FEBRUARY 1, 2017
Ecclestone ousting inevitable
Former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has backed the ousting of long-time F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
Also now outside of F1, having been ousted by Ferrari a few years ago, di Montezemolo told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper that he saw Ecclestone's exit coming.
"Recently, we had a long conversation and Bernie jokingly asked if I could help him find a job," di Montezemolo said.
"Seriously, the events were inevitable. You cannot demand change from an 86-year-old man. Similarly, you cannot ask the people who buy the championship for $8.5 billion to abandon plans to modernise a business that needs serious change," he added.
Di Montezemolo said a negative turning point for F1 was a decade ago, when the investment group CVC took over.
"They were not interested in the sport except for the opportunity to make money," said the 69-year-old. "Perhaps Bernie thought he could continue to do everything alone.
"By the way, in 2014 just after I left Ferrari, I was asked to lead formula one and work with Ecclestone. I then came up with the idea of the three heads."
So Montezemolo is also now happy to predict the next looming changes for F1.
"The racing will be shorter, communication with the audience more effective. The rules will be simplified and the concept that formula one is a sport with deep European traditions will be reinforced.
"There will not be such nonsense as grands prix in Korea or India, and while a grand prix in the United States is good, there should be a maximum of two.
"Finally, the new owners must actively involve the audience at the track -- because no sport can exist without fans," Montezemolo added.
The charismatic Italian also commented on the active drivers of today, insisting their collective image is poor.
"For a start they need to get the right to speak," Montezemolo said. "In the press conferences, all the drivers say the same thing -- for a long time their opinions have meant nothing and they are not playing a great role.
"Enzo Ferrari said that winning depends half on the machine and half on the driver. Now, this equation is 80-20," he added.