Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Finali Mondiali, Mugello, 2013

Montezemolo urges FIA to prevent rules “trickery”

2014 F1 season

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has urged Formula One’s governing body to ensure teams do not exploit any “grey areas” in the new rules.

Writing in a letter to his team’s fans ahead of the new season, Montezemolo said: “Such an important set of changes to the regulations is bringing some grey areas, for example fuel, software, consumption…”

“In these I am fully expecting the FIA to be vigilant – as I’m sure they will be – to avoid any trickery, which has also taken place in the recent past but must not happen any more for the good of this sport.”

Montezemolo added he expects the new season “a difficult championship for the spectators to follow”.

“The drivers will have to take care that they do not wear out the tyres and save fuel,” he said.

“I have already said that I hope they don’t turn into taxi drivers and I say that with the greatest respect to taxi drivers, but they obviously do a different job. I, like all of you, love an extreme Formula One where technology and drivers are always on the limit.”

The Ferrari president said the team have “an intense plan of development” for the year ahead. “The data from the wind tunnel have been confirmed by the track comparisons, something that has not happened in recent years,” he added.

Ahead of the first race of the season Montezemolo said: “I have asked for the highest commitment from Domenicali and his team and I know that they are all doing their best.”

“We have a strong team, the best driver pairing – who are experienced and very talented – and everyone knows what they have to do.”

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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...

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48 comments on “Montezemolo urges FIA to prevent rules “trickery””

  1. F1 has always thrived in the grey area, and I don’t expect that to change. This is an entity that admits they can’t do spending caps because those can’t be policed. In other words…we alre

    1. Oops…stupid iPad ….’we already know the teams will operate in the grey area of budgeting so we aren’t even going to try a cap’…so I don’t know what LdM thinks would be any different now just because this is a new era of technology.

    2. I think it’s just because Ferrari has never been clever enough to find these grey areas, unlike other teams…

      1. You must be new to the sport if you think Ferrari are not clever enough, my friend.

      2. guess you started to watch F1 with the dominance of Red Bull – back in the days, Ferrari was dominating season after season with people like aldo costa, rory byrne, jean todt, ross brown and schumacher behind the wheel. in those days, Ferrari used those grey areas to there advantage in many occasions

    3. RObbie You have £20 million powertrains that can be rendered useless with a simple loophole, it’s not like a front wing.

  2. “We urge you to make certain others don’t find solutions we haven’t found already”

    1. Lol…and if they do we will consider them to be cheaters…no grey area about it….it will be black and white to us that they are cheating….that’s how we ourselves will stay out of the grey area….you know…like our turbine’s protective shield that has been ok’d but that the other teams still think might exist in the grey area….oops did I say that out loud.

    2. Pretty much.

    3. Yes, that’s how I read it as well. I know that ALL the teams do this and it’s part of the politics that IS Formula 1. But LdM seems to have a PhD in this sort of thing :)

      1. IMHO there are no grey areas.

        The rule makers decide what they want to achieve, then write down rules, precicely worded, which attempt to enforce those aims.

        The teams then look at the rules and try to design the best possible car withing those rules.

        Where the team steps over a rule, it is not a “grey area”, it is breaking the rules and must be changed.

        Where a team comes up with an innovative solution which nobody (including the rule makers) expected, but which conforms to the letter of the rules, it is not in a “grey area”, it is within the rules (and is what the sport is all about).

  3. Worth a bet on Domenicali being replaced if there is no championship at Ferrari this year?

    1. Hear hear !! Enter Ross Brawn :)

  4. Seems a bit rich… didn’t Ferrari have an engine that, in order to save weight, didn’t have the extra strong wall (for want of a better word) on the Turbo?

    1. The argument is over the fact that the FIA has specified that, should the turbine fail, there has to be a confining system that prevents the fragments of the turbine from rupturing the housing and tearing through the rear bodywork.
      Now, Mercedes and Renault have installed a ballistic shield around their turbocharger unit as their way of complying with the regulation – Ferrari, by contrast, have left the installation of a ballistic shield being left to their customers instead (as the regulation doesn’t specify that the engine manufacturer has to provide the ballistic shield themselves).

