Ferrari Formula 1

For liberty, Fernando

2014 Italian Grand Prix

Departing Ferrari president Luca di Montzemolo has confirmed what we already knew, that Fernando Alonso will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Speaking on Italian television di Montezemolo said: “Fernando is leaving for two reasons.

“One, he wants another environment. Two, because he is an age when he cannot wait to win again.”

The 33-year-old dual world champion joined Ferrari in 2010 and came close to winning the title that year and again in 2012. In his time with the Scuderia he has constantly impressed with his ability to extract maximum performance from the oft sub-par machinery he has been given.

It’s expected that Alonso will drive for McLaren in 2015, with rumours suggesting he may have signed a deal directly with Honda. There’s also a chance that he may sit out for the year with an eye on a Mercedes seat in 2016. Although, Alonso has previously said it’s “probably not a big risk” that he won’t be in F1 next year.

McLaren it is then and you’d think Jenson Button, who will be 35 when the 2015 season begins, could be the man to make way.

Of course, the other well known secret in F1 is that Alonso will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel. We can expect an official statement from Maranello very soon it would appear.

Vettel’s contract with Red Bull Racing expires five days after the final race, which therefore includes the post-season test in Bahrain. Red Bull will hold Vettel to the terms of his contract, denying him an opportunity to test with Ferrari before the year is out.

[Source: BBC]

Ferrari Formula 1

Big changes at Ferrari

Luca di Montezemolo

Ferrari is having a bad year in Formula 1. Mind, in living memory, they’ve probably had worse years. But with the total dominance of Schumacher era still in recent memory the big wigs demand success and they aren’t happy with what they’re seeing. And by big wigs, we mean, big wigs.

There’s not too many people higher than Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, but Sergio Marchionne, boss of parent company Fiat, is one of those men. And he has spoken.

The pair have had a public spat in the wake of a terrible Italian Grand Prix. As a result Luca di Montezemolo is leaving Ferrari. The legacy he has left for the road and racing cars from Maranello cannot be underestimated and this is a massive day for the company.

“Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world,” di Montezemolo said. “It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.”

Sergio Marchionne will step in as the boss of the F1 team after di Montezemolo departs in mid-October. This change follows the removal of Stefano Domenicali earlier this year.

Marchionne has put his money where his mouth is, his reputation is at stake here, and he’d better hope he can deliver the results he demands.

Ferrari Formula 1

Ferrari denies F1 exit rumours

Luca de Montezemolo

For some time now there’s been talk Ferrari could join the resurgent LMP1 category in the World Endurance Championship. For one thing this would ensure Porsche has a harder time claiming outright victory at Le Mans. But also Ferrari is often at loggerheads with Formula 1 authorities as both parties throw their weight around to get what they want.

Then we had Fernando Alonso on hand at Le Mans over the weekend to give the endurance classic its official start and, hey presto, Ferrari is about to quit F1. Or so a few rumours suggested.

Not so fast kiddies! This is Ferrari’s official statement of rebuttal:

Some elements of the media have suggested Ferrari would quit Formula 1 to concentrate on the Le Mans 24 Hours and Endurance racing. This is a bit of a stretch based on President Luca di Montezemolo reiterating that Formula 1 needs to evolve and renew itself, while also admitting that there is a unique attraction to the 24 Hour race.

To say that after 2020, Ferrari could quit Formula 1 to concentrate on Le Mans and the Endurance championship takes his words to extremes. Plus of course, there’s nothing to stop Ferrari upping the ante and competing in both disciplines. So it’s just pure speculation.

Ferrari Formula 1

Okay, so, Ferrari is bigger than you

2013 German Grand Prix

After only managing fifth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso was a little frustrated. When asked what he would like for his birthday, which was on Monday, he replied: “Someone else’s car.”

As you can imagine this didn’t go down too well with Ferrari’s top brass. Moreover, Alonso isn’t the only one upset with the Scuderia’s current form and Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo, signed off on an official press release urging his F1 team to lift its game and firmly putting Fernando in his place.

“All the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it,” di Montezemolo said.

In other words: “Okay, so, Ferrari is bigger than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”

Alonso is contracted to Ferrari until the end of the 2016 season, however, there are further signs there may be trouble at Maranello.

Luis Garcia Abad, Alonso’s manager, was seen with Christian Horner in the Red Bull motorhome at the Hungaraoring on the weekend. Innocently, we’re told the meeting was in regards to Carlos Sainz Jr. That’s a very plausible explanation, but perhaps there was more to the meeting than first meets the eye.

Ferrari insist their contract with Alonso is water tight and cannot be broken. Chances are it won’t, but throwing Alonso’s name into the who will replace Webber at Red Bull discussion certainly spices up the rumour mill heading into the mid-season break.

And what does Sebastian Vettel think about all this? “I’d prefer Kimi,” said the Red Bull number one. “I have to be careful now, nothing against Fernando. I really respect him a lot as a driver.

“I respect Kimi on track and off track because he has always been really straight with me. From that point of view, it might be a bit easier.”

Perhaps the biggest competition between a team consisting of Vettel and Alonso, should it ever eventuate, would be not who is the fastest, but who can throw his toys of the cot the furthest.

[Source: BBC | Pic: Ferrari]

Formula 1 News

CVC responds to Ecclestone’s indictment

Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1 commercial rights owner, CVC Capital Partners, has issued an official statement in response to news that Bernie Ecclestone has been indicted by a German court over bribery claims.

Formula One Group Press Release

Wednesday 17 July 2013

The Board of Formula One Group* notes the following developments in Munich:

Mr Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Group has now received a bill of indictment, in English, from the Munich Regional Court.

Mr Ecclestone has 6 weeks to provide a response to this bill of indictment, prior to a decision being made by the Court on opening proceedings.

The Board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly.

* Delta Topco Limited

Clearly, the future of F1’s long-time supremo (does anyone other than Bernie get called a supremo?) hangs on the outcome of this little saga. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo is one man you get the feeling would be quite pleased to see the back of Bernie.

Bernie is no stranger to controversy and Andrew Benson from the BBC has taken a look at the life and times of the most powerful man in F1. We think you should read it.

[Pic: Joerg Koch/AP]

Ferrari Formula 1

Luca di Montezemolo writes a letter

Luca di Montezemolo

Ferrari Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, has shared his thoughts on the 2012 F1 season with a letter/interview issued by the Ferrari press department.

It covers obvious topics like Sebastian Vettel driving for Ferrari, as well as the yellow flag controversy surrounding the championship decider in Brazil.

But di Montezemolo also aired his views on a number of other aspects concerning Formula 1, including the legacy of Max Mosley‘s budget caps, the lack of testing and, ultimately, the future of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. It’s not the first time di Montezemolo has had a crack at Bernie and it seems pretty clear he’s not a fan:

“The era of the one man show cannot continue: the future should be in the hands of a team that will look after all the different areas. We are slowly approaching the end of a period characterised by the style of one man who has done significant things. It’s a bit of a similar case to what will happen to me: within the decade I will face this question, but when I am 75 not 82…”

You can read the letter in full after the break. And we suggest you do.

Ferrari Lancia New Stratos

Luca di Montezemolo signs off on New Stratos

New Stratos

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was given the keys to the New Stratos and figured the Fiorano test track was a pretty good place for a drive. He liked it so much he decided to autograph it.

Dario Benuzzi, long-term Ferrari test driver, also had a play and suggested a few tweaks ahead of the car’s imminent launch at Paul Ricard.

You can see a video after the break, or read more by following the link below.

[Source: New Stratos]