Ferrari Respond to Rivals

Ferrari have hit back at criticisms from their rivals that their go-it-alone attitude to testing is threatening to damage the sport - and have instead blamed the opposition for creating trouble by disagreeing with the FIA

Ferrari Respond to Rivals

Reacting to a statement issued by the 'group-of-nine' teams, who have opted for a 30-day limit on testing this year, that called on Ferrari to fall-in line with their own scheme, Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt said he was unimpressed by the criticisms of his team's approach to the situation.

He denied that his outfit's behaviour was acting as a catalyst for raising costs in the sport.

And making clear reference to a team bosses' meeting with the FIA held on January 28, where only Ferrari turned up, Todt claimed that it was wrong for his team to be singled out as the one not acting in the best interests of the sport.

"We have taken note of the document and are somewhat surprised at its content given the fact that the other nine teams failed to show for the FIA meeting on 28th January held in London," he said in a statement issued in Malaysia on Friday.

"The agenda for that meeting included discussion on possible important modifications to the regulations which could have come into effect from 2006 and led to a significant reduction in the costs of the sport.

"We also note that a meeting is planned, on a date to be decided between 6th to 8th April, when the subject for discussion is the future of the sport. However, this meeting does not provide for the attendance of the sporting authority, the FIA.

"We believe it is not the job of the teams to decide on the rules, even if they can make suggestions, leaving the sporting authority to establish the rules of the game. The FIA has convened a further meeting for 15th April next, in Paris to raise once more the themes that should have been discussed back on 28th January.

"We are open to discuss any proposals that can lead to an effective reduction in costs, above all for those teams that do not reap any benefit from the current situation."

Speaking specifically about the matter of private testing, with Ferrari being accused of gaining an unfair advantage by pressing ahead with their own testing programme, Todt was equally dismissive of any criticisms.

He re-iterated Ferrari's stance that their tyre supplier Bridgestone was at a disadvantage because it only has one top team on board - and that in fact rival Michelin was currently gaining an edge because of the mileage it could complete.

"As for the specific point of private testing. I wish to go on record and state that Ferrari is the only team moving Bridgestone's tyre development forward, which is also of benefit to the other two teams (Jordan and Minardi) who have an agreement with the Japanese supplier," added Todt.

"If we analyse the testing that has taken place in the first months of 2005, it can be seen that Bridgestone runners did a quarter of the total mileage achieved by those teams who are with the other tyre supplier. This situation can hardly be seen as advantageous to us.

"When the previous testing agreement was coming to an end, we tried to find a new compromise, which took the reality of the current situation into account. Unfortunately this did not prove possible and therefore we felt that no testing guidelines were in place anymore and we intend to continue on that premise.

"Finally, we wish to put on record that the test programme currently underway, without artificial limitation and more efficient in terms of its use of manpower and resources, will lead to a reduction in our costs currently estimated to be of the order of over two million Euro."

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