How not to lose gracefully…

Luca Montezemolo says (again) that Formula 1 is not working and claims that it is declining because the FIA has “forgotten that people watch the racing for the excitement. Nobody watches racing for the efficiency”.

Montezemolo might see himself as a campaigner for true sport, but there are a few things which are wrong with his arguments. Firstly, Ferrari’s only real option if it wants to have any exposure in the sport is to go Le Mans, where the key to success is… efficiency.

If the overall viewing figures of Formula 1 are falling it is because the commercial rights holder is putting some of the sport’s biggest TV markets behind pay-walls. Fans are objecting and rather than paying, they have either ceased to watch F1, or have found nefarious ways to acquire satellite signals that allow them to watch the racing, albeit with foreign commentary. This is easily overcome by using radio commentary instead.

The pay-TV deals are successful financially and the sport is pulling in more cash than ever, although finding sponsors is not easy, particularly as the teams are competing with the Formula One group in this respect, as it is keen to squeeze more money out of the sport by maximising the revenues from the trackside advertising.

However, if Montezemolo is going to argue for better sport, he needs to look at the situation he is arguing from. Lest we forget, Ferrari has negotiated a financial deal with the Formula One group that means that no less than five percent of the total revenues of the sport go straight to Maranello. And this is before prize money is even calculated. It is not easy to put that into real numbers because the revenues of the sport of hidden away in accounting gobbledygook, but the accepted number for 2013 is around $1.7 billion, following on from $1.5 billion in 2011 and $1.6 billion in 2012.

Whip out a calculator and this will tell you that Ferrari must be getting around $85 million just for turning up each year at the races. The fact that this is not widely known is because two and a half percent of the money comes from the half of the revenues that is allotted to the teams; and the other two and half percent comes from the money that goes to the Formula One group, with all of its financial gymnastics involving loans, dividends and so on. This is why the Formula One group now says that the teams are getting more than half the money. There are believed to be special “incentive” deals for Red Bull and Mercedes as well although these seem to have been fixed payments to get them to sign up to the bilateral agreements that have replaced the old Concorde Agreement.

Now, add the $85 million to the usual share of the prize money “schedules”, the payments from which depend on how well a team does in the Constructors’ Championship – which range from around $100 million for the winner to $50 million for the 10th placed team – and one arrives at a situation where one can see that Ferrari always comes out on top in terms of finance, even if it finishes last in the Constructors’ Championship!

In addition the Italian team has the right to veto the introduction/modification of any technical or sporting regulations (except for safety requirements). Ferrari is entitled to exercise this right of veto only if the exercise of the right of veto is not prejudicial to the traditional values of the Championship (whatever the hell that means) and it reasonably considers that the new regulations are likely to have a substantial impact on its legitimate interest, another essentially meaningless legal phrase. This veto is not new and dates back to January 2005 when Ferrari was granted the right until the end of the 2009 Concorde Agreement (in December 2012).

Think about that for a minute: this means that, one way or another, Ferrari agreed to the switch to the new engine regulations, or at least did not use its veto rights.

I like Ferrari, in principle. It has history and generates passion that adds value to the F1 World Championship. Having said that Ferrari exploits that in its merchandising, earning far more than all the other teams in this respect (while not working with them, of course). All things considered F1 and its fans look after Ferrari far too well. You have to take your hat off to Montezemolo for getting people to agree to all of this, but I personally believe it should stop. Ferrari depends on Formula 1 as much as Formula 1 depends on Ferrari and thus there is no reason for the Italian team to be treated so favourably. No team has a divine right to make money or to stop rules being changed. It is just unfair and I would love to hear from a lawyer as to why it is not anti-competitive because from where I am sitting it would seem to give Ferrari a massive advantage over the opposition.

I also don’t see any possible justification for Ferrari claiming, as it has done in the past, that it is only a small manufacturer and cannot compete with the big-spending majors. Ferrari announced earlier this year that its revenues rose five percent in 2013 to a record $3.16 billion and it posted a pre-tax profit of $500 million. The company even said that it has a cash pile of $1.87 billion, despite an increase in research and development spending.

When one considers that the company, despite all these advantages, has not won a title in five years and is currently third in the Constructors’ Championship, fighting for the place with minnows such as Force India, McLaren and Williams, one has to say it is a pretty poor effort. I fear that the buck for this must stop at Montezemolo’s office door. He is the man in charge and he is not backward in coming forward when there is success to be enjoyed. Thus when there is pain to be endured he must be the man standing up and taking the slings and arrows.

Deep down honest people know that winning with an unfair advantage is not winning at all and this is why they strive to compete on a level playing field. I think Ferrari should do the same.

168 thoughts on “How not to lose gracefully…

  1. Sssshhhhh. Let Luca keep talking.

    As to Maranello’s books, to cook or not to cook? That is the suggestion.

    1. My old Italian suppliers used to tell me that all Italian companies have 3 sets of books (or maybe 4 in Ferrrari’s case.) One for the tax man, one for the mafia and the real one and maybe one for the FIA.

      1. I agree. FIA should call their bluff and tell them they are free to leave the second their contract expires. Ferrari needs F1 way more than F1 needs Ferrari. Would their exit damage the sport ? Certainly. F1 would, however, continue on – it’s not like they are or have recently been competitive. Alonso is wasting some of his highest potential years shackled to a car that is currently Clifford The Big Red Dog.

        1. F1 needs a Ferrari that are keen to be the caretakers of the sport and keen to look to the long term future for the good of all involved. F1 doesn’t need Ferrari as it behaves currently.

  2. Have to disagree. Lack of excitement is the #1 reason for flagging viewership, not pay per view driving numbers away. Sure that’s a statistic in there but only a small percentage.

    1. Disagree away. The viewing figures are standing up in most markets. They took a hit last year because of Vettel. The big losses are where there is payTV, this is the reality not an opinion.

      1. Unique viewers in the UK have dropped by 22% since the BSkyB deal. Team sponsor AVE has dropped by even more.

          1. Can anyone better versed than me in marketing & advertising explain how Advertising Value Equivalent is calculated? Or more usefully how it can be disconnected from actual viewer numbers? Especially as the lost viewers are presumably those with less disposable income?

            1. @ Jem: Here is one useful site re the navigational metric “AVE”. http://www.marketing-metrics-made-simple.com/advertising-value-equivalency.html. Google offers extensive segmental info on it. I presume that in Europe you have similar access as North America to the scope & depth of Google data base. I say this, because a few years ago I was surprised to discover that there are significant differences between certain data available on North American Wikipedia site and the corresponding European site. At the time those uncooperative folks at Wikipedia would not allow me to copy and paste the relevant data (re sited URL) onto either the European Wiki site or into my article for the European site of interest.

              Anyway, the sponsorship rate charged by F1 teams are influenced by various factors such as their respective AVE. The metrics of the AVE include factors such as positive news stories reportages/coverage by F1 journalists; A few years ago the then Times F1 correspondent wrote about his frustrations having to spend enormous amount of time, sometime daily, taking calls/complaints from certain teams. He implied that he had to take the calls since he did not know whether he was about to get more complaints or special scopes

              (BTW: Your post, on a different thread, re CFD was quite informative and useful).

                1. Thanks, Jem!

                  &8195;As you opened your CFD comment, I’m off to brew some tea and have a read. I was just coming through the articles to see what I had missed, only got here first, thanks for reminding me.

                  &8195;Great to have Karen back,

                  &8195;and I’m going to enjoy getting stuck into these discussions.

                  just cut a meandering of thought.. I got quite emotional there, I’m presented with a set of choices in life I am coming to terms with, one of which might leave me able to indulge scribbling almost as I wish to, without worry over the pension pot. Charles Handy made good case for taking time off in mid life, and returning to work in what are normally retirement years. It’s fascinating to think of that being possible, though my situation is dependent possibly on legal buffoonery and I have been resisting visiting again the gross and culpable negligence that led me to be worried of the dangers of Lotus Eating, even among this wonderful crowd, from this little machine I can delightfully use in the sunshine in any of the verdant parks I’m blessed to live among. It’s interesting, working with backdrop mothers and children playing and local nutters toting strong lagers. Working being picking up pieces, unfortunately, still. Yup, too emotional off now to brew a pot of coffee and look over your CFD piece, thanks for that, Jem!

