaged is by some team president trying to enforce his opinion upon the sport’s governing body. Ferrari’s criticism is low, quite a weak attempt to get what you want. That’s not how Formula 1 should work. Just accept the given situation and don’t focus on ‘monkey business’, but focus on maximising the regulations by building the quickest car possible and developing it to keep it ahead of the field.

  7. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th August 2013, 10:21

    Ah, I guess its good to see Ferrari are back their cheekish calling others out for being dirty while you are at least standing in mud too selves!

    Sure Monti, things aren’t going your way, and the Italian press want to hear who is to blame. Can’t be you can it.

  8. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 4th August 2013, 13:40

    I’m not going to create a massive rant here on why and how Montezemelo has or doesn’t has the right to speak on the matter. Whatever you thought off the 2010 incident he has a fair point. Mercedes got away virtually scot free. Yes, the other teams has the chance to test the new tyres but in all fairness they almost constantly had to use the Rookies. It’s not like they are going to be able to tell the difference because most of them didn’t even drive the old version tyre. The teams that did use their own race drivers were massively restricted in what they could do that day. Remember Kimi Räikkönen not driving that Friday? And in the end Mercedes even got the data from Pirelli. How’s that for a ridicules sentence that was to make matter more idiotic suggested by Mercedes in the first place. Whether you like it or not in the end Mercedes was found guilty by the tribunal and they haven’t really been punished for it at all. (before you go suggesting that I think Mercedes should have been punished in a way that they would be compromised in their current form, well you’re wrong because I know how they fixed their car)

    • Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 5th August 2013, 2:55

      before you go suggesting that I think Mercedes should have been punished in a way that they would be compromised in their current form

      It seems you are suggesting that – that would be the alternative to ‘[getting] away virtually scot free.’

      well you’re wrong because I know how they fixed their car

      How did they manage it? I’m dying to know.

  9. Jason (@jason12) said on 4th August 2013, 14:34

    Luca discussed a number of things in the interview, the title of this article is somewhat misleading…..

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 4th August 2013, 14:45

      Still strange though that Luca had nothing to say about that test when Merc struggled with their tyres in Germany.

      Should Merc struggle again in Belgium he probably won’t be saying anything.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th August 2013, 19:06

      @jason12 This article chiefly refers to Montezemolo’s comments about Mercedes and the headline is not at all misleading. There is a link to the original article in it for those who wants read what he had to say in full.

  10. DaveD (@daved) said on 4th August 2013, 15:59

    Montezemelo is looking more and more like a whiney twit. I can’t believe the way he came down on Alonso for some fairly light comments, especially after the way Fernando has stuck up for the team with pathetic cars the last couple of years. And I am a Hamilton fan so that is saying something.
    Now LDM is STILL whining about Mercedes and that stupid test? Yeah, I’m starting to become less of a Ferrari fan than I was before….I don’t like whiners and I won’t be buying a Ferrari. I’ve owned Porsches, Mercs and BMW’s and even a Jag but now I just don’t think I’ll do the Ferrari.

    Silly I know, but it’s the same reason I won’t put Pirelli tires on my car now…I don’t like the way they handled themselves and went into denial and blame mode regarding tires this year. If I have a problem with my tires…do I want a company with Pirelli’s attitude backing them? Hell no.

    F1 is all about PR for the companies involved so they better think about the whiney, finger pointing image you put out which can override the winning/losing image.

  11. Shorter LDM…
    “We’re not winning, therefore it’s not fair.”

  12. Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 5th August 2013, 2:59

    It would appear that Montezemolo doesn’t actually follow the sport. If he did, then he would have noticed that one of those three wins was on a track were tyres were barely a factor, and at one of races they didn’t win the overheating problems were as bad as they had ever been. I’m not trying to claim that the private test didn’t have an affect, but using such simple statistics as evidence of clear gain demonstrates a lack of understanding at best, and bare faced lying at worst.

    At let us not forget, that Ferrari are probably the last team who should be complaining about leniency, or turning a blind eye, from the FIA.

    Regarding the comments about changing the tyres, did he even hear about what happened at Silverstone? Does he not remember what happened to one of his own drivers? The changes were clearly necessary. At the beginning of the season, all the teams who were coping well on the tyres were saying things along the lines of “everyone has the same tyres, learn to deal with them like everyone else.” I’d argue the same still applies.

    (Repost from Adam Coopers blog)

  13. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 5th August 2013, 7:00

    LDM is good for some comic relief during this long summer break. He seems rather green with envy over Mercedes and yet was still red in the face about Alonso. Lashing out at the drinks company is kind of funny too, especially since he was a drinks company head with Cinzano at one time. But, I digress. LDM it is fair to say is a good businessman and has had success with Ferrari in racing as well.Though not a fan of his bombastic management style, the Ferrari team success with Todt/Brawn/Schumacher cannot be denied. Something is missing now. He has one of the best drivers on the grid, some would argue the best. Ferrari has resources and talent and yet they now struggle to stay ahead of the mid pack. At times they have shown flashes of brilliance with Alonso pushing ahead, but no consistency. Ferrari is not alone in their misery. Look at McLaren. Same thing, massive resources and talent while heading backwards. So, LDM can huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down, but he would be better off finding out what is missing and doing something about that. And, hope that Ferrari can build an engine for 2014 that will be better than the competition.

  14. DaveW (@dmw) said on 5th August 2013, 15:04

    Luca should have sent knives to the tribunal members.

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