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Ferrari president sees recovering F1’s “lost charm” as his “duty”

Jul 14, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying Getty Images

As Ferrari continues to search for a way back to the front of the Formula One grid, its president, Luca di Montezemolo, continues to criticize the new direction of the sport in 2014.

In a recent interview with German magazine Focus, Montezemolo says that the technical regulations have transformed F1 pilots into “taxi drivers” – and goes a step further by saying that if series boss Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t act, he will.

“The need to do something to recover the lost charm of Formula One is urgent,” Montezemolo declared. “If [Ecclestone] doesn’t, I’ll do it myself. I see it as my duty.”

In Montezemolo’s mind, the quieter V-6 engines and other regulations such as fuel flow limits have done severe damage to the spectacle of F1.

“They must save fuel and tires instead of being fast,” he also said to Focus. “The teams have to decide how much fuel they’re using and how many tires are wearing out.

“Before, it was the best man winning in the best car. Now, the viewers – the ones in the stands and the ones in front of their TVs – no longer understand.

“As it is now, we must do something. Otherwise, Formula One has no chance.”

But with this, one can’t help but wonder if Montezemolo’s repeated critiques of the current formula (which includes calling for a meeting to discuss the sport’s future) are starting to wear thin.

As our own Luke Smith muses on this subject, the on-track product doesn’t appear to be the biggest problem with F1 fans; instead, it’s matters such as double points for the season finale and standing restarts in 2015 that have raised concerns.

Meanwhile, Ferrari continues to languish behind Mercedes and Red Bull in a distant third place in the Constructor’s Championship – and that position’s far from settled as Williams, Force India and McLaren are not far behind them.

And that leads us back to a well-worn but still valid question: If Ferrari was wiping the floor with everybody like Mercedes is right now, would Montezemolo be as loud with these criticisms as he has been?

  1. techmeister1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    Despite the cynicism posted here, Montezemolo has some valid points. Most of the fans don’t understand real racing and they are even more confused when a driver has to “back off” to save tires or fuel. I personally have never liked “mileage races” as they detract from all out racing. Ferrari has always been about flat out racing. Enzo was even quoted as saying “aerodynamics are for people who don’t know how to build engines”.

    That being said if these are the rules that the majority of TEAMS (not Bernie or the FIA) desire, then that’s the way it is for the time being. I suspect that the teams may not be so keen on the mpg racing in the not so distant future. I don’t believe Montezemolo’s comments have anything to do with Ferrari’s lackluster performance. They are two separate issues to me.

    As far as double points for the final race I’m not so sure that is a good idea either but for sure standing starts are a very BAD idea.

  2. rupp246 - Jul 14, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Well said techmeister.

  3. techmeister1 - Jul 14, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    MSNBC should be paying me to write motorsports stories, but they can’t afford me. LOL

    • zydecobro - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      no, they should pay you to keep your ego under control..

      • techmeister1 - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        Being insulting makes you look like a fool. Apparently you don’t know a joke when you read “LOL” at the end of a comment.

        As a former magazine editor and publisher I know quality writing has nothing to do with ego and my story comments show no ego. That of course doesn’t stop the haters from hating because they have a miserable life. Hating isn’t going to improve your life.

    • zydecobro - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Some one should start a new racing series something like an all out unlimited class of F1 and then youll see light years of engineering and technology in a single season
      its kinda hard to come up with the latest and greatest ideas when your slapped with
      loads and loads of rules restricting any kind of important advancement in engineering

  4. photog645 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Montezemolo is absolutely correct. Formula 1 is in the process of regulating itself into irrelevance and obscurity. NO racing event should EVER be decided by how much fuel is available or tire regulations that inhibit performance. And that hybrid drivetrain?! Formula one is a RACING venue, NOT a development and testing ground for green energy! And I don’t guess that the malignant little criminal called Bernie Ecclestone really cares in this day and time. He has managed to squeeze BILLIONS out of the sport for his own personal fortune! The new formula just sucks! Ecclestone has kept crying over the years that the sport was simply becoming too expensive for smaller operations and then he presides over the greatest change in the specifications in the formula ever in its history. Add to that, the considerable expense to design, build, and develop the current F! drivetrains and Ecclestone’s comments ring pretty hollow. Keep all of the current safety regulations. Do away with the hybrid drivetrains, give the teams 1800 c.c.’s with forced induction (supercharge/turbocharger) on gas, 2800 c.c.’s normally aspirated on gas, and 3500 c.c.’s in a diesel, ANY cylinder configuration. That will certainly not take any longer to sort itself out than the current mess. NO INLET RESTRICTIONS! That should be a good start. Let them use any tire(s) in the Bridgestone inventory at a race and allow them to use the compound(s) THEY desire without having to use any they do not want to use. SEVERELY limit the add-on aerodynamic devices – simple front wing; simple rear wing ONLY! No active suspension, no anti-lock brakes; no traction control. I’d love to see this happen and I am certain that it would result in good, interesting racing.

    • zydecobro - Jul 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      I like your ideas Montezemolo but this would require true talented race car drivers
      because right now todays F1 cars are doing all the work..if they were ever to get rid of abs, traction control and limit the use of aerodynamics then F1 would quickly turn into Redneck Theater…

  5. twosco2 - Jul 15, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    It’s good to see some F1 interest with comments. Having read most, I would like to point out that it doesn’t matter if your name is Enzo or Luca, whom so ever is in charge of Ferrari has earned the right to criticize most anything pertaining to F1. They have spent enough money over the past 50 years to have earned that right. Ferrari fan for over 500 years.

  6. worknman24hours - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    Luca is right.

    F1 has kind of lost it’s way with the cars being way more important then the drivers skill.

    And the throat lock the FIA has on the teams doing any in season development means whoever gets it right at the start of the year will win the Championship every year.

    “The most expensive race cars Formula One has ever built.”-Ron Dennis,at the start of the season.

    That alone should tell the FIA they are running the sport into a brick wall it will not recover from.

    Luca is right but which way can F1 go to change?

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