Luca Di Montezemolo has throw down the gauntlet sending the first public shot across Bernie Ecclestone and CVC’s bow.I surmised that a unified FOTA could carry tremendous weight in this sport and while I am sure Bernie will have a dismissive comment regarding Luca’s statement; we’ll see how this one plays out.
The current global financial crisis may be the catalyst of change in F1 and FOTA are keen to use it to expose the distribution of revenue and more parity in the sports income and overall running/promoting. Why is this statement important when other similar comments have been made in the past? Because of two reason actually: 1. It is Luca saying this. In the past, Ferrari and Bernie have usually had an amicable relationship and Ferrari have generally towed the line for Max and Bernie in the past. This time it is different. Luca seem nonplussed with the direction F1 is heading. 2. This time, Luca has the unified support of all the other teams. The only thing I am looking for now is a corroboration statement from Ron or Flav or Frank. It would add some muscle behind Luca’s comments. Hopefully Autosport will jab a microphone in front of Ron shortly. Pop some popcorn folks…this should be a good show. Excerpt below, fulls story here.
“I’m quite optimistic,” he said. “If we continue to work like this, we can achieve important results. In every company we have to cut costs. But also to increase the revenue.
“We need to work at that and we seek in the future to work it out with Bernie Ecclestone and (F1 owners CVC’s Donald) MacKenzie. We have a contract with them until 2012 and we have to work and talk together. As soon as we have finished our plans with cutting the costs for the next three years, we start another book.”
Di Montezemolo said that one of the priorities from the talks with Ecclestone will be in getting more transparency in how the sport’s commercial income is distributed.
“In terms of revenue, we want to know more about them,” he said. “Theoretically, like in other professional sports, like basketball in the USA, we can have a league made by us and appoint a good league manager to run our own business. Because it is our own business.
“We want to know the revenues better so we can decrease the cost of the tickets. Then we have the matter of traditional tracks rather than exotic tracks just because they have a nice skyline. We have to discuss the show. How to promote. I’m not prepared any more to have all this dictated to us by outside without any control.”
He added: “I think in one way or another the players have to be more involved in the sport. Do you think it’s normal that we don’t have even one race in North America? Do you think it’s normal that we find out Canada has been dropped by reading the newspaper?
“Do you think it’s normal that we see important sponsors that we pay an unbelievable amount of money for hospitality to promote ourselves. Do you think it’s normal we can’t discuss when our races are held?
“This is not polemic. It is not a game. F1 is my life. We start from the (current financial) crisis, which if it doesn’t last long, thank God for the crisis. Because finally it’s made us take a step back. It’s the only way to go back, to get our feet back on the ground.”