It must be that time of the year when Ferrari wants something from Formula 1, as Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has hit the microphones and newspapers once again with more ‘cry wolf’ threats that the Italian carmaker will cut ties with the sport.
While di Montezemolo, along with all Formula 1 fans, certainly knows the value of the Ferrari brand in the sport, the simple fact is that we have heard these threats so many times that they simply become worthless.
Speaking at Ferrari’s World Finals event at Mugello, di Montezemolo said: “Formula 1 is still our life, but without Ferrari there is no Formula 1, just as without Formula 1 Ferrari would be different.”
Those even remotely familiar with the sport will know that its history is littered with the corpses of frontline teams that have fallen by the wayside. The likes of Honda, Mercedes and Renault have seemingly come and gone from the sport at will. The simple fact is that no one team is indispensable from the sport. Not even Ferrari.
Previous threats from Ferrari have seen the sport cave in time and time again. The team already garners an extra percentage in recognition of its ongoing contribution to the sport, it also enjoyed a period where it had final sign-off on every rules change.
“We can be very patient but there are precise conditions for us to continue with our work,” di Montezemolo continues.
“What is not so good is that 90 per cent of performance is now based exclusively on aerodynamics and another negative is that ours is the only sport where no testing is allowed,” he added.
These arguments are all well and good, but in-season testing is only useful for the teams that can afford to do so, and his position on this matter is certainly in conflict with his view that the sport must continue with “keeping an eye on costs”.
Di Montezemolo went on to yet again state his support for three-car teams, an anachronistic concept at best. Such a situation would actually threaten the very health of the sport, as it would deprive the midfield teams the opportunity of moving further up the order. Sure, seeing three Ferraris at the front of the field might be good for Ferrari, but is it good for the overall health of Formula 1?
He also went on to suggest that the current rules deny Ferrari the “opportunities for the youngsters we are bringing on in the Ferrari Driver Academy”.
That’s a matter entirely for Ferrari, and there’s nothing to stop the team from running its junior drivers as it sees fit. But Ferrari has also not put its faith in a debutant driver in well over thirty years.
Let’s also not forgot that the Italian government is on the verge of finally falling apart, and there have long been rumours that di Montezemolo is the next man in line to replace the country’s troubled figurehead, Silvio Berlusconi. Is this latest outburst simply a way of keeping his name in the headlines?
How dare we be so cynical…
[Images via LAT and Reuters]