News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More On Ferrari Testing

As mentioned before on this Blog and elsewhere, Ferrari continue to test their F2005 challenger during grand prix weekends, essentially breaking test ban agreements. This has angered the other teams who responded with a "Dear Luca" letter last Sunday evening. Earlier on last week, a letter from nine teams were addressed to Ferrari to deal with the issue of testing. Sauber later on backing out by issuing a statement to that effect.

In this story on and this one by The Independent in London, a Ferrari continue to assert that the additional testing is in response to the unfair situation where Ferrari are the only major Bridgestone team and hence are disadvantaged by the current test agreements. What irks me even more is Jean Todt's statement that these politicking is "unnecessary. It's a situation we didn't create."

There are major flaws in these arguments that would be obvious to anyone who wasn't viewing the world through rosso corsa tinted glasses.

First, most obvious and on the contrary to Jean Todt's statement, is that this situation was created by Ferrari in the first place. As Geoff Willis mentioned, the Bridgestone tyres were created to Ferrari's specifications. It was at Ferrari's insistence that it be the case. This single factor forced many teams to look for a tyre manufacturer that would serve their needs equally and left Ferrari to be the only major team left. No, Mr Todt, you are directly responsible for this politicking.

Second, in essence the Bridgestone tyres are bespoke creations for Ferrari. They are built to Ferrari specifications. All Bridgestone testing therefore is for the sole benefit of Ferrari alone. Essentially Bridgestone development is Ferrari development. So, it cannot be argued that it is for the benefit of any other team. Certainly not for Minardi or Jordan. Saying that testing during the Grand Prix weekend is for Bridgestone's benefit doesn't hold water. It really is for Ferrari.

Third, it surely cannot be suggested that the testing that goes on during GP weekends are solely for the benefit of tyre testing. It is to develop other aspects of the car including engine and especially aerodynamics. To simply throw Bridgestone in the equation is disingenious.

Ferrari's recalcitrance in this matter boggles the mind. This Blog has accused them of being more alike a political party than a racing team but this is simply going too far. It would be madness now for the other teams to sign any Concorde agreement that carries a Ferrari veto. The rules are meant to be applied equally to all. But as usual, Ferrari demand special consideration.

Ferrari's attitude makes Renault's current domination ever sweeter. Some teams do follow the rules and still manage to whip their bottoms. In fact, quite a few teams did last Sunday. Everyone realizes Ferrari's urgency to get back on top but surely they must do it within the rules. These blatant transgressions simply demonstrates their lack of honour and unsporting behaviour.

I'm sure many Ferrari fans would argue for their beloved team. But I simply cannot understand how they can.

I say there can be no compromises against these mafia like behaviour from Ferrari. For the good of motor racing as a whole, a new championship under a new, fair and balanced regime must be established once the current Concorde agreement ends. Ferrari should be welcome to join in but should they resort to their usual behaviour, the penalties to them should be severe and fatal to their entry.

Meantime, I hope Renault et al demonstrate that it is possible to win against these Italian thugs whilst honouring agreements and conforming to sporting behaviour.


Jay Steele said...

I completely agree. I often wonder if I completely understand what is going on, as the lunacy of Ferrari's arguments is so far to the right it almost wraps back around to the left again (using a political party metaphor).

I've noticed some recent comments after Malaysia from Bernie that seems to be in support of cutting back Ferrari's testing.

With Bridgestone tyres failing the grade and the slow start to the season in general, I think Ferrari are in big trouble this year. They'll turn it around, but will it be enough?

I love it.

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