                  1. Blast it, sorry for messing up the formatting. Ampersand hash 8195 semi colon is a Em space character that gives a nice paragraph indentation. When you don’t typo it, that is, oops..

        1. Thanks, Karen, nice to have some solid figures again.

          Our F1 viewing has dropped from 100% of races to 50% this year. We’re in ‘Joe country’ at present but couldn’t be bothered to put the dish up to see what we could pick up for last weekend.

          The AVE figures must be a bit unsettling for sponsors.

          1. Mine too. I still haven’t watched the whole of Bahrain, China, Barcelona or Monaco 2014. Just watched bits of it. IF it’s on the BBC I usually watch it all. I will not give money to Murdoch, partly because I rent, so have little control over what TV system is in the property I live in. IF someone offered me a £60-80 a year subscription option, then i’d pay.

        2. We Have no idea if online advertising works

          Recent article at Slate magazine.

          The takeaway from that is that highly relevant search advertising dos not necessarily push people to big sales sites like eBay and Amazon, but still (little discussion of this) matters for businesses who are unknown to the person searching.

          As anecdotal as one is, despite there obviously being a big data sample underlying the article’s position, what this says to me is that the liked if Amazon might better spend on general awareness. F1 is fast. So is Amazon Prime. When Amazon started, they planned to use our of town depots to drive costs down. Now, they are putting distribution downtown even in expensive cities. Same day delivery is the goal. Doing a bit of online shopping, particularly for consumables, household bits and bobs, is often how I start the week, on a Sunday, after the race. Is there not a argument to remind me, whilst I watch the race? In fact, whilst have been picking up the pieces of a disrupted life, I’ve not gotten around to subscribing to Amazon Prime again. Apparently, Prime subscribers are worth four times the average revenue to Amazon. That’s a lot of lot sales, I realize that were missed from me.

          For much smaller companies, retailing on the internet, I believe could effectively use exposure through a livery. I think that the smaller teams ought to devise a kind of clearing house for incoming bids, possibly for shorter contracts, without the usual ties of sponsorship. I believe significant money is being left on the table. The front of the grid all have highly polished, refined outfits, but as you deal with smaller teams, I think you get closer to company characteristics that might be discouraging for would be sponsors to approach. I say that only as a observation of small companies in general, because process can hang on ability to allocate time and energy, because the smaller you are the more likely is a multi million dollar deal will be subject to senior management attention, or require more involvement at a earlier stage. I think there should be a shared office to handle initial leads and approaches, a bureau to call for at the very least orientation without the need to hire a agency or consultant. I am certain money is left on the table if only because I have never seen even the most sophisticated desks let something slip.

          Welcome back Karen!

          1. Caterhams don’t get TV-camera time… even with just-crazy-enough Kobayashi driving the thing… so, what’s an ad worth if nobody sees it?

            1. What I fear is that smaller teams do not accept modest deals, and thereby fail to create a market that will make for easier sales when times improve. I think there is a artificial floor put on deals. You’re bang on, though, I meant to just say I was thinking of advertising not sponsorship. But at advertising, not sponsorship rates. Money is still money, and the marginal cost of selling those spots is mostly paid. You can’t enforce television attention, but you could make plenty sure that any action at the back is covered, even in replay, and not ignored. You’d think that was how to cover a full race… I’m not railing against the reality, just pointing to reality that looks like it should still be exploited.

      2. Well said Joe.
        F1 needs to be FTA. I love F1 but will not pay for Sky. What is sponsorship without viewers after all?

        Ferrari do like both sides of their Focaccia buttered! 🙂

    2. We have had a couple of excellent races, and a couple of good ones, and a couple of dull ones. A considerable improvement on last year surely?

  3. I think many people (including me) would quit watching or following F1 overnight if Ferrari were not there and that’s what their pulling power is, regardless of all arguments, whether fair or not…

    1. I don’t understand that. You support a team with an unfair advantage. Do you like cheats as well?

      1. I would be sad to see Ferrari go but it would not stop me watching. I adore the history of the teams but prefer those with true racing blood who don`t moan and groan when things are grim. Get your head down, take it like a man and engineer your way through back to the top. Sir Frank and his team spring to mind. Like them or not the technical rules are the same for everyone.

        1. Exactly. Whinge whinge whinge whinge, that’s all you hear from Ferrari and the ‘we musta work ‘arder back inna da factory’, how many times in the last few years have you heard that same boring message being repeated by De Montezemoaner and Alonso etc ? Even with their massively unfair advantage (in this ‘sport’..) they are still fighting it out with the midfield teams.. cry me a river Luca.

      2. Why is it unfair for the FIA to show their appreciation to the only manufacturer that has been in F1 since the very beginning?

        1. It is like the FA agreeing that every Liverpool game starts with the score 1-0. It is obvious why it is wrong.

          1. Not really. Ferrari don’t start each race with points in the bag.
            Isn’t it more like Liverpool having a bigger slice of the TV money?

            1. If you have more money you can buy better engineers. Hence you should have a better grid position.

          2. Joe if you think Ferrari have any shame in having an advantage you clearly don’t know who Ferrari are. If they could pass rules that game them extra power and the others extra weight and winning for them was a formality they would do so with no hesitation. And their fans would love it! This is not a racing team, whatever they were 40 years ago is gone, now they are a brand and they expect a stage on which to ‘win’.

      3. Hi Joe, inclined to agree from a purist’s perspective it would be wonderful to see all things being equal which team is actually most capable (I suspect the pre 2013/14 “Team Enstone” had the edge for the money they supposedly spent???), but then again we know that all the teams are ruthlessly competitive both on and off the track. As the old adage goes ‘F1 is a business except for two hours on a Sunday’. As your own success as a leading commentator on this side of the sport goes to show; to a far greater extent than most other sports it is the business of F1 that attracts interest beyond the racing action on a Sunday. To play devil’s advocate if Ferrari has outmanoeuvred their competitors commercially (yet again) then shouldn’t the others just raise their game? Most have been around long enough to know the intricacies of the game and to have learnt from past experience. After all few other businesses get to be dragged along, even to current F1 standards, by the commercial success of their competitors so why should that be the case here? I believe Ferrari’s broader and highly aspirational brand appeal does help attract new F1 fans, particularly from my experience in the emerging markets. Whilst I’m sure that these Ferrari fans may soon then become fans of the sport itself, that is the great value of Ferrari to F1 in my opinion. No other team brand has that power or makes much, if any, investment (with the exceptions of Red Bull and arguably McLaren – eg Tooned – of late) to help maintain or raise new interest in the sport. So perhaps it’s reasonable that those teams get the lion’s share in return? Let’s not forget they don’t have to reinvest it in ‘cheating’ (i.e. more R&D than others may afford if I understand you correctly), but may also bank it as profit / return cash to their shareholders, invest in hiring the best drivers with most fan appeal, or invest in marketing their brand’s participation in the sport through other channels or in new markets (so engaging fans more and attracting new ones). It’s a fascinating debate – as ever I look forward to seeing how it plays out! Best wishes, Tom

      4. I am amazed that the corporate bosses at Fiat haven’t put a stop to this blatant unfairness. Even if it could be argued that it is in some way “fair”, It *looks* as if Ferrari enjoy sporting and commercial advantages that others do not. What company wants to be seen in that light? Not only is it shabby, but it looks like Ferrari believe that they couldn’t possibly win without these special measures.

        F1 has come to resemble professional wrestling more than real sport. The race results may not be fixed, but the playing field is far from level. F1 is now an entertainment business, not a true sport.

        As for the TV figures, the pay-wall issue is obviously a key factor, and plenty of people warned of it. Japan used to have a massive F1 viewership, but it dwindled after F1 went to pay TV there. Now other markets are following suit. The TV money for FOM might be good, but the sponsors and advertisers must be getting worried about the loss of eyeballs. Also, the quality of the FOM TV feed is very poor. No competition there. They can do as bad a job as they like. Other firms should be allowed to offer coverage.

