Ecclestone hits back at di Montezemolo

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's calls for teams to be given a much bigger share of the sport's revenue and more say in how it is run

Ecclestone hits back at di Montezemolo

Di Montezemolo, who is also chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), told selected media including autosport.com at Maranello this week that the time was coming for Ecclestone to give up both money and control of F1 to the teams.

"In terms of revenue, we want to know more about them," said di Montezemolo. "Theoretically, like in other professional sports, like basketball in the USA, we can have a league made by us and appoint a good league manager to run our own business. Because it is our own business.

"We want to know the revenues better so we can decrease the cost of the tickets. Then we have the matter of traditional tracks rather than exotic tracks just because they have a nice skyline. We have to discuss the show. How to promote. I'm not prepared any more to have all this dictated to us by outside without any control."

But Ecclestone has been angered by those comments - and thinks it especially wrong for di Montezemolo to criticise him because of the special financial arrangements that Ferrari have enjoyed within F1 due to their historical importance.

"The only thing he has not mentioned is the extra money Ferrari get above all the other teams and all the extra things Ferrari have had for years - the 'general help' they are considered to have had in Formula One," Ecclestone told The Times.

"Ferrari get so much more money than everyone else. They know exactly what they get; they are not that stupid, although they are not that bright, either. They get about $80 million (£54 million) more. When they win the constructors' championship, which they did this year, they got $80 million more than if McLaren had won it."

He added: "What he should do, rather than asking for money, with all the extra money Ferrari gets, he should share all that amongst the teams."

Ecclestone says the terms of the current special Ferrari deal were agreed back in 2003, when some teams were considering a breakaway championship because they were unhappy about the running of the sport.

"They were the only team that broke ranks with the other manufacturers - why did they break ranks?" he said. "That's where the $80 million comes in. We 'bought' Ferrari. We 'bought' Ferrari's loyalty. Our deal with Ferrari was that we 'bought' them so they would not go to the others."

Ecclestone was also left unimpressed by suggestions from di Montezemolo that it was time the teams were given a full breakdown of how money was distributed in the sport.

"They have the right to send people into the company and search for everything," Ecclestone said, referring to a clause in the Concorde Agreement that allows full examination of the sport's books.

"Ferrari in particular, more than anybody, from day one, have had the right and they've never done it. We have bankers here and we've got CVC (CVC Capital Partners, the principal owners of Formula One) checking every single solitary thing. So anybody that starts saying that we've done anything wrong, I'll sue the a*** off them."

And in a final swipe at di Montezemolo, Ecclestone suggested he knew less about Ferrari than many of the people who worked at the Italian car manufacturer.

"It's a shame he's not in touch with people that seem to run the company as opposed to what he does - work as a press officer," said Ecclestone.

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