Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Finali Mondiali, Mugello, 2013

Ferrari couldn’t be stronger politically – Montezemolo

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Finali Mondiali, Mugello, 2013Red Bull may have won the last four world championships but Ferrari still wield ultimate political power in Formula One, says Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Ferrari has gone five years without winning a championship but as Montezemolo told Italy’s RAI Uno television channel, the team remain uniquely important to F1.

“We have reached an agreement with Ecclestone and the FIA and we are the only team with the right of veto: more political weight than that is impossible,” said Montezemolo.

“We are aware of our strength in Formula One, which without us, would be completely different. Having said that, it?s true that weight also comes from having a winning car and that was lacking. The rest is all gossip.”

The Ferrari president laughed off Bernie Ecclestone’s recent comments that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner would be the best person to succeed him in charge of Formula One:

“Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I?m happy he still has the desire to do so…”

Ferrari slipped to third in the constructors’ championship this year, which Montezemolo blamed on Felipe Massa’s penalty for repeatedly crossing the white lane at the pit lane entry during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I think it was disproportionate and unjust, as was [Lewis] Hamilton’s,” said Montezemolo, referring to the Mercedes driver’s penalty for causing a collision with Valtteri Bottas.

“If Felipe had stayed in fourth place, we would have been second in the constructors’ championship.

“Every so often, the gentlemen who come to the races to act as stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic. One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money and for the drivers who risk their lives.”

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102 comments on “Ferrari couldn’t be stronger politically – Montezemolo”

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  1. He does sound like somebody who’s trying waaay too hard to hide how bitter he is.

    1. Really does.

    2. +1

      Just like Alonso….Birds of same feather flock together

      Both their interviews are total nonsense and narsistic

    3. Plus, it worth noting that F1 is a sport, and in so doing should be apolitical, unpolitical, non-political… choose it as you want

      1. yup…

        “We have reached an agreement with Ecclestone and the FIA and we are the only team with the right of veto: more political weight than that is impossible,” said Montezemolo.

        Perfectly encapsulates what’s wrong w/ the sport…the thinking that “political” power is more important than sporting prowess…

      2. I wonder whether he would trade his political power for 4 WCCs and 4 WDCs. I am guessing that he would.

        1. @cynical – I wonder whether he would trade his political power for 4 WCCs and 4 WDCs. I am guessing that he would.

          I loathe the suffocating stranglehold that RBR have put on the sport, but can’t deny the fundamental truth you’ve just suggested…

  2. And people ask why I don´t Luca di Montezemolo.

    Why is worth to have this “power of veto” if the team hasn´t won a championship in 6 years? Bitternes looks ugly isn ´t it?

    1. Cause they have won more than any, and is true if Ferrari goes race somewhere else f1 will take a huge blow

      1. Will it though? I wouldn’t stop watching if Ferrari quit F1. Would you?

        1. 90% of the fans would stop watching F1

          1. I’d say only 20-30% of the fans would leave. Remarkable amount of people for sure, but Ferrari’s departure certainly wouldn’t destroy the sport.

          2. It depends if they leave for another championship. Imagine if they choose to compete in Le Mans against Porsche. That would be the real deal, something that anybody is willing to see and F1 would be left with big four-wheeled RB cans competing and ‘ll slowly die.

          3. 90%? Tifoso, you’re living up to your name, because you grossly overestimate Ferrari’s importance to F1.

            I think only a tiny fraction – two or three per cent – of people on this site would stop watching if Ferrari left. The figure among casual fans would probably be much higher, perhaps getting close to Huhhii’s estimate, but the sport would definitely, unquestionably survive.

          4. Imagine if they choose to compete in Le Mans against Porsche. That would be the real deal.

            I don’t think it would. it would be great. But with so much less coverage, and much longer, less easily digestible races I think a lot of people transferring allegiance from F1 would find it difficult to enjoy as much. In which case they may just gravitate back to F1 despite the lack of Ferrari.

    2. I agree, no team deserves special rights just because they have been successful in the past. I wouldn’t mind seeing someone interrupt Vettel’s dominance but this nonsensical rhetoric is one of the reasons why I’m kind of happy that Ferrari haven’t won anything during the last years.

