Ferrari boss plans FIA talks amid worries over Formula 1 spectacle
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, April 3rd 2014, 09:08 GMT|
Luca di Montezemolo and Bernie Ecclestone plan to meet with Jean Todt during the Bahrain Grand Prix to discuss potential changes that could improve the spectacle of Formula 1.
AUTOSPORT has learned that Ferrari boss di Montezemolo is unimpressed with the new fuel-efficiency regulations in the sport, and flew to a meeting with Ecclestone in London on Wednesday to kick-start urgent discussions about what can be done to make things better.
Sources with knowledge of the situation suggest that both men are in agreement that the first two races of the season have not produced the kind of dramatic racing that some had believed would come with the new 1.6-litre turbo engines.
Both races have been won in dominant fashion by the early race leader, and there has not been as much overtaking and strategic variety as some had hoped.
One insider suggests that di Montezemolo has labelled the current spectacle as simply an 'economy run', with drivers no longer able to push to the maximum because of the way they are restricted on fuel flow and fuel capacity.
That stance backs up comments he made in Italy last month that F1's new complicated rules had taken away some of the racing excitement.
"I don't like his sort of taxi-cab driving," he was quoted as saying by Autosprint.
"What I don't like is this complexity in the interpretation of the race, both from the drivers' and the spectators' point of view."
Di Montezemolo and Ecclestone have asked Todt for talks in Bahrain this weekend to discuss the matter, and ponder what, if anything, can be done.
They are keen for some blue-sky thinking on the situation, although are well aware that the sport must not divert from the new hybrid technology path it has taken.
However, changes to the sporting regulations - whether it be through fuel-flow meters or new ways of using the engines - could be enough to improve matters.
CONCERNS NOT NEW
Although some may view di Montezemolo's concerns about the state of F1 as a response to Ferrari's disappointing start to the campaign, insiders have revealed that the Maranello-based team has long questioned the impact the new regulations will have on the racing.
AUTOSPORT has learned that last season, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali met with Ecclestone to discuss progress on the new regulations, and expressed worries that the spectacle could be damaged if drivers were more focused on fuel economy than driving.
The debate about the racing has come on the back of an initial focus on the sound of the new turbo engines, although Ecclestone said in Malaysia last weekend that the new power units did not sound as bad in real life as he had been expecting.
Not all teams are so concerned about the situation, though.
McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis said at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix that he felts the rules needed a couple of races to bed down.
"I think we should give it a little bit more time to settle down before we are too critical of it," he said.
"I think there are always going to be people who have negative observations. That is inevitable."