Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, 2012

FIA ‘lacked courage’ on Mercedes test – Montezemolo

2013 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo accused the FIA of damaging F1’s credibility by treating Mercedes too leniently after discovering they had conducted an illegal test.

In an interview for Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra also published on Ferrari’s website Montezemolo said he was pleased to see a limited reintroduction of in-season testing had been agreed for 2014:

“We will finally have testing again and not a farce like what we saw this year with one team doing illegal testing without even paying the right penalty for it. In this case, I would have expected more clarity and courage from the FIA.”

Montezemolo claimed Mercedes’ form since the test, which took place before the Monaco Grand Prix, showed they had benefitted from the three days spent at the Circuit de Catalunya:

“The benefits gained by the team that carried out the secret banned testing are watched by everyone: before then, it had not won a single grand prix, then after the test it won three out of five races. These are the sort of serious incidents that affect F1’s credibility and alter the championship.”

“Formula One… has to be a clean sport without any of the monkey business we have had to put up with in recent years,” he added.

Bernie Ecclestone should have also spoken out against Mercedes’ said Montezemolo: “I don’t want to have discussions with Ecclestone, I have had some in the recent past, because he was too talkative on the subject of Ferrari, but surprisingly silent on the subject of the illegal tests carried out by Mercedes.”

Montezemolo is looking forward to a “completely different F1, finally less dependent on aerodynamics”, in 2014. “I build cars not planes,” he said.

He believes Red Bull have thrived in recent years because most of the performance gains to be found under the current regulations come from aerodynamics:

“With the current regulations favouring aerodynamics, Red Bull was clever in getting a great designer, Adrian Newey, to get the most out of all aspects of the regulations.

“I will digress: this aspect of the rules is, in my opinion, a mistake and therefore needs changing. Luckily, the hoped for changes are coming.

“We don’t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order. We will stay in F1 as long as it can be considered a test bed for advanced research, the highest technology and worthwhile for a great company like Ferrari, which is known and appreciated around the world.”

2013 F1 season

Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

72 comments on “FIA ‘lacked courage’ on Mercedes test – Montezemolo”

  1. Mercedes didn’t attend the YDT + tyre testing, i think FIA punished Merc more with adding tyre test at that day

    1. I agree, using Montezemelo reasoning Mercedes should have been a loser because of this and Ferrari should have improved. I do however agree with Montezemelo about aerodynamics being all important in F1 but (in F1 form) totally irrelevant to cars.

      1. I do however agree with Montezemelo about aerodynamics being all important in F1 but (in F1 form) totally irrelevant to cars.

        @hohum But somehow I doubt he’d be whining about it if Ferrari was doing the winning instead. (I know, I know, it’s the way it works…)

      2. Marc Saunders
        5th August 2013, 1:13

        Ferraris cars use a lot of aerodynamics. Without it you can´t drive such fast cars. Even normal cars use many aerodynamic measures to diminish fuel consumtion and assure stability. Iit´s stupid to think and wish to go to the past. Aerodynamics were used in 1938 for instance by Ferdinand Porsche and in 1899 by the first car to overcome 100 km/h.

  2. Ahem! Germany 2010?

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      3rd August 2013, 22:14

      like it or not, nothing lillegal happened that race, but I agree that race, among others, diminished credibility in F1

      1. Well, actually team orders were illegal in 2010 and Ferrari only got a fine. So even though I agree with some of the points of di Montezmolo, he is not the person to speak about it.

      2. @omarr-pepper, that is incorrect.

        From the 2010 regulations, article 39.1: “Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited.”

        It was barn door illegal, and the FIA waved it through. So Montezemelo, like usual, is conversing with his posterior (to make a rude phrase polite).

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          4th August 2013, 0:29

          thanks for reminding me the rules at that time. Concerning the punishment (and I’m going into “ifs”) Ferrari penalty for that could have been for that race, right? I mean, probably a DSQ or drop placles for Alonso, but that is all. However, Mercedes can be harvesting all these results due to that test. for that reason the punishbent should have been much stronger

          1. @omarr-pepper

            Well, actually it could have been much worse. Ferrari could have been considered to have “brought the sport into disrepute”, and that opens them up to quite a lot.

            I just want to clarify what @mouse_nightshirt said, The FIA did fine Ferrari $100,000 for breaking the rules which forms an acknowledgement that they did break the rules, however, in real terms that amount is water off a ducks back to Ferrari.

