News and views on motorsports

Thursday, May 12, 2005


I can't believe Luca di Montezemolo sometimes. In this article in the formidable head of the albeit crumbling Fiat empire lambasts the current rules of Formula 1. But really its not for the right reason. More can be found in this article on ITV-F1.

According to di Montezemolo, "We have arrived now at a championship that is more for tyres than for cars". Furthermore he says, "But now rules have been made which I don't consider suitable for F1 and which have turned out to be efficient in limiting the excessive power of Ferrari."

Look here Monty. There are those like Paul Stoddart who would argue that it was Ferrari who wrote or at least wanted these rules in the first place. It was Ferrari after all whom the FIA invited to evaluate the rules first hand. Remember that test at Monza last year? But really that's a highly contentious allegation. So we'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

But frankly, the regulations have up until now been to Ferrari's benefit. Take the current points system for instance. The gap between the winner and second is only two points, when in previous years it was ten points to the winner and six for second place. If you win, you only pull out the tiniest of gaps to your rival who came in second. But if your car goes bust in a cloud of engine smoke, then your rival will pull this enormous gap that's next to impossible to catch at times. Its easier to lose ground to your rival than to gain up on them. But it has always been to Ferrari's benefit what with their rock solid reliability.

If your car was a Ferrari of previous years, your reliability would be almost unquestionable. You could almost rely on the fact that you can pull out a great championship lead simply because people like McLaren and Williams can be relied upon to be unreliable.

And what about the two race engine rule or even the previous one engine per weekend. It penalizes those with poor reliability. If you need to switch engines, you simply get penalized. People like Mercedes for instance have been punished time and again because of it. Who does it benefit? A team with almost unbreakable reliability. A team like Ferrari. Many people have commented on this, even former Ferrari pilot Nigel Mansell.

But you know what? The great thing is Mercedes just got on with it anyhow. So does BMW, Renault, Honda and Toyota.

In previous years, Bridgestone could always be relied upon to produce a better product than its rival Michelin. This benefits Ferrari enormously since Bridgestone favours the Maranello team and basically designs the tyres for them. A lot of Ferrari's victories are down to Bridgestone. In fact one could imagine last year that the one tyre per race rule would have given Bridgestone an even greater advantage.

But Bridgestone got it wrong. Michelin got it right. And di Montezemolo instead of graciously taking defeat and fighting back instead blames the rules for it. Rules that in the past benefitted his team. But of course now that they are back to their rightful place, that is losing all the bloody time, the rules are suddenly no good for di Montezemolo. Yeah he's probably pissed off because despite all the obvious schmoozing with the FIA to get special privileges, they're now in a losing position.

At least Jean Todt in this interview has the decency to admit that the Bridgestone situation was of Ferrari's own making. They wanted it that way. And in doing so, forced the other teams to switch to Michelin leaving them to take the full burden of testing.

And even so, so what? The Bridgestones are designed for Ferrari anyway. So all that testing really is for Ferrari's benefit. And you just know that Ferrari will not stop testing. Ross Brawn recently admitting that they are prepared to go beyond even their 30000km mileage limit if needs be. And Ferrari says their cost cutting proposals actually save money. All jolly well since Bridgestone pays them to test their products.

But this is really Ferrari's behaviour since the days of Enzo himself. If you can't beat the opposition, get the rules changed. These cronies are such pricks. And that is why its so good seeing them eating dirt right now. Long may it be so.

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