Ferrari and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo has gone on the media offensive in the past 24 hours, putting out some messages, not in response to FIA president Max Mosley’s complaints about FOTA’s behaviour, but stating his own case. He calls for an end to ‘polemics’ in F1.
There is no hint of apology in his statements, nor a response to Mosley’s claims that the breakaway could still be on. There is only a clear reaffirmation of the principles on which FOTA negotiated the deal on Wednesday.
FOTA are very keen to show that they put the fans’ interests at the top of the agenda and so Montezemolo answered a range of questions from fans on the Ferrari website: “What I can guarantee you is that Ferrari and FOTA are busy to keep the spirit and the essence of F1 alive, constantly listening to our fans,” he said. “As far as the tracks are concerned where the races are held, the historical ones have always had a great fascination; for Ferrari and for all the other teams it will be important to get back to North America. ”
“One of the main engagements of FOTA is to reduce costs to get to the level of the early 1990s in the next two years without losing the technological and sporting challenge of the highest level.”
Montezemolo also gave a global overview of the week’s achievements,
“First of all, I think that what we have obtained are three very important elements – stability, less costs – it means coming back to the level of the costs of the 1990s and also that F1, which is far more important, will remain F1 and does not become F3. This is crucial for us.
“Of course we have to improve everything and this is why we want to be more involved in the decisions of the sport, because we want more spectators in the circuits, tickets less expensive because today the tickets are too expensive, and to have more show.
“Maybe the possibility to have some teams or all the teams to run even a third car, to have more possibility to overtake – but increasing technology research, extreme performance and overall competition.”
“Now, stop with all the polemics, because we love F1. We don’t want to contribute to … take off the big charm and the unique elements of F1.”
The idea of a third car was mooted in Bologna on Wednesday and the name of Valentino Rossi was mentioned. Rossi said yesterday that he was interested in the proposal, when his contract with Yamaha is up at the of 2010.
Incidentally, I asked yesterday whether Ferrari still has the right of veto over rule changes and the answer is “yes”. The agreement is still in place. Ferrari had launched an arbitration in Lausanne to attempt to prove that the FIA had breached the agreement and so Ferrari were not bound by it. But now that the conditions have changed, they have stopped that arbitration and view the agreement as still being in place, which means they still have the veto right.