According to Luca di Montezemolo, there is still a risk that formula one teams will break away and form a rival series after 2012.
Although the political row with departed FIA president Max Mosley ended with peace, the current Concorde Agreement expires before the 2013 season and the Ferrari president hints that the teams are once again pushing for more of the sport’s lucrative revenue.
According to the Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary who attended Thursday’s media dinner with Montezemolo, the 63-year-old likens F1 at present to a “prison”.
“We are at a crossroads,” said Montezemolo.
He said three scenarios are possible: the status quo, new owners for the sport with Bernie Ecclestone in charge, or a model like “the NBA”.
America’s premier basketball league is owned by the teams.
“In the end we can always find a different promoter. At the end of the day this business is not so complicated,” said Montezemolo.
Whether or not the latest breakaway threat will fail as did all the others, Ferrari’s clout is as powerful as ever and Montezemolo made clear he is no fan of the new four-cylinder engine formula for 2013.
Suffering from a bad cold and not eating dinner along with his colleagues, Montezemolo was quoted by Germany’s Welt newspaper: “We must not exaggerate the savings.
“We also must not overdo it, as we have done already with the testing ban.”
The Spanish newspaper El Pais quotes him as adding: “Ferrari will never make (road) cars with four cylinders.
“(And) what they (FIA) want to do is cut costs, but all they do is raise them if the rules change every five minutes. This is formula one, which should be the spearhead of technological development.”
He played down persistent rumours that, as a reaction to Ferrari’s championship loss due to a simple strategy mistake, significant heads will roll.
“At Ferrari we believe in stability,” the Spanish sports newspaper Marca quotes him as saying.
“But that doesn’t mean the team is locked, we need to open the window from time to time to breathe fresh air.”
On the subject of newly-legalised team orders, Montezemolo admitted for the first time that Ferrari went too far in Austria in 2002; the place-swapping controversy that triggered the ban.
“I think it (the team order in Austria) was too soon (in the season), but not in the case of Germany (2010),” he said. “Fernando was faster than Felipe.
“What is not right is when it is taking place in the first races of the year.”
He said Felipe Massa will therefore begin 2011 on an equal footing with Fernando Alonso. “I want two drivers fighting for the championship, not someone frustrated at the first race.
“This is very important, but in the second half of the season we will have an open mind and understand that the drivers know what to do if needed.”
Montezemolo promised that if team orders are deployed, it will be done transparently for the benefit of the spectators.
He also teased those present who were hoping for a shock announcement about his decision to enter Italian politics.
“I have an important announcement to make,” he joked. “I am starting my own party!
“Seriously, I have spoken with the Ferrari family and I can say that my future is here. This work is my life and it will remain so.”
© RIF | GMM