        2. What irritated me at the time was the amount of ex-drivers turned commentators who defended team orders even though they were illegal. I still don’t think we should have team orders and there could have been more done to prevent teams from using them, in both cases (Barrichello/Schumi, Massa/Alonso) Ferrari used them to the detriment of the sports image.

          1. as wrong as Germany was, no one cared when JPM gave kimi wins in 2005….

          2. Yeah and “Jenson…fuel saving till the end please…”

            Ferrari are no angels, Luca is an astute politician and is happy to flex his muscles around in F1..but isnt that what this game is all about? F1 is as much a political battle field as it is a technical war. I dont like the politics side of F1, but its is a start reality, that with this sport, politics are a part of it, you cannot separate one from the other.

            If we’re still talking about Alonso and Massa from 3 years ago something that tarnished the sport…well I can think of a host of other things that have gone well in tarnishing the name of the sport.

  3. By the way, was Montezemolo on holiday for a few months? He hasn’t said anything for a long time and then since Monday he had something to say each day.

    1. By the way, was Montezemolo on holiday for a few months?

      He was at an exclusive resort with Mr Burns having a blood transfusion, for you see, all vampires must have their blood renewed every 300 years or so (give or take). It’s very difficult to embrace an incubus lifestyle nowadays (especially with all the political correctness and hotdog stuffed crust pizza’s) so modern vampires tend to opt for the transfusion route.

  4. Guess who’s back.
    Back again.
    Luca’s back.
    Being mad.

  5. Only one of Mercedes wins could be called as suspicious, and that is Silverstone, given the nature of the circuit, and I still believe Vettel would have won had he not retired. Monaco was always going to Mercedes’, given that it is so difficult to overtake, and Hungary again is very difficult to overtake, coupled with new tyres.

    Perhaps Montezemolo should put more time and dedication into his own team and its faults, rather than trying to make excuses and tailor the sport to suit him. Having said that, if Ferrari don’t have the best engine next year, then it’s going to be pretty laughable.

    1. HAMILTON’S TYRE FAILURE forgot it? He was comfortably leading by 2secs until that happened, and had very good pace in SECTOR 2 AND PARTICULARLY SECTOR 3.. Could have seen a different story, Hamilton would have won that…

      1. No, I hadn’t forgotten his tyre failure, but I still believe that Vettel had the pace to beat him. The gains may have been small, but Seb was catching. Still, it’s irrelevant, and like I said that is the only race, in which Mercedes won that could have cast any doubt over the Mercedes test.

        1. Actualy Hamilton was pulling away when his tyre blow up.

        2. Uhm, if you were Live timing, and I am sure that f1 fans do this… Hamilton throughout the race was very quick in the FINAL two sectors, but was losing 2-3 tenths most of the time to Vettel in first sector, but recovering them back in the final sector.
          After the race, TOTO WOLFF, said that the conditions were cool there, 22 degrees Celsius, and admitted that if the temperature would raise above that 22 degrees, it might have been Webber winning the race… Lewis also had a damage floor since the tyre burst and still was able to catch Alonso, although he caught him too late but we saw that in the NURBURGRING, that Mercs still struggle on high fuel, on HIGH FUEL, not on 15-20 laps of fuel… But in Hungary, there is no question, NO QUESTION that the new tyres helped them, especially RED BULL. LEWIS DID A SUPERB LAP at qualifying to remove a possible Vettel win because when Vettel starts from POLE, it’s most of the time game over unless he messes up the start, get a failure of something or someone can do a huge miracle.
          So, in real Lewis would have won or had the chance to win that race in SILVERSTONE, I was live timing, taking every single detail into mind, and Lewis had the pace to win that race… SERIOUSLY.

          1. Not sure if you’re saying I’m not an F1 fan, or just mindlessly babbling…

          2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
            3rd August 2013, 23:19

            Do you really need live timing to tell if someone is pulling away or being caught, sorry, BEING CAUGHT?

          3. I don’t agree that that Vettel would have won, but calm down- no need to be snarky.

  6. With the YDT and the tire test in Silverstone it worked out quite nicely and gives the opportunity to move on. At least as long as Merc doesn’t win the WCC or WDC by a small margin. If so, then the discussion will start all over again.