      1. I also heard that Ferrari get extra cash from F1 than other teams. If this is true it is totally unacceptable and grossly unfair. Ferrari should be competing on level terms not getting special help…..

        1. That is right, my employer doesn’t pay me salary for something that I did five or ten years ago, I have to do the job today to earn money. The same logic should be applied to prize money distribution, which already favours the rich teams even without all the bonus payments that they get for the championship titles that were won by Ayrton Senna or Jody Scheckter.

          1. It’s not about the succes, it’s about the fact that Ferrari is in F1 until the very begining.
            They stayed in the good times and in the bad times.
            You can’t deny that Ferrari is from a marketing point of view by far the most valueable team in F1.

          2. Actually, the longer I was working at my local supermarket, the more my pay was increased. That wasn’t from inflation, it was a reward/incentive, and having returned one summer after starting uni I had a lower salary.

  3. Sheesh, everything he said is right, but what an ass. Everybody knows they are the darling of F1, so did he need to say it? Was this his way of telling Bernie that he better take that “Horner being the boss” crap right out of his head? How about instead of crowing about their power, they just win the championship with all the money and resources they have at their disposal?

  4. Jeez, it’s not like they were bored and felt the need to penalize Massa ! they reminded all drivers about that pit entry the whole weekend. 2 other drivers were penalized for it. And if it doesn’t make any difference in laptime, why cross the while line?

    The stewards have been bad in the past, but with Hamilton and Massa, they did the right thing.

  5. Why would you boast about your political power? If there’s one things sports fans dislike, its an uneven playing field politically. Things like the right to veto and Ferrari’s general political clout is why Ferrari were so hated 10 years ago. It wasn’t long ago he was saying how ‘fishy’ Glock’s slow lap in 2008 was either. They really like to remind people that they’re a bit like a pantomime villain.

    1. Also, he mentioned that Hamilton’s penalty was disproportionate- doesn’t that mean that if neither he nor Massa were penalised that Ferrari would still lose out in the constructors?

      1. Good point. He contradicts himself in the same sentence.

  6. I’ll just say this. If Ferrari were to leave F1 in the morning, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Sure, they are a massive team and have had lots of success, but I think that this thing of them being a historical team which makes them more valuable is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. I’ve always found Montezemolo to be quite arrogant and from reading this article, he comes across as quite bitter. If Bernie thinks Christian Horner would make a good successor when he retires, that’s his opinion. For Montezemolo to laugh it off, I feel is quite rude.

    The fact that Ferrari slipped to third is nobody’s fault but their own. It’s a team sport. Everyone knew the deal with the pitlane entry last weekend, so they may be irked at the penalty Massa got, but rules are rules. I do take the point that the stewards have been grossly inconsistent this season though. They really should come down hard on exceeding track limits. If that means doling out 22 drive through penalties in one race, so be it. That might actually put a stop to it.

    And I get that he’s irked, but the stewards panel have an ex F1 driver on there, so it’s not as if they are flying completely blind. (Again, a bit of consistency would be good though).

    1. And the stewards are never going to gain credibility by letting drivers ignore the rules, if Luca wants credibility he better expect a zero tolerance regime from the stewards. I got the distinct impression from Massa that he expected special treatment, not only from Alonso but from the stewards also.

    2. F1 would die without Ferrari.

      1. No it wouldn’t. From how Montezemolo is talking though, he seems to think it would. But it wouldn’t.

        1. You sure about that? Maybe you should compare the total fanbase of Ferrari to those of other teams.

        2. @mike-dee,@spud
          No it would, according to the history , in 1986 Enzo has threatened to quit F1 because of the engine regulations he was so serious that he build a Ferrari 637 to race in the American CART,what happened then ??? Ferrari stayed in F1 and the FIA rethought their engine regs
          With all my respect but you’re talking just like you’re representing a huge fan base which is not the case, even if you still follow F1 when Ferrari quit the sport 90/95 % of the fans will not do the same

          1. you’re talking just like you’re representing a huge fan base

            Whereas you are talking in pure facts? Maybe 90/95% of the tifosi would leave, but they are not everybody. I’ve been to a GP, and I don’t recall a sea of red- plenty of red certainly, but not a sea.