      1. I’m not sure that’s it, I think Ferrari interpreted the turbo casing itself to be the shield. Saving them weight.

  5. … says Ferrari who already have a potential protest over them because of their controversial turbo casing.

  6. I don’t know Luca, I’ve seen some taxi drivers that should be in F1 given the way they drive and dodge cars without breaking a sweat.

    1. Indeed. I remember a terrifying taxi ride I took in Prague some years ago – a real white-knuckle job – the sort of experience that reminds you just how sensible a lot of that EU red tape really is.

  7. If anything, Montezemolo should be urging his engineers to seek out those grey areas and exploit them, instead of using Ferrari political clout to try and close those grey areas.

    I always thought with the grey areas that ‘fair is fair’ and if one team finds a solution through their interpretation of the wordings, as long as the interpretation is reasonable (which they typically are). It leads to cool things like the McLaren F-duct, Renault mass damper (although that was banned), RBR for its engine mapping and exhaust blown diffusers (amongst other things), and this year again with McLaren’s suspension block things (the technical term escapes me).

    1. Yes agreed. and dont forget the double diffuser. A “grey area” that basically decided the 2009 championship. By the time Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren developed their own, Brawn already had a huge lead. F1 is all about being smarter than your competition and still legal. Some people call that “grey area”, i call it grey matter.

      1. Some people call that “grey area”, i call it grey matter.


        It’s very true though, if Ferrari were clever enough to exploit any grey area themselves he wouldn’t be saying this. F-ducts, double diffusers, mass dampers, exhaust blown diffusers, mushroom suspension… I can’t think of a single innovation like this in recent years that came from Ferrari. It seems all they can do is scramble to copy this advances once the other less well funded teams actually dream them up.

        1. It’s interesting and I wonder if Ferrari have a deep set culture of ignoring innovation in anything other than engines. Enzo always maintained that engines were the key to racing performance and refused to let the F1 & sports car teams run disc brakes (in the 1950’s of course) because “if they’re (drum brakes) good enough for my road cars, they’re good enough for the Grand Prix team. Jaguar also trounced the Ferraris at Le Mans because they ran with the new fangled disc brakes against the Ferrari drums.

          1. Don’t forget my personal favorite Enzo-ism:

            Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.

          2. It’s a real shame, because they were developing really well at one point, enough for a certain competitor to copy their homework… =)

      2. Hah, I had completely forgotten about the double diffuser. A true facepalm moment when I read that reply =)

  8. Aldo Costa had long said they didn’t have a well tuned wind tunnel, yet he was sacked, now they wasted many years to find out he was right all along, but then he is now Mercedes’ gain.

  9. Please don’t let other teams find solutions, which, although are, by definition legal, haven’t been discovered by my engineers first.

    Because we, in Ferrari, have always operated by the spirit of the rules.

    Yes Luca. Whatever you say.

  10. Looks like Ferrari has realized late that they have missed out on a loophole which others have exploited well. That seems to be the reason for this advance bail from Big Luca. Looks like Ferrari has booked a permanent place for second place in F1 !!!!

  11. The data from the wind tunnel have been confirmed by the track comparisons, something that has not happened in recent years

    So what’s gonna be the excuse this year? (if they need one)

  12. Rule book is grey?

    In other news, sky is blue and water is wet.

    1. Hahahaha +1

  13. Particularly hilarious knowing how the engineers at Maranello interpreted the article 5.18.5 relative to the turbo protection. Does this mean that Ferrari does not consider the turbo engine protection as a grey area ? Is it a message to Mercedes and Renault ?

  14. In these I am fully expecting the FIA to be vigilant – as I’m sure they will be – to avoid any trickery, which has also taken place in the recent past but must not happen any more for the good of this sport.