  7. Haha, seriously Luca?

  8. It seems he can’t talk about F1 without criticising either the sport, a driver, or a team. Wind your neck in Luca.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      3rd August 2013, 22:16

      @deej92 now even Alonso is on his crosshair

      1. @omarr-pepper It says something when almighty Fernando publicly gets a slap on the wrist. Seeing another championship slipping by must really be getting to Luca. You’d think he’d be able to handle it better after the last few years though.

  9. Speaking of lacking courage, maybe Ferrari can find some courage and sack Stefano Domenicali and hire decent team principle.

    1. *Hire a decent team principal
      I really shouldn’t post when I’ve been drinking! :)

      1. A principle to live by?

        1. Traverse (@)
          4th August 2013, 4:13

          Principal as in chief leader, the person with highest authority above all others. Although a principle to live/operate by also makes sense within the sporting spirit of F1.

          1. I was thinking more of the spirit you may have consumed :)

  10. Montezemolo better keep really quiet about teams no being punished harshly enough. In his case the FIA was way to cowardly when they let Ferrari get away with team orders and subsequently lying about giving them.

    FIA was involved prior to that test. How Mercedes got even penalized is a mystery to me.

  11. The great point beetween the lines in Montezemolos statement is that Ferrari – even with the big brand in the sport – have lost some influence in F1 in the last years.

    Mercedes been able to get away with a soft punishment in Testgate shows that the Germans has now more power that Monty had realized. Now he knows.

    I´m sympathetic with his dig in aerodynamics, but let be honest: Ferrari will have a great chance next year onwards to show that they know how to build a great engine – something that Enzo was always proud of – and beat Red Bull and Vettel on their own terms.

    They will have no excuses…

    If they fail, something will need to be changed in the way the team is managed – starting with Montezemolo himself.

    It is a pity for Fernando. He is in the peek of his form without a car worth his talent…

    1. As much as I admire Ferrari for their continued presence in the sport, I can’t help but feel emotion plays too large a part in how they operate and it holds them back from adding to their championship tally.

      Back in the day, Enzo Ferrari refused to have mid engined Ferraris intially saying that “the horses pull the car rather than push it”. These days, we have Montezemelo complaining he builds cars, not aeroplanes. It’s this sort of emotional foot stamping that has been keeping Ferrari behind the curve in recent years. Their constant demand that their long and illustrious history should mean “more” seems to cost them their focus on just building the car as fast as they can.

      1. It’s good as long as you get your way. This is exactly what happens. The issue is Ferrari are on a loosing side.

        Same would have applied to other side if Ferrari got their way.

  12. A lot of people seem to be pinning their hopes on this “reduced importance of aerodynamics next year” notion, and I think they are doomed to disappointment.

    The new 2014 engines are going to quickly converge on a common power curve, as the V8’s did, and then be frozen in place to keep costs down – again as happened with the V8’s.. The tyres are going to be the same for everyone. The only area left where teams will be able to exercise any creativity will be in aerodynamics, which is exactly the case at present.

    Any vehicle capable of operating at speeds in the 200MPH range needs very sophisticated aerodynamics. This is as true of a Ferrari 458 or Beechcraft Bonanza as it is of an F1 car. If people really want to “get rid of aero” they will need to get rid of powerful engines first.

    1. Exactly, the cars themselves will be very different, and new designs and features will need to be found to get an advantage.
      It’s just the load of codswallop we come to expect from Luca.

    2. @jonsan,Sadly I believe you are correct re the engines, given how restrictive the regulations and the fuel curve are I doubt there will be any observable difference in performance, the electric part of the powertrain may provide some surprises however. Regarding the importance, or not, of “sophisticated aerodynamics” I would point out that MotoGP bikes achieve higher speeds than F1 cars without a wing or widget to be seen.

      1. You don’t see parts that stick out either in MotoGP, so aerodynamics still matters. However, in an F1 car, aerodynamics are mostly used to achieve high cornering speed (and to some extent high traction when accelerating) rather than high top speed.

        1. @mike-dee, true, in MotoGP you see the same sort of aerodynamics as used by F1 cars from the 50’s and 60’s, Le Mans cars like the D-type Jag and modern fuel-efficient cars like the Prius, Mercedes C class etc. the sort of aerodynamics that tries to reduce, not increase, aero-dynamic drag.

  13. Didn’t Ferrari participate in the “illegal” test with older cars twice? And participated in the YDT too.

    1. No. The tests they did were perfectly legal as the car(s) they used were old, as you said. The Mercedes test was done with a car that complies with this year’s technical regulations and that made it illegal.

