Ferrari: Ecclestone is old, F1’s a ‘joke’


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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