        No one likes to feel they are being mugged. Sponsors and fans of F1 are the “dumb money” that FOM is milking as hard as they can.

    2. Conversely,I wait for the day Ferrari leaves.
      I am so sick and tired of the semi annual threat to leave,the special treatment,the extra money.Extra money for what?The privilege to whine? Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out.

    3. I don’t think there’s a single team F1 couldn’t manage without.

      And given the sense of entitlement, and the appearance of collusion with the previous FIA administration with the team I wouldn’t be at all sad to consign Ferrari to the history books.

      I’d be sad to see Williams or McLaren go… but it wouldn’t stop me watching F1 … the gradual takeover by Sky TV is doing a much better job of it than that.

    4. I’ve not missed a race (from my armchair) in 22 years and for me Ferrari is just another team. I don’t get what marks them as different and special but clearly for some people they are.

      There is no one team that I think of as crucial to my viewing decision. I just want to enjoy the strategy play and the action.

    5. I would be more upset and inclined to lose interest if a team like FI departed. Because if it become a select few at the top, I would rather they went and did their thing, spend like maniacs as they like, have three cars, customer cars, whatever. It just would not be F1, and if you split it, I don’t have any loyalty to any team enough they can swing me. Ferrari are abusing their position, clear and simple, and I fear that just by always claiming they are inseparable from the sport, they have, over time, fractured it. I think they get more out of F1 than F1 gets out of them, and they would do so even if they had no favors. How expensive is some modesty, against the price of wrecking a sport that is intertwined with them?

  4. I do agree with everything you say about Ferrari though. They have no divine right to be in F1 nor deserve special treatment.

    1. Totally agree. Yes they are very much part of F1’s history but then so are a lot of circuits that are no longer in use. I wouldn’t like to see them go but I’d still watch F1 even if they did decide to pack their bags and leave.

  5. Ferrari have been pissing and moaning and complaining about how important they are for decades. I remember back at the time of the FISA – FOCA dispute, Il Commendatore himself referring to himself and Alfa Romeo and Renault as the “gran construttori” and the Cosworth powered-teams as “assemblatore” (Italian for “kit-builders”). This was at a time when the Ferrari chassis resembled a bus. Ferrari then went out and hired Harvey Postlethwaite from an “assemblatore” team. His first comment after looking at their car was that he couldn’t fathom how Gilles Villeneuve had managed to win 2 races in it, it was that bad a chassis.
    The implied threat to change to another racing series is also not new. In the mis-80’s Ferrari funded an IndyCar project as a means of gaining leverage over the FIA for more special treatment. The current muttering about Le Mans is merely a repeat of that.
    Ferrari has a well-ingrained habit of puffing out its chest and strutting around reminding everybody of how important it is when it is not competitive on the racetrack.
    However, the reason that Ferrari engages in this posturing and blustering is that it gets them results. As Joe’s article makes clear, Ferrari is coddled beyond belief in its position in the F1 revenue structure, never mind the technical veto.
    Just like the school bully who continues until he is smacked nine ways to Tuesday, this is an established pattern of behaviour. It will continue until Ferrari is told “we’ll be sorry to lose you – don’t let the door hit you on your way out”. Some people in the FIA and/or FOM need to grow a spine and tell LdM to take a hike.

    1. I remember seeing pictures of the Ferrari Indycar, then a while after Alfa Romeo started in Indycar. Don’t know how much was transferred between the two – it was a poor car and engine.

  6. Hear hear. There are 22 cars in the field; to me the special ones are the ones who achieve the best results with the resources they have. Year on year this inevitably changes. There was a time when I thought F1 without Chapman’s Lotus – for years my favourite team even when they were “Team Shambles” – would be unthinkable, but I got used to it quicker than I expected to.

    If Ferrari went tomorrow I’d be saddened but it wouldn’t stop me watching F1, or thinking it wasn’t “real” F1 (or “our” F1 as Briatore has been quoted as saying, as if he has some divine ownership rights)

    Time was when Ferrari used to criticise the Cosworth teams for focusing on chassis development at the expense of engine power. If L de M could just push his engine people to provide the same power as Mercedes I’m sure the team would be winning again and we’d not be hearing a peep out of him. Otherwise, I propose a “Bad Loser” fine of around – ooh – say $85m…

    1. To me it was a disaster when Lotus collapsed and left F1. But without Chapman it was always likely to go downhill, and Peter Warr wasn’t the person who should have been left to run it after Colin died. It was also very painful to see how Brabham withered, after Bernie tossed it aside.
      However, if Ferrari went, I would certainly cease to have an interest in F1, and I simply cannot understand the mindset of those who would cheer such a move. I am a motorsports enthusiast, and GP racing is one of the core components of motorsport, and is imbued with history going back a 100 years. Every race that passes becomes part of that history and fabric, and Ferrari is at the centre of the story, with a story that has grown to become a legend. Sure there are emotional outbursts from the Team, going back to Enzo’s time, but that’s all part of the story, nothing more, nothing less. If these things didn’t happen, it wouldn’t be the Scuderia.
      The more important situation at present, is that if something is not done to protect the series, then F1 itself will die out, and that is what everyone should be concentrating on. Having Ferrari leave, which won’t happen, could actually be the catalyst that would bring F1 down. Think about that folks!

      1. How about removing the 5% top up from Ferrari and distributing it to the bottom order teams that need it the most? That would do plenty to help secure the future of F1, Ferrari can manage with their existing funding and hopefully we would see less whining and more racing from them because they would be in the same position as every other team on the grid and would need to race and win to survive. This posturing is tiresome and predictable, the red team have no loyalty to anyone but themselves. Time to call their bluff I reckon.

        1. To be honest, it sounds like you’re more interested in Ferrari than in F1. I see F1 as a race series, not The Ferrari Show. If Ferrari leave I will be a little sad, but F1 will go on.

          I appreciate history of all varieties, but I watch motor racing to see fast cars being driven fast. And when it’s billed as a sport, I want all the competitors to have an equal chance. In this less than ideal world the teams with the most money already have a better than equal chance, so to give one team a substantial sum of money (more than the whole budget of some of the smaller teams!) just for showing up gives them an unfair advantage and makes a mockery of F1’s status as a sport. A truly sporting team would be ashamed of having such advantages but F1 seems to be more and more about being a business, not a sport.

          If Ferrari feel that they can’t compete without the rules being changed in their favour, I think that F1 would be better off without them.

  7. Very, very well put, Joe. And you even neglected to mention about how the two times this season that Luca has declared that the show is “not exciting enough” (that would be following Bahrain and Canada) were directly after the two races that could probably make a strong case to be in the top-20 “most exciting races” of the 21st Century thus far. Total proof that he is only speaking on behalf of his own organization (which is doing dismally, given its financial advantages), and on behalf of literally nobody else, cooking up baseless arguments that suit only himself. I guess that Mr. Motezemolo is not familiar with the phrase “unintentional comedy”.

  8. Yes, the Ferrari situation is both unreasonable and unfair to the smaller teams, but “Ferrari” is a name that even most women know. “Sauber, Caterham, Force India?” Nope. Ferrari get the special treatment because of their history and name recognition. It’s unfair, but they have a great deal of leverage.

    The more worrying issue is the growth of pay-per-view telecasts. That seems to be a financier’s/banker’s decision — maximize short-term revenues and take the money now because you plan to sell your interest in the near future. In terms of long-term growth and stability, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    Everyone involved in F1 financing seems to have his hand out these days, and the sport is being slowly nibbled to death by ducks.

    1. Very good point there you make. I had not thought of the pay TV deals being a last extraction, be damned the consequence. Bernie’s sold the sport a few times over, who knows how much or how little he cares, in the jaws of ignominy at a Munich court?

      We could see that case coming, long range, just throwing about the possibilities. I doubt the idea occurred to Bernie or his advisers (if he trusts anyone) later than we were throwing up the possibility in comments on this blog. Facing a protracted disassembly of your affairs could do anything to anyone. I suddenly wonder if some of Bernie’s more outrageous comments weren’t indicators he was suffering under strain. Or even a little up yours to everyone.

