Ferrari: F1 must solve its problems

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo says that Formula 1 needs to find answers to its problems as soon as possible if his Maranello outfit is to stick with the sport for the long-term

Ferrari: F1 must solve its problems

At the end of a year Ferrari came the closest it has ever been to quitting F1, in the wake of the row over cost cuts and future rules, and di Montezemolo has again warned that the Scuderia is seeking further improvements over the next few years.

Ferrari is currently only committed until the end of 2012 and di Montezemolo has hinted that only big progress by teams, FOTA and the sport's commercial chiefs will be enough to turn F1 into how he wants to see it.

"I want F1 to improve between now and 2012, when we sign a new Concorde Agreement, and if not we will have motivation somewhere else," he told selected media, including AUTOSPORT, during a Christmas media event.

"I have been to Le Mans and I was impressed. We cannot accept huge gaps between drivers and the press and public. In the past the pits was full of good looking girls, now it's like a concentration camp. And we need to overtake!"

He added: "There are a lot of answers needed. We need good people at the FIA. [FIA president Jean] Todt is a good person and knows F1, and I'm sure his priority is to recreate a different dialogue and atmosphere. Bernie [Ecclestone] is coming to the end of his career, but I am sure he will look ahead. And FOTA has been very useful. There needs to be a strong triangle between the three parties."

Di Montezemolo thinks that F1 needs to undertake a wholesale rethink about what it is doing, rather than small tinkering of the rules to try and improve the show.

"First we have to decide where we want to position the product," he said. "I think it needs to encompass extreme technology, performance and research. Secondly, we need to save costs without losing the appealing elements. Carbon brakes, for instance, are impossible to use with road cars and we can accept a standard gearbox without losing F1 characteristics.

"Not being allowed to have Felipe [Massa] test a car, for me, is against the very nature of the sport. For the moment, I understand, but it's not the future. Thirdly, to replace manufacturer teams with teams that I don't know if they will be ready or in what condition, I don't think is best."

Di Montezemolo believes some of the cost-cutting regulations, like the current testing ban, have gone too far.

"Years ago we could test every day, now not at all," he explained. "You need a balance. It's like in Italy, one day the doctor is smoking while he's doing an operation but now, if you smoke in the street, you're killed. We need something in the middle.

"We also need to look at the show. I'm not making strong points here, but is it right to run in Europe at 2 or 3 o'clock on a summer afternoon? I don't know. In soccer they play at 4 or 5pm, or at 8 or 9pm. Is it right that we have two hour races? Maybe they are too long. These are things we need to discuss.

"Should we have such expensive tickets? Today a young boy with his girlfriend can fly around the world for less than attending the Monza GP in the best seats. Is that right? I don't want to be arrogant or presumptuous, but I want to have professional instruments to look into it.

"I can accept if some manufacturers have left the sport but I think F1 at the beginning of the 2000s has been the best in terms of the public and spectators, with new venues and promotion and investment from the car manufacturers."

Di Montezemolo does have one reason to be optimistic about the future, though. He thinks the arrival of Todt as FIA president will be good news for achieving what is needed without the political confrontation that marred recent years.

"Together with Bernie I'm the oldest guy in the paddock and we share a genuine passion," he said. "Now the FIA opens a new era, thank God, even if I have to say that Mosley did a very good job basically for safety.

"But after what happened for the past two years, with the polemics, manufacturers leaving, unpredictable judging decisions, thank God there is fresh air."

shares
comments
Former Ferrari engine chief joins FIA

Previous article

Former Ferrari engine chief joins FIA

Next article

Abu Dhabi to keep pitlane tunnel

Abu Dhabi to keep pitlane tunnel
Load comments
The key details the boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details the boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021