      Not sure what you mean with the YDT part. Everyone’s allowed to use the current car there.

      1. I would hesitate to call those tests “perfectly legal” @tmekt. They weren’t.

        But they certainly were not illegal.

  14. Not this again…

  15. He’s rather bitter isn’t he?

  16. ‘“We don’t make drinks and I say that with all possible respect for those who make drinks, we are not a sponsor, but we design and build cars of the very highest order.’

    …But you’re still being beaten by them?

    1. @electrolite it’s a pathetic excuse: they are as professional a racing team as any and have definitely been the ones to beat over the past nearly 4 years now. So resorting to referring to them as a “drinks company” is just evading the fact that they’re whipping the prancing horse, who are supposedly a “car company”.

      1. In fairness Max, I think he was trying to differentiate between F1 of today, a sponsor driven entertainment, and F1 as it was, an engineering development competition.@vettle1

        1. @hohum I’m not being fair to him though because the implication is that they are not a “proper” racing team – that’s just grossly untrue as they have their eventual roots in Stewart GP. Red Bull have merely provided them with the funds and let the racing team get on with it, much as is the case with Ferrari (Santander and the road car department).

  17. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    4th August 2013, 1:26

    Di Monezemolo damages F1’s credibility.

  18. I think what he was getting at with the ‘we don’t make drinks’ thing is that it is perhaps harder to be all that passionate about teams with such little history in motorsport. Yes, I know RB has been sponsorting events for, what, ten years(?) but how could that ever compare to companies like Mercedes and Ferarri who have been involved since F1 began. I think it is a great pity for sport of F1 that more car manufacturers are not involved – it would make it more appealing to fans.
    I sure hope the new regs in 2014 mean engines have a greater role in determining the fastest car. While I would not denigrate the intelligence and ingenuity behind all the aero devices/upgrades teams come up with, it is so difficult to relate to.

    1. I know RB has been sponsorting events for, what, ten years(?)

      Off the top of my head I think their first motor racing sponsorship deal was in the mid-eighties with Gerhard Berger. Then they had a highly visible presence on Sauber from 1995.

  19. So when LDM does stuff he can do no wrong, doesn’t matter if it’s another team or his own driver anyone that does better or says something that is factual and puts LDM in his place is wrong. Cause as we know LDM like Bernie can do no harm…

  20. trust LDM to make statements for all of us to mull on and be enraged for days on end.

    Not too sure if Mercedes weren’t punished enough, I don’t remember the FIA ever being harsh on any major punishment it’s given in recent years (I could be wrong on this though). Mclaren were “only” stripped of their WCC points in 2007, and aren’t the chief culprits of the Piquet Jr crash in 2008 back in F1 circles?

  21. I don’t think I can express how mad statements like this make me without resorting to colourful language. Formula 1 is a competition, essentially a game to find out which driver/car combination is the quickest around a circuit for an x number of laps. The rules are quite clear and if there are issues with for instance an illegal tyre test, then there is a court meeting which looks into it and gives a punishment. Mercedes was found guilty, given an adequate punishment and moved on. I have no doubt that the motivation behind the Mercedes penalty were justifiable and hence I see no reason to question the sentence.

    The statement by Di Montezemolo is effectively abusing Ferrari’s unique position in Formula 1: they are the oldest and most famous team by quite some distance, so F1 will probably go to great lengths to keep them in the sport. The team president’s words are meant as some sort of threat, as in “you did this, this and this wrong in my opinion, so do it better next time.” To be honest, the only way I see Formula 1’s credibility getting damaged is by some team president trying to enforce his opinion upon the sport’s governing body. Ferrari’s criticism is low, quite a weak attempt to get what you want. That’s not how Formula 1 should work. Just accept the given situation and don’t focus on ‘monkey business’, but focus on maximising the regulations by building the quickest car possible and developing it to keep it ahead of the field.

  22. Ah, I guess its good to see Ferrari are back their cheekish calling others out for being dirty while you are at least standing in mud too selves!

    Sure Monti, things aren’t going your way, and the Italian press want to hear who is to blame. Can’t be you can it.

