SHARE

Ferrari’s president, Luca di Montezemolo, is not a man for few words. He’s also not a man who minces what words he offers. In a lengthy interview with Corriere della Sera, Di Montezemolo offers some interesting insight into what he thinks of the current state of Formula 1.

In particular, he believes that the credibility of F1 has diminished with the recent testing and subsequent wrist-slapping that Mercedes engaged in this year:

“Formula 1 also has to be a clean sport without any of the monkey business we have had to put up with in recent years. From next season, we will have a completely different F1, finally less dependent on aerodynamics. I build cars not planes. We will finally have testing again and not a farce like what we saw this year with one team doing illegal testing without even paying the right penalty for it. In this case, I would have expected more clarity and courage from the FIA. On the other hand, the benefits gained by the team that carried out the secret banned testing are watched by everyone: before then, it had not won a single grand prix, then after the test it won three out of five races. These are the sort of serious incidents that affect F1’s credibility and alter the championship.”

The fortunes of Mercedes from the first part of the season to the last five races have been good. From scoring a handful of points in the beginning (72) to a bucket load in the last 5 races (136), Mercedes has done the complete opposite of what Ferrari have done over the same timeline.

Another interesting topic is that of aerodynamic regulations. I asked the Ferrari team, over lunch, about the reliance on aero at the moment and they did have a measured response. It went something like this: Aero wins races right now and that’s the rules we have. It also teaches us how to develop aero better and while we are not using these levels of aerodynamic design on our road cars, we design better road cars by understanding the aero design more thoroughly.

What does Luca think?

“I’ve been around in F1 for quite a while, since the Seventies, so I don’t envy anyone anything. With the current regulations favouring aerodynamics, Red Bull was clever in getting a great designer, Adrian Newey, to get the most out of all aspects of the regulations. I will digress: this aspect of the rules is, in my opinion, a mistake and therefore needs changing. Luckily, the hoped for changes are coming. We don’t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order. We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world. “

It is a tough year for Ferrari as they were quick straight away in Australia but have seemed to suffer with what they call the development war. It is a grueling pace to keep the development of the current chassis competitive if you consider that every two weeks 5-10% of the car will be changed with new development pieces (as McLaren’s Peter van Manen says). Ferrari were hoping this year’s car would secure the championship given its out-of-the-box pace but has since slid to a pace that has seen them lose 2nd in the constructor’s championship to Mercedes.

 

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.
  • Schmorbraten

    Montezemolo has a point, but it’s not only aerodynamics where F1 is far from being as useful an R&D programme as it could be, with building road cars in mind. Some object that F1 doesn’t need to be sensible and that the very point of F1 always was that it’s a wasteful, raw, radical and redundant pastime, but times change and motorsport has in its history already seen a number of different challenges to its raison d’être. Someone has to foot the bills, so it has to make financial sense for whoever puts cars on the grid, and one of the oldest and most natural ways to make a good business case out of any racing activities is if you happen to also build road cars. Red Bull and others before them have shown that that’s not necessary for a team to be successful on the track as well as financially, but for the sport as a whole, you’d want to keep at least the few manufacturers happy that are still here. If Ferrari compare their yearly overall motorsport budget with Audi and what each of them achieves with it, they’ll probably feel a bit short-changed.

  • KevinW

    Ferrari sells cars advertised to exceed 170MPH, some as high as 200 – about the speed of F1 cars. So, now buyers discover that Ferrari does not value aero work, has had a faulty aero test facility, and believes aero is only for airplanes? So… it seems all those swoopy lines, fins, spoilers, and doo-dads on a Ferrari are for styling and show then? What Monty seems to be missing is that aero is as much a part of automotive design today as anything. From increasing mileage to keeping triple digit road cars from flying into the rails at speed. Me thinks his protestations expose a lack of credibility – on the part of Ferrari itself. Anyone who has hotted up a VW bug only to find that at 85mph the little beetle launches itself like a fat little bug knows that aero and speed are inseparable. It’s ridiculous for Ferrari to be heading this anti-aero topic – it should be leading the aero charge more than any of the others, as producers of super cars capable of amazing speeds. That 2014 will be closing doors on aero development further is incredible, that Ferrari is happy about that even more so.

    • Rapierman

      Ferrari has never been about air speed. They’ve always been about what their emblem is: A horse….or, in this case, raw horsepower. They think that they could go to the moon on sheer horsepower, but they can’t turn worth a darn. Until they can solve that issue, they can go run a rail dragster on a quarter-mile drag strip going sub-four-second at 300 MPH, but it won’t mean a thing if they can’t turn on a dime.

  • Steven

    The only reason he complains about aero is because Ferrari SUCKS at it. About the testing, it was easy for them when testing was unlimited, with their own track they had an unfair advantage. I don’t recall any other team complaining about that back then. Luca D should just stuff it and go play politics…

  • Rapierman

    Sounds like Motezemolo’s running for the FIA presidency. What would the F1 world look like if he were in charge?

  • Eulan

    A sore looser with so many double standards. LDM could win an argument from any side, as long as its his side that benefit. Its a combination of eristics and ad hominem, against Hamilton really, but cannot directly say it.

    • Rapierman

      Sorry, ya lost me with all those logic terms. Could you say that in layman’s terms? Thanks.

  • Rik

    The team must come first… So this means that Massa is SAFE in his job as he puts the teams best interest ahead of his own by playing second fiddle to Alonso!

    I have never understood Ferrari. They always have a good #1 and a terrible #2 and as Redbull has pointed out teams need two great drivers in order to get the constructors money. If Massa does good then they would reprehend him for doing so. If he performs bad they speak of replacement. A no win situation.

    Alonso cannot move to RB next year and for Montezemolo to make disparaging comments in the press is pure desperation and malice. Nothing like motivation by breaking down the people. Possibly Ferrari needs new leadership and less dictatorship? Montezemolo issued statements ahead of the 13′ season with threats that Ferrari had better improve or else… What is else? New drivers? Better engineers? Better strategist? Better Pit Crew? Better team manager? Or better leaders? We know he won’t step down so has to be one of the others.

    For Alonso, well every driver believes he is the best so failure has to be the car’s fault. The other guy wins because he has the best car, but the racers wins because he is the best driver.

    • Meine

      Barrichello was not a terrible number 2 driver. He was a good number 2 driver.
      Also Eddy Irvine was a good number 2 driver.
      Berger was a good number 2 driver (Or was it Alesi?).

  • bfreelove

    F1 is about aero because that’s where the performance lies. It’s not the current formula, it’s just physics. It’s simply incredible that the engineers continue to find more downforce even with all the increasing restrictions against aero. Also the aerodynamics of an F1 car are so beyond any airplane it just sounds goofy to make that reference IMHO.

  • JasonI

    F1 has lost credibility because of KERS, DRS, and using crappy tires on purpose. Fix those problems first.

  • Mark

    I am amazed at the confusion happening at the top level of motorsport . This confusion is being forwarded to the fans.
    Renaming the F1 championship as strictly[Exotic race cars’ world Championship] should do justice to all .
    The current F1 event has nothing to do with Drivers, their talents or final standings after a race. Since each machine on the grid is totally unequal to the next one except for engine & tire size we can not determine who is the best driver in the world from a race’s outcome can we ?