SEPTEMBER 11, 2004
Montezemolo attacks Ecclestone
Fiat president Luca di Montezemolo appeared at Monza on Saturday afternoon and gave his views about the current political situation in Formula 1. And it did not make comfortable listening for F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, who was the target for his comments.
"Such an expensive sport cannot survive if we do not increase revenues," said Montezemolo. "I think it was a big mistake to sell the company to a German TV company which then collapsed and a mistake to sell it on to Kirch and it is a mistake that the sport is now 75% owned by the banks. A certain era is finished and we have to look at something new which is totally acceptable to the players who at the moment get only 47% of the money from the TV rights and nothing from the tickets, advertising and other sources of income. It is not possible any more. We said these things three years ago but unfortunately somebody has not understood. Ferrari is a small company and we have to be very careful about the future. We are in favour of a strong political authority in the FIA and in favour of a company taking 20% to promote the sport but we want 80% for the teams. Unfortunately it has not been possible to find a solution. Now is the time to find a solution or we have to think carefully about the future. There is a big risk to lose teams and I don't see any real determination to find solutions. It is not possible for teams to survive with what is an unacceptably low level of revenues."
Montezemolo said that Ferrari is 100% behind the GPWC.
"The GPWC is a group of car manufacturers from different histories and experiences in Formula 1. For me the Ferrari situation is different to that of a big company like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota or Renault. Ferrari can continue to race in F1 but only if the level of cost is acceptable compared to the total turnover of the company."
Montezemolo spoke out in favour of Max Mosley's plans to reduce the performance of the F1 cars.
"We will support to change the rules and reduce the performance," he said. "I think what the FIA has done is really very very important. Normally if you are ahead you are against changing anything but I totally agree with FIA President Max Mosley. In the last three years the cars have become too fast. It is time to slow them down and calm down the development of engines, aerodynamics, brakes and other things. It is time to slow the cars but without losing the technology that is part of Formula 1."
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