    Translation: We’re a bit behind Mercedes and need time to get the basics nailed down and THEN start trying to find the “tricks” later on….So make sure Mercedes is getting a lot of scrutiny LOL

  15. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    13th March 2014, 19:36

    montezemolo and ferrari are pathetic!!!

    1. I doubt anyone seriously thinks LdM speaks for the team.

  16. I think the FIA should weigh decisions on “gray areas” towards whether an innovation they came up with could be used in regular street cars. The whole point of the new regs is to make racing more relevant to the average person by addressing things we deal with today such as efficiency. So why allow some aero-dynamic trick that only works on a specially made car at +300kph when something like a suspension innovation that could work for every day street cars is disallowed? Hey, I personally LOVE the high end aero stuff…just my first love in motor sports.
    But if they’re truly trying to be more relevant, they should truly do that. I hate NASCAR, but the real reason that people in the US like it is because they could “see themselves” doing that. The cars seem relevant to what they do every day….even if they really have NOTHING in common with street cars anymore. But NASCAR capitalizes on that. That is what F1 is trying to do with the efficiency, etc.

    My personal preference: Let them turn F1 into rocket cars that can go full speed for every meter for the entire race! :)

    1. hmmmm, why did it bold everything in my last comment? I didn’t select that??? Oh well.

    2. I think the appeal of NASCAR is more the absolute simplicity of the cars. There’s none of the double-diffuser F-duct mass-damper monkey-seat stuff – just a big V8, rear drive, and a place for the driver to sit.

      1. Yeah, the popularity of NASCAR still seems strange to me. I’m a redneck American from the Southeast with lots of family members who love it. But I just could not get interested in motor sports until I discovered Formula 1. The cars, the technology, the skill to drive on a real course with turns in all directions and elevation changes, the constructors designing their own vehicles from the ground up “within the framework of the rules”. OK, that last bit is open to interpretation :) but that’s what makes it so great and so innovative.

        1. The thing is, I do enjoy NASCAR road races. It’s a bit weird to watch, since the cars appear so cumbersome, and they were not designed with road racing specialty in mind, but I think that’s what makes those particular races fun for me.

          I really wish NASCAR was more of an American V8 Supercars or DTM-style series with road courses. Imagine a NASCAR schedule where, in addition to Sonoma and Watkins Glen, we had Road America, Road Atlanta, VIR, Laguna Seca, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sebring, CoTA… and temporary circuits like Detroit (American muscle in Motown? It’s just… so right!) and Long Beach…

          I think how difficult oval racing can be is played down most of the time, but I just don’t find it that engaging to watch. Obviously, many, many people disagree with me, but it’s no big deal, I can get my fix of V8 cars from the Aussies and Germans.

          1. Yeah, the road races are kind of fun to watch with those big monsters running around the corners LOL

        2. Yeah, it is strange, I have seen a lot of coworkers drool over NASCAR, talk about going down in an RV and getting drunk with their business associates/friends etc…

          I think NASCAR was cool during the ‘days of thunder’ era, but now its just like watching horse racing. I like cornering and braking, not so hot on monster trucks and nascar.

  17. Oh dear. Mister Silly Hair is at it again.
    Today he is pretending that Ferrari have joined the church choir because his engineers can’t design a way around the new rules.
    Luca, get a haircut, get real and get on with designing a winning car!

  18. Mercedes “TyreGate” for sure the target of this conversation, the reults are on sight.

  19. In my experience of taxi drivers, they are pretty hard on accelerator and brake, and don’t at all save fuel or tire wear…

  20. Unless it’s by Ferrari of course.

  21. Mark in Florida
    14th March 2014, 2:07

    In LDM speak it means that if we didn’t think of it you can’t have it. In NASCAR if t aren’t cheating you aren’t trying. Everyone that is trying win treads close to the line of the rules. It’s called innovation LDM maybe Ferrari can come up with some instead of worrying about someone else beating you to the punch.

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