SHARE

Ferrari have received their answer formt he FIA regarding the concern over passes made by Sebastian Vettel during the season’s final race in Brazil that saw the young German secure his third consecutive driver’s championship. Ferrari have accepted that explanation and stood down…but not before garnering the scathing critique of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.

At press conference in Valencia, Ferrari president Luca di Montzemolo said:

“Ecclestone? You have to show respect for your elders, especially when they get to that stage in which they are no longer in control of what they say. However, old age is clearly incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities”.

That’s a relatively raw response to Ecclestone’s comment but like Luca’s words, Bernie’s were equally undercooked. Ferrari have explained that their inquiry was not intended to place Sebastian Vettel in a bad light, according to team boss Stefano Domenicali, rather clarify the regulations on such maneuvers, lights, and flags. The president also took the moment to explain his assertion of F1’s 82-year-old leader:

“There are a number of things that are not right in Formula One and the moment has come to finally sort them out in the appropriate places” stated the number one at the Rampant Horse during the press conference. “It is not acceptable that Formula One no longer transfers technology to our road cars. The aerodynamics is now becoming something which has nothing to do with the research. This cannot be a sport in which there is no longer testing on the track. We have run out of patience. We are car manufacturers, not sponsors. As Ecclestone said, ‘it’s a joke…'”.

Ferrari have been suggesting a change in regulations that would see a return to competitive racing with regulations and technology that is more relevant to road cars than simply winning a format racing series. That’s understandable from a manufacturer’s stance and one could assume Mercedes would find little fault in the argument as well as BMW, Toyota and Honda who all left the series for varying reasons but maintained that the main issue was the changing world and demand for different direction in road car technology.

If electric vehicles are the catalyst for BMW leaving the sport in 2010, and that’s what they claimed, then it is interesting that the car maker isn’t clamoring to join the newly inked Formula E series which is holistically focused on EV technology. In fact, McLaren ar the team involved as a provider of electric powerplants for the series.

What is relevant these days? Electric car technology? Ferrari have not show a strong interest in that evolution and yet they are looking for a new format and Luca’s comments are aimed at Ecclestone’s inability, lack of desire or reluctance to change the format of Formula One away from aerodynamic reliance to a more salient technology for car makers. Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Caterham are not merely sponsors, they are car makers and their interest in Formula 1 could be different than that of Red Bull, Genii Capital, Sauber, Marussia et. al. Surely they have a desire to directly benefit from F1’s technical regulations in making a car better?

It would seem logically yet Ferrari were the first to complain of a new engine format for 2014 that would include a turbo V6 as that’s not a format they are keen to use in their cars but Mercedes and other large carmakers are. It’s a fine line they all walk yet Ecclestone’s age is certainly becoming a talking point for Di Montezemolo and one wonders what Ferrari’s long-term interests are in a sport they are struggling to see relevance in…or is it just sour grapes?

SHARE
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    It’s a little of both. To explain:

    1. Yes, Bernie is old. That was obvious. He’s said things this year that will either (a) confuse the hell outta ya, or (b) tick you off. In either case, even if he were completely lucid, he’s 80-plus years old. Sometime in the near future, he will either die or prove himself to be too senile to be considered competent enough to run anything, much less Formula 1. At that point, you have to ask yourself if the FIA is prepared to run without Ecclestone. That is the downside to being someone so valuable that they can’t let you go: Nobody prepares for what happens when you do go. Somebody needs to step up and prove to the FIA that they are more than capable of taknig over when Bernie’s gone. So far, nobody’s done that, and that’s going to be a serious problem when it happens.

    2. Formula 1 still has relevance to road cars. Apparently, Ferrari’s been living under a rock of they would have noticed that V6’s, V4’s and Inline-4s dominate the car market that the average consumer sees. Not everyone here can afford sports cars….in fact, very few can do that. How many Ferraris are out there? Jaguars? Lotuses? Mercedes? McLarens? Yep, very few, mostly because they cost more money to make than I’ll ever earn in two-and-a-half years. If they still think that V8’s and V12’s are the way to go…welll, I wish them luck, but they can’t have the universe their way, and they’ll fall flat on their face if they try.

    So, that’s how it ends up being a combination of both, and this whole thing becomes a pathetic side-show with no redeeming value whatsoever.

  • tfirth392

    Would I be dreaming an impossible thought if Ferrari went Sportscar racing again officially to be relevant to road technologies.

    Please please a Ferrari P1 car In WEC

    Course stay in f1 too :)

  • Meine

    O dear, so now it’s official.

    Ferreri does race to make cars instead of make cars to race.

    • Reppu

      Sad, but that’s been so for many years now. Even when the Commendatore was still alive.

  • Nathhulal

    Luca – 17 more years and you will be 82.

  • Nathhulal

    “There are a number of things that are not right in Formula One and the moment has come to finally sort them out in the appropriate places” stated the number one at the Rampant Horse during the press conference. “It is not acceptable that Formula One no longer transfers technology to our road cars. The aerodynamics is now becoming something which has nothing to do with the research. This cannot be a sport in which there is no longer testing on the track.”

    If this is coming from the man who along with Bernie made Jean Todt roll back the universal engine specifications proposed by all car manufacturers (including Ferrari representatives), just because the V4 Turbo engines didn’t “sound right”. I wonder who should be calling whom “Senile”.

  • Reppu

    I think Luca is quite right on this one. Engine development and testing were banned, but the result is that top teams are spending all that money, if not more, into CFD development and windtunnel testing. Teams will spend all money are their disposal, ALL of it, to make their car faster. The question now is: where do you FIA think the money would be better spent, in engine development or in arcane aerodynamic technology?

    For me the answer is simple. A new breed of engines is about to be introduced, so it makes a lot of sense to explore and develope it. I really go nuts when i think that we will have a brand new type of engine and that it will be frozen the moment it debuts. It’s plain crazy! And what about testing? Test ban was one of the most idiotic decisions i have ever seen on the sport. I agree with limitation, but banning? Come on…

    All in all, the decisions made to limit cost have proven inefective to say the least. RBR is rumored to have spent this year the highest amount of money, EVER, for a single team in a single season. Go figure.

  • Tom Firth

    Guys on this subject, if you have 30 minutes to spare sometime, you may have seen it before because it is a few months old now but Drive did an uncut 30 minute interview with Ulrich Baretzky, The brilliant engine designer behind Audi’s le mans success, Some of what he speaks about tie directly into what Luca Montezemolo is saying about the link between road and track today.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1TAhWdVU3M4#!