            Also, your anecdote doesn’t say much. All it says it that the FIA would rather not lose Ferrari, which is hardly surprising. That is not the same as ‘knowing F1 would fall apart without them’. I’d rather not lose them, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t keep watching if they left. All your anecdote says is that Ferrari are important enough to have some sway over regulations (although that has clearly reduced, despite still having a veto).

          2. @matt90
            Apart from Silverstone, the only place when you see the majority of the fans cheering for another team than Ferrari(In recent years you can see the majority of the crowd wearing Mclaren hats maybe that will change with Lewis out of the team),i don’t know any other circuit in the calendar when you can see something like that and correct me if i’m wrong
            I know that if Ferrari would leave the sport F1 will continue but it will be as popular as GP2

          3. No, you don’t know, you’re talking pure conjecture, which the majority of people on this site seem to disagree with. It was not Silverstone, it was Spa. I didn’t say that Ferrari didn’t have the most fans, just that there was certainly not a large majority of ardent Ferrari fans.

          4. @tifoso1989 I’ve been to the British Grand Prix three times in the past three years, and while it is fair to say that there are many fans in support of the British drivers, I certainly wouldn’t say they make up the majority of the fans. You can see it in the stands, in the campsites, in the pubs around the village, while walking to the track too, that there is an even spread of fans who support different teams. Each year I’ve camped, in our group alone there have been fans of Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Marussia, Red Bull and Team Enstone (me). So while I do agree that F1 would lose some fans, I just don’t buy into the argument that F1 would die if the red cars aren’t there anymore.

          5. @spud

            I’ve been to the British Grand Prix three times in the past three years

            you lucky man !!!!!!!!!

    3. I’d comment, but @spud said all that needs to be said on the matter!

  7. Would F1 without Ferrari actually be that bad? Personally Ferrari are certainly not the reason I still tune in on every race day… think the credibility of F1 as a sport would be greatly increased if the power and financial terms were more equally distributed among all the teams.

  8. Graceful in defeat he is not. What is the point of trumping on about political power at this stage!? Go build a car and win something.

  9. Now that makes me feel very positive about Ferrari. Not.

  10. oh yes political power is MUCH more important then winning 4 measly world championships, all hail Ferrari…

    1. @mpmark
      Ferrari have won 16 constructors championships and 15 drivers championships. History goes back before 2009, you know. ;-)

        1. @tmax
          Read Mark’s quote again.

          oh yes political power is MUCH more important then winning 4 measly world championships, all hail Ferrari…

          He is attempting to leave the impression that Ferrari don’t win championships.

  11. Guys, honest speaking, after reading this article my question is this;
    If you could draw a parallel to football – is (present) Scuderia Ferrari really very much like (present) CF Real Madrid??

    ( Yes, yes, yes,. I know very well we had this “Vettel = Guardiola-thread” on the forum side, and my intention is not about nagging much more around this, but still… Imo, there are enormously many parallels between Ferrari and RM (and even Alonso and CR7 btw). In many cases the teams act the same way. What do you think? )

    1. Yes I am a Ferrari fan and I’ve been that for many years, but I’m from time to time utterly surprised just how political they are, and I’m referring also to their lead driver.

  12. In terms of the competition, superior R&D > political power.

    1. @vettel1
      That wasn’t the case in 2003. Williams build the fastest car, yet Ferrari still politiced their way to the title. :-P

      1. Yes, that’s why I always thought we should have seen Montoya vs. Raikkonen for the 2003 title!

  13. The Ferrari president laughed off Bernie Ecclestone’s recent comments that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner would be the best person to succeed him in charge of Formula One:

    “Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so…”

    I too wouldn’t have Christian Horner heading F1, but is Luca trying to imply he is an inferior team principal? I wholeheartedly disagree: he’s not the most popular man in the paddock, but he’s very good at his job.

    1. With that car and Vettel at the wheel even my cat can do well as a team principal…

      1. But could your cat keep all staff together that build that car? And keep Vettel onboard?

        1. Yes, with the help of Mr. Big Wallet aka Didi Mateschitz for sure.

    2. Actually the only time he really had to do his job as a prinicipal was in Malaysia and in my opinion he failed there quiet badly.
      That’s the only time this year where things got out of control and what Horner did was close to nothing.