      You’ve made me think more seriously what is the narrative underlying the invisible activities of the past year or so, and Jean Todt’s almost silence. Dramatizing, could pay TV deals be not the only parting gift of the Ecclestone era entities? Could there be more to worry over yet, booby-trapped contracts and woe to befall the “inheritors” of Bernie’s good work? Is JT locked in battle royal trying to salvage a sport from commercial implosion? I think as I said yesterday, this winter will show some more of what has been going on. Until then it will be thin pickings for F1 Kremlinologists. I don’t know, but I suspect the Munich result will somehow be timed to be handed down after Abu Dhabi.

  9. Needless to say, you’re officially off Montezemolo’s Christmas card list.

    The way you speak truth to power is simply exceptional, possibly unique amongst F1 journalists. It’s certainly a refreshing change from slobbering sycophants like Peter Windsor and Will Buxton.

    1. Joe does a great job when writing about what is wrong (and often right) with F1. If he was the only insider banging on about this stuff, he would be in a more difficult place.

      I don’t know which adverb to use next; thankfully or sadly, Joe is not the only feet on the ground journalist who reports that F1 is heading towards a pickle.

    2. I like a journalist that doesn’t care about ingratiating himself with drivers and team prinicpals.

      I ignore more of the TV pundits because I feel that most of them are seriously compromised. I mean…if they piss off xyx, how are they going to look considering that they usually hitch a lift back in their priviate jet? Will they get invited to the next private party?

      We saw serious example of this after Rosberg’s Monaco incident. Those pundits with integrity like Mark Hughes and Darren Heath (OK, he’s more of a photographer) and those with rather much less.

    3. I agree @jbusa1, I really just found all 3 of these blogs in the last year, and the longer I read, the more I find myself agreeing with Joe. I was a proponent of Pete until this week. He had on Bob Fernley from FI, and Rob Wilson, who I believe is one of Perez’s racing consultants, yet there was no real analysis of the accident, only blamed laid at Massa’s feet. There was video and photographic data splattered over the internet all week, they couldn’t find it?
      Will, is growing on me a little, though I do not watch US coverage, so my exposure to him is limited now. I kinda disliked him back when I heard him every race.
      I have enjoyed nearly everything Joe has written, my only criticism is there is not enough of it.
      As far as Ferrari is concerned, I could care less. They are a bunch of whining bastards. The annual threat of taking their ball and going home when they aren’t winning is growing tiresome. Efficiency is killing F1? good luck in Sports car racing. Audi just won their 13th title. They run a hybrid turbo diesel.
      How many years do you think it would take ferrari to develop a powertrain to compete with that? the F1 V6 hybrid turbo isn’t relevant to your car production? how relevant is a diesel to ferrari?
      Hey ferrari, how about you give the ~100million that you get in guarantees every year and distribute it amongst the bottom 5-6 teams for two years if you are so concerned about F1. You can afford it and it would make the racing better right? Isn’t that what you said you want LDM? better racing????
      Rant over..
      Thanks Joe. Keep the great work coming.

    4. I agree @jbusa1, I really just found all 3 of these blogs in the last year, and the longer I read, the more I find myself agreeing with Joe. I was a proponent of Pete until this week. He had on Bob Fernley from FI, and Rob Wilson, who I believe is one of Perez’s racing consultants, yet there was no real analysis of the accident, only blamed laid at Massa’s feet. There was video and photographic data splattered over the internet all week, they couldn’t find it?
      Will, is growing on me a little, though I do not watch US coverage, so my exposure to him is limited now. I kinda disliked him back when I heard him every race.
      I have enjoyed nearly everything Joe has written, my only criticism is there is not enough of it.
      As far as Ferrari is concerned, I could care less. They are a bunch of whining bastards. The annual threat of taking their ball and going home when they aren’t winning is growing tiresome. Efficiency is killing F1? good luck in Sports car racing. Audi just won their 13th title. They run a hybrid turbo diesel.
      How many years do you think it would take ferrari to develop a powertrain to compete with that? the F1 V6 hybrid turbo isn’t relevant to your car production? how relevant is a diesel to ferrari? or a V-4?
      Hey ferrari, how about you give the ~100million that you get in guarantees every year and distribute it amongst the bottom 5-6 teams for two years if you are so concerned about F1. You can afford it and it would make the racing better right? Isn’t that what you said you want LDM? better racing????
      Rant over..
      Thanks Joe. Keep the great work coming.

  10. Im a Mercedes fan but F1 without Ferrari is not worth watching in my opinion. I paid an extra $29 a month just to have sports in my sky cable and my wife will be very happy if Ferrari leaves F1 🙂

    1. What’s so critical about watching Alonso and Kimi running in 8-11th? Or is it because they’re good sports for participating?

  11. I suspect all racers very much want an “unfair advantage” (as per Donohue’s book)… the goal of a racing team is to make the race an unfair fight before it starts…

    But they want to come by it honestly (even when they cheat)… by cleverness, preparation, and hard work… not by backroom deals with Bernie…

    1. Ferrari’s unfair advantage was noted by 1960s opposition in sports car racing. Did Ferrari build enough GT cars of a type to homologate as a non-prototype? Owing to the fastidiousness of Ferrari historians, we might conclude that the opposition had a point.

      In contrast, Porsche presented the 917 to the world with a car park full of sports racers, plus a warehouse packed with partial assemblies that (fully assembled) would fill another car park. Homologation of the Porsche 917 was suspended until all of the warehouse bits were put together.

      Ferrari has been treated differently for 50 years by motor sport regulators. Maybe it is time for change.

      ***
      Appearance money was given to GP teams just to turn up to race. Fans would pass the turnstiles because Ferrari or Maserati were in the programme. In later years, add the names of Cooper or Lotus.

      As an F1 team, Ferrari deserves to earn appearance money owing to longevity. It is fair that they get more than others. The second team, on the longevity rank, is Williams (WGPE, 1977) with McLaren in third place.

      Why are McLaren third? McLaren merged with Ron Dennis’s Project Four to become a new team. McLaren/MP4 inherited McLaren’s permit to race, but they broke continuity. However much modern day McLaren professes to love the old Can-Am racers, they are disconnected.

  12. According to Montezemolo, “Nobody watches racing for the efficiency.” However, Grand Prix and F1 racing has always been about building the most “efficient” cars. In the 1970s Ferrari built V12 powered cars (heavier, more powerful, less fuel economy) because they believed that was the optimal way to win races. A few years later, Gordon Murray designed Brabhams which had to stop for a fuel refill — because he believed that was the optimal way to win races.

    The last time that GP racing was conducted by Formula Libre was 1931/1932 for the European Championship, after which the series was suspended for two years. The new rules of 1934 amounted to Formula Libre (max weight 750kg) but the Silver Arrows did not win everything. Alfa Romeo were successful for a while — being more fuel and tyre economical — until the spending power of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union outpaced the Italians. Teams with annually increasing resources have a better chance (not guaranteed) of discovering other efficiency to win races.

    Every set of GP regulations following the 750kg formula has been more prohibitive than the preceding rule book. The cars which won races were usually the most efficient, because they got to the end, ahead of the opposition, without breaking down. Occasionally, car designers were so smart that the racer defined a new level of efficiency.

    No doubt historians at Ferrari advised the team that a financial advantage would provide a long term competitive edge. Their successors should be helping Montezemolo to understand the words efficient and smart.

    1. I’ve just realized why that “nobody watches for the efficiency” comment bugged me: number of times Schumi cruised once they had the advantage, and I kept thinking there was one time I believe he was on pace to beat a long standing Monza average speed record, and oh, yup, dialed back on cue once the gap was made. I never could get behind Seb V as a fan, but I totally rate that man for grabbing every fastest lap he could. To my eyes, Schumi on pace, even clear the field, was just brilliant to watch, in a similar way I used to watch John McEnroe’s serve; they were instructional visually, something demonstrative that could engage me every time.

