MARCH 18, 2005
Ferrari has responded to the statement of the other nine Formula 1 teams about testing by saying that the team is the only one developing Bridgestone tyres and that this is not fair.
"When the previous testing agreement was coming to an end we tried to find a new compromise that took this situation into account but unfortunately this did not happen," said team spokesman Luca Colajanni. "Therefore we felt that no testing guidelines were in place any more."
Colajanni added that the testing was more efficient in terms of manpower and resources and that this will lead to a reduction in Ferrari's testing bill this year of around $2m.
This explanation is tenuous at best. Ferrari is the only major F1 team using Bridgestone rubber because the other teams that were supplied by Bridgestone came to the conclusion that the tyres being built were designed solely for Ferrari and felt that, as a result, Michelin was a better option. Whether this analysis is correct or not is not the issue at hand: that was the perception.
Ferrari's situation with tyres is, to a large extent, seen as being a situation of its own making, caused by its desire to win. The company could have agreed to a control tyre formula last October if it was worried about such inequalities. It did not.
When asked whether or not Ferrari accepted that the decision to throw away any testing bans might be viewed as an attempt to break up the anti-Ferrari alliance Colajanni did not answer the question. He was then asked whether Ferrari does any market research to ascertain the level of discontent amongst the fans about the team's current policies in F1. He said that the team judged the reaction of the fans by the number of Ferrari flags waving in the grandstands.
It was pointed out that in recent months the majority of the feedback to the F1 media has been negative towards Ferrari. Colajanni said that the F1 media does not represent the racing public because its members are not elected to their positions. In fact, this is exactly what happens: people read certain publications and not others and thus the publications which best reflect public opinion survive and the others do not.
What is clear from this exchange is that Ferrari either does not see the wave of feeling that exists against its current policies amongst F1 fans; or it does not care.
We can only judge the situation based on our feedback and it is fair to say that the majority of this is anti-Ferrari. There is a small but voceriferous pro-Ferrari minority who criticize any stories which reflect the feedback we receive from other fans.
While Colajanni's remarks might be judged as being clumsy it is probably fair to say that Ferrari has now reached the point at which it no longer listens to the other teams and no longer listens to criticism in the media.
There was a time when one would never hear the suggestion that the sport would be better off without Ferrari but increasingly that is a view being heard in F1 circles.
We believe the trend is increasing.
Ferrari, however, seems unlikely to accept that view until there are fewer Ferrari flags in the grandstands.
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