      1. Nothing was ‘out of control’, Vettel simply disobeyed team orders. And please tell us what more Horner could have done to prevent that.

        1. Probably nothing to prevent it in Malaysia, but he could have done something to prevent it from happeing again.
          What he did was nothing. Vettel apologized to the team (not Webber) by say “I did something wrong, but I would do it again”. Horner simply accepted that. That is imo something a team principal shouldn’t do.
          Just compare how Brawn handled the situation with Rosberg and Hamilton back then. He made clear who is team principle! Something Horner failed to do.

          1. How do you know he did nothing? That scenario didn’t happen again for the rest of the season.

    3. @vettel1
      You didn’t get his point, all the paddock knows how much close the relationship between Bernie Ecclestone and all the Red Bull environment (Dietrich Mateschitz,Sebastian Vettel, Christian Horner) , Vettel doesn’t have a manager (a 4 times WDC winning race after race with all the money that he makes & the sponsorship…..), he is a close friend to Bernie so he doesn’t need a manager, last year Bernie was celebrating Vettel’s WDC in Brazil with Seb & his girlfriend in his room in the Red Bull motorhome if i’m not wrong
      As for Horner he is also very close to Ecclestone, it was rumored that he was saying all what happens in the FOTA meetings to Bernie Ecclestone, so Bernie or Horner there is absolutely no difference!!!! that’s why Luca was laughing at Bernie

      1. Anything to discredit Red Bull, eh?

      2. And they talk about Ferrari being political…

      3. @tifoso1989 that’s not what he said, though. He implied that Bernie was making jokes which is an indirect questioning of his abilities as a team principal, which have come into question much less frequently than say Whitmarsh’s.

        If Red Bull have strong connections to Bernie, then that’s clever gameplay. Doing the same as Ferrari essentially, but would you criticise them for that?

  14. LdM is one reason I struggle with possibly cheering for Ferrari as a team. I respect what they have been doing with their new hires such as Allison and Raikkonen, that they are trying hard to turn the team around in an underdog kind of way pursuing the Red Bull machine. Then LdM comes out of hiding barking like an overdog. Maybe I’ll just cheer for Raikkonen and call it good.

    1. same here I usually don’t mind it if the guy I support wins in a Ferrari but as a team I don’t like them. with the deals they struck in the early 2000s it became clear that they see F1 as a showcase and they don’t really wanna have any competition. The exit of Renault, Honda, Toyota and BMW would have been avoidable with Ferrari’s help. although a big share of the blame for this exodus goes to Bernie too.

  15. He should veto allowing Red Bull to enter the chanmpionship next year then. That ‘s the only case this veto can help ferrari!

    1. Karma would have Rosberg or Hamilton taking the title :-)

  16. Luca does seem to enjoy flushing Ferrari’s image down the khazi. Maybe he should take a leaf from Dennis’s book and leave the F1 team entirely in Domenicali’s hands – at least Stefano gives their opponents the respect they deserve.

  17. Perhaps his comments are in response to questions posed by the interviewer. With respect to penalties, I am more disappointed that the FIA did not have the backbone to maintain the integrity of the sport when disciplining Mercedes for their tire test. Unfortunate that MB chose to tarnish their reputation. Though I do not always agree with the NASCAR stewards in the U.S., I would suggest that the FIA contact them to review their standards of sporting integrity.

  18. Montezemolo made too much sense, lately either I understand more the world of F1 and these things don’t surprise me or I’m getting loonier like Luca.

  19. “Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so…”

    I’m still laughing at that excellent remark…

    F1 would be so much more boring without people like Luca around! I think he’s a great character. Yes, he has some nutty ideas, and Ferrari has a lot of influence — but he hasn’t ruined the sport so far! (Not for me, anyway.)

  20. That sums up what is wrong with Formula 1. One team wield too much power. Everyone on a level playing field with equal power and a fairer distribution of prize money would help to make this a fairer ‘sport’ instead of what it is today.

    1. Your right. And it would be great to see Red Bull taken down a notch or two by virtue of not being able to outspend the majority of the grid by a factor of “3” and also have all of the rules applied equally to them and not just the unfavored “masses”.

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