      So as for my grumpy reaction to that quote, without thinking of every race ever won because of a driver’s skill in keeping tires fresh or a gearbox less stressed, or any of these things that used to be a bit of the racing you could learn from as a regular driver, Luca di is taking the mickey with that for every single one of Michael’s clear race wins, taking something away, even, a little. Okay, might not have been efficiency and more keeping the engines, but it is logical to think Schumi was cruising for efficiency, and did Luca not revel in those wins?

      What’s the matter with LdiM? Has a dalliance with politics twisted him somehow? Or he’s just lost touch? I’m not sure when this trend started. Incidentally, was it Margaret Thatcher who “demoted” Sir David Frost, by addressing him “Mr Frost” ahem, Joe calling out Mr Montezemelo 🙂

      1. Slightly off-topic but Margaret Thatcher had a habit of trying to one-up interviewers she did not like by ignoring their titles. She also did it with Sir Robin Day, who she would address as “Mr. Day”. Merely a form of verbal bullying.

  13. Don’t most problems of current Ferrari team boils down to that they tried doing it all Italian again (at least for the key staff) and it didn’t work out. They’ve shifted again but it takes time for that to have effect….

    For the rest I agree, they’re crying Wolf and they won’t quit F1 because they need it for their image just as much as the other way around. But I would see both surviving without each other too. I don’t like cheats so if it’s between them getting special privileges or them going away….I would vote “be gone!!”

  14. When F1 is no longer a sprint then it’s Le Mans , is it asking too much to have a flag to flag sprint please ?

    1. No-one was “not sprinting” through Lemans this weekend. It was a flag to flag sprint across 4 different categories!

      1. In the LMP1 category, the ‘sprint’ was a consistently managed run – Audi’s engineers gave an interview before the race where they discussed how they would manage a car’s fuel consumption, mechanical wear and so forth almost corner by corner for every lap, making it clear that they could not run flat out during the race.

        In fact, as soon as Porsche were forced to withdraw their cars, Audi immediately reigned in their pace (at one point lapping more than 10 second a lap slower whilst in clear air), so they certainly were not sprinting in the latter stages of the race. It’s just that, because the radio messages are only occasionally played out, most spectators probably aren’t aware of how much driver and car management actually went on during that race.

  15. Winning when you have an unfair advantage is bad, but losing when you have an unfair advantage is embarrassing. And like an embarrassed person LdM is getting defensive and aggressive.

    Fun to watch really.

  16. Hi Joe. I don’t believe ferrari needs any thing extra. like fiat can’t pony up a euro or two? And I do watch for efficiency. Set the energy available, (as they have) and let the designers build whatever they want around that…. Isn’t that the ultimate engineering challenge? Fly the wings, activate the suspension, turbine the engines.. just keep cutting back the total fuel to keep speeds safe.
    That said, are teams allowed recharge kers during stops under current regs? They can’t fuel,but can they drive amps into kers systems on pit stops?

  17. I bet the teams would have stronger objections to Frerrari’s special treatment if it won races and championships. As it is now Ferrari is a bit player when it comes to results so nobody pays too much attention to this unfair deal.

  18. “nefarious ways to acquire satellite signals that allow them to watch the racing, albeit with foreign commentary”

    naw… the only problem you’ll have is finding your preferred commentary… but it’s easily found in English. it’s how i watch fp1&3 since they’re not shown in the U.S.

  19. Both he and flavio speak some truth regarding current f1. I don’t want drivers to worry about fuel usage, storing energy etc, nor am I a dinosaur, i understand the need to change with technology. I would just like to see 20 odd cars going at it full throttle.

    Technology kills car racing as it becomes too expensive for the economy.
    look at rallying, it’s had it’s golden years before technology meant that the rally cars share nothing in common with their road going cousins. Same with Touring cars. I know F1 cars are not road cars, but they are going down the same path.
    F1 is losing it’s identity, I’m not that really important to the scheme of F1, just someone who used to go and watch the racing, I’m sure there will be plenty of fans who will take my place and pay to watch F1.

  20. Snake pit F1: everyone eats everyone’s tail, even while their mouths are already filled with their own tail.
    A complete mess for which I fear the only way out is destruction and recreation.

  21. It has puzzled me for years that Bernie is supposed to be such a master negotiator; yet Ferrari has its way with him. Ferrari needs F1 more than F1 needs Ferrari. Yes, if Ferrari leaves you may lose (some of?) those who are Ferrari fans before they are racing fans. No loss.

    As far as I’m concerned all the Ferrari championships of the modern era deserve an asterisk next to them – “unfair advantage given by Formula 1”.

    1. Perhaps Bernie decided that Ferrari and Monaco are what he needed, and that buying their contentment with a Bernie-pittance (but a lot to most) was well worth it… with them in hand, he could then do whatever he wanted with the rest of it….

    2. I’d say that Bernie’s tactic has been to keep the teams in a state of disunity, thereby being able to trample over them. the $85m is a pittance compared to what the teams could negotiate if they were united.

  22. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, far and away the stupidest marketing move I’ve seen in thirty years of marketing, was Bernie and a few of his puppets virtually telling people not to watch F1. Why would anyone go out of their way to downgrade their own product? “People don’t want to see these cars without the noise”. Hey, they hear that from the top people and look for something else to do because of they don’t believe in their product,why should anyone else?

  23. This has been the most exciting season in the last few years. The technology is fascinating and cutting edge, and as a bonus you’re not deafened and can even hear tyre squeal! what’s not to like?

    Sure, it’s a bit rough for di Montezemolo as his team ain’t the best … but then Ferrari hasn’t been the best for quite a while. Tough too for Alonso – but brilliant for everyone watching.

    I like the prancing horse and would be sad to see them take their bat home and sulk: but I wouldn’t stop watching F1 for anything. I can’t wait to see if Hamilton can claw back the lead from Rosberg; and if Vettel can beat Ricciardo; and if Massa can win with Williams. I’m only sorry that Mark Webber left.

  24. LdeM is really acting like the trouduc he is. What is worrying is the spreading of unfair advantages ( to Ferrari, and RB, Merco, and who else?). Add to that the gearing up toward customer car, the whole F1 thing is stinking more and more.
    I do totally agree with jbusa1

  25. Maybe LdM will decide it’s time to go fully into politics soon. He has placed a fall guy in position, but I am sure the new high anointed Fiat capo di capi will see past that.

    Ferrari have had private entrants in LMS for several years in the lower classes. (23 odd hours of constantly being overtaken must pall) But while LMS is fuel flow controlled as per F1, there is great latitude in engine type. Ave fuel flow over 3 laps! Take a look at the tables here, one cannot help thinking that perhaps these WEC regs should have been studied more closely when defining the F1 regs.

  26. I almost sense sadness even in some of the comments deploring Ferrari. It’s not good for them, in the end, either.

    When I was still young enough to just maybe be excused my naivety, I dismissed the advantage Ferrari were permitted with a humorous nod, almost just thinking, well, if they can get away with it, good luck to them. And they still then could be remembered better for almost a generation of being in the doldrums. It is sad, how they act with such entitlement, now. Sad as in pathetic. But I can’t feel any sympathy towards them at all, and I almost believe the only people who do are tifosi, and as such may be excused from rational debate.

    I really do think Ferrari could go from F1 and F1 be fine. The way they act, I keep thinking one day their bluff will be called. Maybe by a hard nosed new owner, thinking Malone / Liberty Media, would not exhibit much patience.

    Having JT at the FIA, however, is reminiscent of how Goldman Sachs stuffed the corridors of power with their former partners. I can’t think however, that, in the end, the sport can sustain justifying unfair advantages.

    If anything, Ferrari are as much a liability to F1, as a asset, if the EC comes looking at fairness in distributions. It’s a uncomfortable position, and I think the inability to justify their position is what’s causing their increasing obnoxiousness.

    1. @ John (o J). I certainly agree with you that “…Ferrari could go from F1 and F1 would be fine.” Five years ago when the majority of manufacturers (including the elegant BMW) departed the sport, F1 survived just fine. I do not want them to leave. But they should stay and compete equally and fairly.

      What is really amazing is that the ethics of granting one team very, very significant competitive advantages doesn’t seem to bother the FIA.