  23. I’m not going to create a massive rant here on why and how Montezemelo has or doesn’t has the right to speak on the matter. Whatever you thought off the 2010 incident he has a fair point. Mercedes got away virtually scot free. Yes, the other teams has the chance to test the new tyres but in all fairness they almost constantly had to use the Rookies. It’s not like they are going to be able to tell the difference because most of them didn’t even drive the old version tyre. The teams that did use their own race drivers were massively restricted in what they could do that day. Remember Kimi Räikkönen not driving that Friday? And in the end Mercedes even got the data from Pirelli. How’s that for a ridicules sentence that was to make matter more idiotic suggested by Mercedes in the first place. Whether you like it or not in the end Mercedes was found guilty by the tribunal and they haven’t really been punished for it at all. (before you go suggesting that I think Mercedes should have been punished in a way that they would be compromised in their current form, well you’re wrong because I know how they fixed their car)

    1. before you go suggesting that I think Mercedes should have been punished in a way that they would be compromised in their current form

      It seems you are suggesting that – that would be the alternative to ‘[getting] away virtually scot free.’

      well you’re wrong because I know how they fixed their car

      How did they manage it? I’m dying to know.

  24. Luca discussed a number of things in the interview, the title of this article is somewhat misleading…..

    1. Still strange though that Luca had nothing to say about that test when Merc struggled with their tyres in Germany.

      Should Merc struggle again in Belgium he probably won’t be saying anything.

      1. I’m pretty sure seeing the optimism at Mercedes at the moment they are confident they have somewhat gotten a hold on the problem and I know why.

    2. @jason12 This article chiefly refers to Montezemolo’s comments about Mercedes and the headline is not at all misleading. There is a link to the original article in it for those who wants read what he had to say in full.

  25. Montezemelo is looking more and more like a whiney twit. I can’t believe the way he came down on Alonso for some fairly light comments, especially after the way Fernando has stuck up for the team with pathetic cars the last couple of years. And I am a Hamilton fan so that is saying something.
    Now LDM is STILL whining about Mercedes and that stupid test? Yeah, I’m starting to become less of a Ferrari fan than I was before….I don’t like whiners and I won’t be buying a Ferrari. I’ve owned Porsches, Mercs and BMW’s and even a Jag but now I just don’t think I’ll do the Ferrari.

    Silly I know, but it’s the same reason I won’t put Pirelli tires on my car now…I don’t like the way they handled themselves and went into denial and blame mode regarding tires this year. If I have a problem with my tires…do I want a company with Pirelli’s attitude backing them? Hell no.

    F1 is all about PR for the companies involved so they better think about the whiney, finger pointing image you put out which can override the winning/losing image.

  26. Shorter LDM…
    “We’re not winning, therefore it’s not fair.”

  27. It would appear that Montezemolo doesn’t actually follow the sport. If he did, then he would have noticed that one of those three wins was on a track were tyres were barely a factor, and at one of races they didn’t win the overheating problems were as bad as they had ever been. I’m not trying to claim that the private test didn’t have an affect, but using such simple statistics as evidence of clear gain demonstrates a lack of understanding at best, and bare faced lying at worst.

    At let us not forget, that Ferrari are probably the last team who should be complaining about leniency, or turning a blind eye, from the FIA.

    Regarding the comments about changing the tyres, did he even hear about what happened at Silverstone? Does he not remember what happened to one of his own drivers? The changes were clearly necessary. At the beginning of the season, all the teams who were coping well on the tyres were saying things along the lines of “everyone has the same tyres, learn to deal with them like everyone else.” I’d argue the same still applies.

    (Repost from Adam Coopers blog)

  28. LDM is good for some comic relief during this long summer break. He seems rather green with envy over Mercedes and yet was still red in the face about Alonso. Lashing out at the drinks company is kind of funny too, especially since he was a drinks company head with Cinzano at one time. But, I digress. LDM it is fair to say is a good businessman and has had success with Ferrari in racing as well.Though not a fan of his bombastic management style, the Ferrari team success with Todt/Brawn/Schumacher cannot be denied. Something is missing now. He has one of the best drivers on the grid, some would argue the best. Ferrari has resources and talent and yet they now struggle to stay ahead of the mid pack. At times they have shown flashes of brilliance with Alonso pushing ahead, but no consistency. Ferrari is not alone in their misery. Look at McLaren. Same thing, massive resources and talent while heading backwards. So, LDM can huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down, but he would be better off finding out what is missing and doing something about that. And, hope that Ferrari can build an engine for 2014 that will be better than the competition.

  29. Luca should have sent knives to the tribunal members.

Comments are closed.