Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo wants to cut the costs in Formula 1, or at least that is what he is saying. On the face of it, this is good news. However there are many in Formula 1 who will see this as simply another attempt by Ferrari to protect its own interests, against teams that can afford to spend more.
“The world economic situation and that of Europe in particular, is very serious and the world of Formula 1 cannot ignore the fact,” said Luca di Montezemolo. “We cannot lose any more time: we need to tackle urgently and with determination the question of costs. Ferrari is in agreement with the FIA’s position that drastic intervention is required. We are absolutely convinced that, as I have always said, the teams and the commercial rights holder must work together with the Federation on this front. This is no longer the moment for getting bogged down in sterile discussions or the meanderings of engineers, usually only concerned in defending the interests of someone or other: the question has to be tackled at the highest level, without further delay.”
Fine sentiments, but then there were fine sentiments expressed too when Montezemolo was the founding force of FOTA. Oddly enough, the other teams are less than trusting these days as a result of what happened with the F1 “union”. Montezemolo used FOTA to get Ferrari the best possible deal and then baled out, conveniently forgetting the concept of collective bargaining. That decision torpedoed most of FOTA’s power and in the opinion of many did the sport a great disservice as it meant that the overweening demands of the sport’s commercial rights holders were not checked, as they might have been had Ferrari stood and fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the other teams. Some have also not forgotten that in the past, all too often it was Ferrari blocking cost-cutting because it had more money to spend.
Rival teams understand that cost-control would now suit Ferrari well, as it would mean that the team could spend less on F1, yet still gain more based on his deal that has been struck with the Formula One group. One might say that was an unfair advantage. And what is in it for these other teams? If they can outspend Ferrari and get results from doing that, then why should they agree to handicap themselves?
Ferrari would gain a little more respect if it were to agree to a budget cap, rather than cost-control, so that everyone would be fighting with the same weaponry, which would mean that success and failure would be dictated by the skills of the teams, rather than by money.
Everyone in F1 wants the costs in F1 to be more sensible. The best way to achieve this is a twofold policy: the first is to cap budgets and have the FIA as the policeman; the second is to stop the outward flow of more than 50 percent of the revenues in the sport, to financiers who do not give a stuff about the sport, as long as the goose continues to lay its golden eggs.