      Concerning JT, surprisingly, he so far, has been the antithesis of his predecessor. This has been good for the sport. However, as Joe has noted previously, he certainly could do a better job promoting the benefits of the new regs

  27. I’ve been watching Le Mans, the cars, even though with ers, sound different to each other and make nice sounds unlike the new F1 cars. It’s close, and exciting between Toyota, Audi & Porsche. It’s more techy than F1 but better from a fan point of view. Sportscars have been on the up for 2-3 yrs, and I will be booking to go there again next year, after a long gap!

      1. The winner (Audi) had a diesel 4litre V6 turbo with energy recovery from the front wheels and a Williams flywheel. (which was of course developed for F1, but then stupidly neglected in the F1 field)
        Read the linked page at sidepodcast.

        1. I know, the Toyota & Porsche cars were petrol, and differing cylinder layouts etc, differing electronic. Unfortunately it seems electronic brought the possible Porsche win to a halt. However the thing was that they all sounded different and the sounds were really good…the Audis are rather muted but it’s still a sound like a racing engine.

  28. I understand why Ferrari needs F1 but I’m hard pressed to understand why F1 needs Ferrari. Would someone explain it to me. Plz guys don’t bother with the old canards about glamour, continuity, etc; tell me something of substance. Notwithstanding Ferrari’s resources and preferential treatments by FOM & the FIA, in at least the previous ten years it has not developed any cutting edge design or technology that other teams have copied.

    Ferrari’s #1 market is the US and they are not rabid F1 fans. It is not even that popular around the world. Here are the top selling luxury cars worldwide.
    http://www.economist.com/news/business/21603434-japans-premium-motor-brands-are-still-far-behind-their-german-rivals-giant-carmakers.

    I’ve always like Luca. But I really took exception to him seemingly implying recently that Ross Brawn, Jean Todd, etc were mercenaries. I’m unaware of any other major sport in which one team has been granted the incredible advantages and extraordinary preferential treatment vis-à-vis the other teams currently enjoyed by Ferrari. In the litigiously-happy USA someone would have put a stop to this a long time ago.

    Under a prior Regime, the FIA appeared to be so bias in favour of Ferrari that even Speed TV renamed that body “Ferrari International Assistance.” What is also so astonishing is the apparent passivity and seemingly cowardice of the other teams. In 2007 not even one team came to the defense of McLaren; they demonstrated convincingly that they were not profiles in courage.

    1. Re “Under a prior Regime, the FIA appeared to be so bias in favour of Ferrari that even Speed TV renamed that body “Ferrari International Assistance”, IIRC Mad Max commented that he wanted them to win, claiming that they were good for the sport. But they weren’t that good, as as history has shown repeatedly. By comparison, the Minardi minnows, they had a real heart. Never much success but always working hard to get there. Luca Badoer(sp?) came so close to getting 5th in one race, only to have the car fail just before the race finished. I wish they were still racing but have no interest in hearing sooks like Monte mope.

  29. “Deep down honest people know that winning with an unfair advantage is not winning at all and this is why they strive to compete on a level playing field.”

    Sounds like hulman car is the perfect series for you. 😛 Spec cars, equalized, underpowered V6 turbo engines, about the same leader circle money for first or last (outside of the 500), no Ferrari banging on about how dull it is, no Mercedes winning everything, no top tier driver winning everything, no FIA squabbles about cost caps and secret deals, and no money because nobody wants to watch it. 😆

      1. Or perhaps some meds. 😛
        My optimism meter is generally 1/2 full, or 1/2 empty, depending on how I look at things. 😉

  30. I started watching F1 in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s as though Ferrari weren’t there then, so I don’t suppose I’d miss them that much if they left now.

  31. As a self-confessed old fart, Ferrari is important to me … but absolutely not more important than F1. In fact, some of my favourite eras were when Ferrari was not competitive.

    I question, for I do not know, whether Ferrari is all-important to the younger and indeed next generations. They have grown up with other teams succeeding and those I encounter acknowledge the Bugatti Veyron as the ultimate road car or think first of some Lamborghini or other when supercars are mentioned. Is F1 living in the past with its belief that Ferrari is the pre-eminent constructor?

    Whatever, I normally think de Montezemolo says too much.

  32. Yes, let’s find the mythical “level playing field”. Ferrari brings a lot to the table, but it was spineless (or perhaps, self-serving) administration of the sport that gave Ferrari millions under the table. Unfair,? Sure is if you don’t get a slice.

    Let them take their ball and go home. The rest of us will still want to see the game.

  33. I can see both lunacy and logic in his statement

    On the face of it, quit sport because you don’t like its efficiency focus to join a sport that has an efficiency focus makes no sense.

    But it you think about it in another way, if your choice has been changed to decide between two efficiency championships, then choose the one that has had the longest tradition of being cutting edge, and testing efficiency properly over endurance races.

    But why cant they do both?
    They have the resources, take an F1 power train around Le Mans and see how it goes.

    In the end though, when has anyone ever taken a Ferrari threat seriously? Its always bluster

  34. In his complaints Luca reminds me of Enzo.

    Doesn’t – Ferrari realize that F1 succeeds if all the teams are supported commercially?

  35. Do people honestly think that there will be any change to the quality of racing without Ferrari? Personally, since I found out that they were effectively skimming off the top, I’ve wanted to see Ferrari either loose that advantage (and suck it up) or leave the sport entirely.

    Why should they be any different than any other team? Oh, we’re too important for the sport to loose…. What a crock! Go on then, leave the sport and see if we notice the difference. Pound to a pinch of the smelly stuff their bottom line would be effected before we notice it in a race.

    Hows about we give Man Utd an extra £50m a year because they’ve been the force to be reckoned with in the modern game. Nope, don’t think so. Bernie should realise he doesn’t need red cars on the track to put on a show!

  36. I’ve watched F1 for 25 years. I couldn’t care less if Ferrari are in the championship or not. I’ve never understood why Ferrari and Monte Carlo are considered sacred cows of the sport. They need F1 much more than F1 needs them. If Ferrari left the sport and they removed Monte Carlo from the calendar the fans would have forgotten both in very short order and it would have zero impact on the long term health of he sport.

    I really do wish they’d institute some sort of cost cap and then totally relax the technical regulations so we can get back to some true engineering innovation. Unfortunately it seems that there are too many self interested parties to force that sort of thinking through. Shame.

    1. Monaco is all about glamour and business. That’s why Formula 1 (and the teams) need to be there.

      Personally I wouldn’t want Monaco to go. We need one of those, just totally crazy circuits. It’s exciting to watch these way overpowered cars (for that particular circuit) navigate the streets of Monaco. From an overtaking perspective, not much is happening, but that’s okay, as long as there aren’t too many circuits like that in a year.

      As for Ferrari. I wouldn’t want them to go, none of the other teams (perhaps only Red Bull) just have that excitement around it. McLaren has been around for years, but it just doesn’t have the same excitement as Ferrari. Ferrari is passion, while McLaren is cold and calculated (and to me Mercedes is like that too, German decency). What I would like to see is less whining from Luca, and to get their heads down and build a proper car and engine. Luca is very selective when it comes to this, when his team is winning everything is perfect, when it’s not, he’ll throw a hissy fit and threaten to stop playing with the others. He meant a lot for Ferrari, but perhaps it’s time for some fresh blood. Too bad politics didn’t work out for him…

    2. When LdM says F1 needs Ferrari, he might like to remember why the whole thing exists.to fund Enzo’s F1 team. So who actually needs who? I wouldn’t be fussed if they went tomorrow.

      Le Mans is very good this year, btw. Porche to win on their return?

  37. Great analysis – thanks.
    I wonder if one sticking point in the costing negotiations was the leaving-out of this financial advantage from the parameters.
    “By little steps you increase to domination.”

  38. “If the overall viewing figures of Formula 1 are falling it is because the commercial rights holder is putting some of the sport’s biggest TV markets behind pay-walls.” This is why I can only watch less than half the races, to my fury and disappointment. When one thinks of the money already swilling around in F1 it infuriates me that this is done; even the most fanatical fans cannot always afford to pay to view, and trying to recruit new fans is hindered. They don’t need the money from TV rights on top of everything else!

    As these deals come up for renewal, the rights holder should open the bidding to non-pay TV companies only and make it a term of the contract that they will never charge for viewing any part of the race “weekend” (including testing). They’ll see viewing figures jump.

    1. But the problem is that they really don’t care. As long as FOM are making money they aren’t concerned if viewing figures drop. All FOM care about is income. The fans REALLY don’t matter to them. Joe has made numerous posts about the FOM business plan and he’s right – all they care about is profits. As long as the tracks pay their fees and the paywall TV pays its fees it’s all good. If the tracks don’t make money, too bad for them; if fewer people watch the races, well then so what, as long as FOM gets theirs.

  39. It’s not about loosing with or without grace, it’s about securing profits. Other teams that are in a similar position where they can afford to complain, will do so to protect their interests. It’s how our society works unfortunately with money.

  40. I have been watching F1 regularly since Kyalami 1993. Since then I have learned about F1 history, and I know that Ferrari have a long history of threatening to leave F1! Ferrari threatened to leave F1 in the mid eighties .. they even made a Ferrari IndyCar to prove their point!

    IMHO Ferrari are unhappy because they are struggling. I don’t remember Ferrari threatening to leave between 2000 and 2008, during which they won six drivers titles and seven constructors titles 😉

    How do I watch F1? Mein RTL … and I don’t live in Germany 🙂

  41. Aaaand there goes Porche, out of Le Mans.

    Well, if I’m hexing people, good luck to Mercedes for the rest of the season. There. That should give us a few more race winners in F1 this season. 😉

  42. A smarter business man and better negotiater doesn’t make you a cheater (it also doesn’t make you a better race car builder). So are Red Bull and Mercedes “smaller cheaters” because they got less money and maybe a lump sum instead of a percentage? CVC and Bernie are very intelligent business people and know their revenues will fall if Ferrari leaves F1. They don’t hand out an extra $85 million for no reason.
    Who said life is fair, surely not the world of big business, and that is what F1 is all about. Racing is secondary to the powers at be in F1.

  43. Looking at this weekend’s Le Man’s it seems Ferrari would struggle here as well.

    Bernie and co should take a long hard look at WEC – as a long time F1 fan I’d say it’s technically more advanced, the racing is more interesting, the fan involvement is done as it should be using the internet to it’s potential and it’s much better value.

    Would I pay to go to F1 now? No – it’s poor value. Would I pay Sky to watch F1? No.

    Would I pay to go to WEC? Absolutely.

    Bernie is too smart not to realise that taking the money from pay TV will diminish viewing figures/cause long term harm to sponsorship so 2 possible reasons – maximise the cash extraction in the time he has left or decrease the value so he can buy it all on the cheap.

    Very much time that Bernie and CVC left F1, though how you replace them without the ‘next’ lot doing just the same isn’t clear.

    Sadly, and I say this as a long term fan, F1 is becoming less popular and less relevant and the people who must know that they are killing the golden goose just don’t care. Shame on you Bernie, CVC, Luca st al

    Now, as a motorsport fan, I’m very happy to be going back to watch the end of a FANTASTIC Le Mans

  44. I think people want to see a return of free ideas and different types of experimental cars and combinations. that is the essence of F1. There should simply be a set overall budget regardless of any entity from where it came from lets say 200M P/A and you can do whatever you want to make the best / fastest / winning combination from there. this rewards: technology , efficiency, innovation, excellent driving and would produce an guaranteed marketing spectacle that people and hence sponsors would want to see.

  45. This nothing but an anti Italian comment. What LDM is saying is 100% correct, other teams have said the same thing but because Ferrari have the biggest voice you single out LDM.

    Ferrari get more than any other team because they have been part of F1 since the beginning. Ferrari is formula 1 you are delusional if you think F1 would be perfectly fine without them.

  46. This is nothing but an anti Italian comment. Other team principals have said the exact same thing but you single out LDM be a use Ferrari have the biggest voice. He has been saying this for years now it has nothing to do with Ferrari ‘ s current form.

    Ferrari get the most amount of revenue because they have been part of F1 since the beginning and in case you haven’t noticed look around next time you attend a GP to see how many Scuderia fans are in attendance. You are delusional if you think that F1 would be perfectly fine without Ferrari, they are F1 the two are inseparable.

  47. In fairness to LdM he seems to be saying some sensible thngs, some of which Joe himself has advocated.

    In the letter, di Montezemolo suggests Ecclestone brings together F1’s main stakeholders – including teams, media, television companies, and race promoters – for an open workshop to establish what is wrong and how it should be fixed.

    He also believes that companies that are not directly involved in F1 – such as social media platforms and companies like Google and Apple – should be invited too.

    He does not seem to be asking for a Ferrari joker card to give them yet another advantage.

  48. I did a Tasman Series with a Ferrari and people do really come to see a Ferrari race car. At a workshop somewhere one guy gave us his phone number and asked us to call him, any time of day or night before we started it up so he could hear it run. While Ferrari does have a cachet, and that is important, in the 70s the F1 team simply did not show up for several races in a season but the planet kept turning, For years they were a joke in terms of competitiveness and driver line up until Monza time when they suddenly sprouted mega horsepower???. These matters tend to occur in cycles and the current period is a Red downturn just as it is a Red Bull low period, but this too shall pass.

  49. Great blog entry Joe, No better way to get your commenters off your back re: the ‘Ticket Price” entry you wrote then to trot out Ferrari as the villain again. Works like a charm every time.

  50. Isn´t the Montezemolo hubbub and his wish of an ominous “future meeting” the old Ecclestone pattern to stir up as much controversy as possible to change regulation afterwards? Like he tried already in 1982, with JMB as his ally at that time? Did he succeed at that time? No. We even don´t know yet if he will (respectively CAN) take part….Ferrari didn´t get the turbo era Nr.1 right, so it was about constant whining unless the V12 engine was reset. But that was a different time. BE and LdM are no protagonists of a future.

    1. Edit: It should be mentioned that Ferrari was considering a four inline in the mid-eighties obviously to get their fuel efficiency right, but idea was rejected because of the engine couldn´t be used as stressed member. Should be told to LdM.

  51. Happy Fathers Day. Thanks for the having the fatherly patience to continue to allow us fans to interact with you and see our bloviations published. (smiley)

  52. As usual Luca sounds like a whining petulant child. Shame because he has such a great track record behind him.

    The best thing would be if Ferrari left. F1 would then realise that it doesn’t ‘need’ Ferrari whilst Ferrari would start to understand exactly how important F1 is to them.

    Pay per view may be a short term cash cow (welcome to investment firms ownership) but long term is a terrible idea. Apart from football ppv has ruined many sports in the UK. Sucked the cash and failed to bring in new viewers.

  53. I agree with all you say on this Joe.
    Two things, sometimes having too much money can stifle creativity,
    and I am not convinced that Ferrari would be missed – at least if they keep losing so comprehensively.

  54. As a McLaren can of 30 years I actually experienced physical pain at the “minnows” line listing “the likes of” Force India and then McLaren.

    I don’t disagree just don’t like it.

  55. Montezemelo is right. We want good racing on the track. So what if the winner uses 2 lites less fuel than the second place guy. It’s never going to make headlines that anyone will read.

    1. The teams will always minimize the fuel they get away with on the track. Even in the good old days that Briatore and the like are harking back to teams would always use as little fuel as possible as it would save weight.

      The reality is that the cars will always need to be slowed and limited as they get closer and closer to the limits of the drivers human capabilities. Limiting fuel is a very simple way of doing this, as it means the engineers have to be more creative in how to find solutions to the problems.

  56. Over in the UK we have just had the first adverts for the new Mistubishi (I think) ‘plug in hybrid’ giving 140(ish) mpg, zero road tax etc. What if Mercedes, Ferrari etc produced sports cars that had decent MPG figures and zero road tax using current technology from F1. I really do think Luca is looking at this in an ‘arse about face’ way. If the cars were affordable (comparable to current products) then they’d sell loads of ’em.

    Still, none so blind as those that cannot see……

  57. Thanks, Joe, I think it’s a great service at this point to have the reality behind Montezemolo’s public pronouncements so clearly laid out in a single piece like this…

  58. The only thing that Ferrari now share with the Ferrari image of the “good old days” that people seem to be clinging on to is the badge. The modern company is a luxury brand with a “passion” for making money, not motor cars. Of course I’m sure there are many employees of the company who work there for the right reasons, but at the top, where the decisions are made, it’s just about selling cars to rich playboys, and projecting the right image to those who want to buy into it, and at the moment F1 doesn’t fit into that narrative perfectly, so they’re whining. F1 without Ferarri would be no less than it is now. it will always be part of it’s history, and would be welcomed back when they rediscover what proper fair racing should be about.

  59. Joe,

    Is there any way to know how many times Ferrari have used their Veto Power and in what instances?

    Best regards

  60. Hi Joe,

    I mean this rhetorically rather than passing any criticism on you:

    Surely the biggest problem is that you are actually the only person (publicly) complaining about this. If it were Liverpool, as you commented above, all the other PL teams would be making a massive deal over it.

    For there not to be all-out war and mudslinging in the media (by any non-Ferrari affiliated team) suggests that everyone colludes in this.

    Why?

      1. Why don’t any of the other constructors care?

        I can understand those who are also bought off with Bernie Bucks keeping quiet… but that’s not most…

    1. The Premier League have actually been quite clever at evenly distributing the wealth within the division – high ups at clubs like Manchester United have realised the benefits of a league-wide TV deal and *fairly* even spread of TV money up and down the table. It’s a trick that La Liga have missed and consequently leads to questions of whether La Liga is an easier league for the star players to rack up goals in.

      However, the Premier League TV deals have left a huge chasm between the bottom places in the Premier League and the upper reaches of the Championship, those without a voice at the table have no say in what the Premier League do.

      Which is why the structure of the F1 Strategy Group always looked like an accident waiting to happen…

  61. The true loss of not having Ferrari on the grid is losing another engine/PU supplier to the smaller teams.

    With Honda coming back aboard perhaps Luca is ruing the potential competition from yet another engine manufacturer.

    If Renault stays and we have Mercedes AND Honda, Ferrari and LM can sail into history. And take any Italian based F1 races off the schedule as well.

    1. Ferrari could stay as an engine supplier only, but I suspect that corporate ego would not let them do that. They would have to build a car or not compete at all. Yes, their leverage will be reduced after 2015 when Honda’s exclusive window with McLaren ends.
      At this level of sport and commerce, leverage is what really matters. Ferrari has convinced enough people that it is essential to modern F1, which gives them a lot of leverage. I personally doubt that any single team or manufacturer is essential. As Max Moseley said many years ago, manufacturers come and go all the time, because F1 is not a core business, it is simply an engineering training ground or marketing option. Clearly enough people differ on whether Ferrari is essential to F1.

      1. Agree with all your points, but we have to remember Ill Commandetore’s chief axiom for selling road cars: To support his/Ferrari’s racing ambitions.

        I doubt they will ever sell engines only, and they are deserving of some recognition for their historical commitment to the sport. But certainly not the huge financial advantage they have managed to pry from BE’s grasp at the expense of all others.

        Montezemolo’s latest clarion call for a meeting to determine the sport’s future direction is self serving at best and hypocritical as well.

        1. Yes, well, colour me cynical. Ferrari were all in favour of FOTA for a while, until they realized that they could negotiate their own special deal with FOM, at which point they withdrew and forced their engine clients to withdraw also, which left them horribly exposed when it later came to doing deals with FOM.
          Ferrari’s track record is one of unbridled corporate narcissism.

  62. Still, F1 are becoming less exciting over the years, people get so excited with a little wheel to wheel action and some easy overtakes. With TV rights sold to pay TV like BSkyB, surely there is less people watching, and long term it would damage the influence of the sport.

    In terms, technical side of sports. I like the fact formula one is trying to move towards a more efficient formula. But rules should be less artificial and be more open to introduce more competition.

    As for Ferrari, I complete disagree and maybe I am fan of Ferrari. I think it is right for the Ferrari president call for change, the race need to be more exciting. In order to be exciting, team should be allowed to develop more aggressive cars and that means change is needed. The more exciting the race, more fans will come. F1 as it is, it is too hard for new comer to understand.

    When you called Ferrari a cheat because it has guaranteed 5% prize money. I can’t agree to this. As much as Ferrari enjoyed fame of formula one, Ferrari helped to F1 to attract fans as long as it exits. The prize money to me means reward for loyalty. Like any organisation( company , airlines) you will always reward people who have made contribution and showed loyalty.

    What is fairness? Should Formula one become Premier League full of rich families try to have a bit of fun whenever they like? After all, Ferrari definitely have most of fans around world for the longest period of time.

    1. I didn’t call Ferrari a cheat. I said what they do is unfair. It is not guaranteed prize money. It is five percent of all revenues PLUS prize money. If they win they will win with an unfair advantage. It is a flawed achievement. If you support that, fine. But that merely means that you have odd ideas about sportsmanship.

      1. sportsmanship? Only if Formula one only had such thing. Formula one never been fair and will never be. Yes Ferrari had the 5% plus prize money if that is true( I read somewhere else this automatic payment is like $17m also instead of $80m you are claiming). But If you look at the top teams budget are they $80m different? Maybe it is unfair to smaller teams but in terms of wining the championship, there is never be a disadvantage. Does likes of Red Bull or Mercedes care if they want to win?

        1. Believe me, if the $80 million figure was wrong I’d have had Ferrari dancing on my head for the last few days. In any case, I am absolutely sure of the sourcing. So, have a little more faith in me and do not bother to use the expression “claiming”. I consider it to be rather rude. As to whether there is sportsmanship in F1, I am afraid that you are living in a very sad place if you do not believe that exists. Yes, teams are always looking for an advantage over their rivals but there are limits to this. I don’t consider different sized budgets to be a problem. the problem is that there is a special deal between Ferrari and the F1 powers-that-be. This is not right.

          1. Thanks for assurance, I will take your world for it.

            Ok, Sportsmanship, what I meant is there is never complete fairness in F1. Other than fairness, F1 has every other elements.

            If different size of budget is not a problem plus top teams all have similar budgets. Surely there is no advantage gained by Ferrari in term of completing for championship. Commercially, I agree it is unfair for Ferrari to extra money out of sport. Maybe if Ferrari keep not wining till next Concorde agreement negotiation situation might change.

  63. Have to disagree also. F1 without Ferrari would not have the same value. LDM agreed to this years rules because, contrary to their ‘special status’, they would rather go-along to get-along. F1 performance not-withstanding, their number one priority now is selling road-cars and they do not sell as many as Mercedes or Renault or Honda. Without an engine they can transfer over they need to distance themselves politically from their F1 activities for the sake of the road car business, which presumably will continue with V8’s & V12’s. In spirit only, if not from actually leaving F1, which they will never do and LDM never said. This was the fabricated conjecture of the monkey typewriter-press you deride yet on this occasion have joined in and sided with. So which is it, nothing else to write about this Monday or actually have a legitimate issue with Ferrari and LDM??

  64. In my opinion, Ferrari will not improve until LdM is gone. He may have been successful in the past, but has long since exceeded his sell-by date.

    The rot starts at the top, the entire organization is a reflection of the man who leads it.
    He himself is the impediment to the change he seeks.

  65. Joe we all know F1 has turned into a four horse race. CVC, Merc, Ferrari and Red Bull. This year and most likely 2015 are Merc years due to engine design freeze. In 2016 Ferrari wants the championship again, fair enough. These four partners are running the game ( sport ) as a circus. Lotus, Sauber, Williams, Mclaren and other minnows will never win a constructors. You know this and most intelligent fans know this. The Merc power train is so advanced, beating the Ferrari by 1.5 seconds and RB by 1.2 per lap. Nothing against Lewis or Nico but boredom has set in once again on race day. This is my first year I have followed WEC. The LMP1’s are just magic. Raw racing, little Fia B*** and just pure magic! F1 should just get back to it’s roots

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