Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has launched another veiled attack on Bernie Ecclestone's reign as F1's guiding hand, suggesting the sport's future direction is not one with which the Scuderia is comfortable.
Speaking at Ferrari's Finali Mondiali event in Valencia, the Italian repeated previous opposition to F1's existing and impending regulations, particularly governing aerodynamics and testing, but saved his greatest vitriol for the man he sees as being responsible.
Obviously irked by Ecclestone's decision to deride Ferrari's request for clarification on the yellow flag incident that kept the 2012 championship in the balance for five days, di Montezemolo suggested that maybe it was time for the Briton to step down.
“Since some people have used the expression 'it's a joke' in recent days, I would like to say that this is the real joke,” he fumed, referring to Ecclestone's description of the Scuderia's challenge, “My father always taught me that you have to have respect your elders', above all when they reach the point that they can no longer control their words, so I will stop there. But, certainly, old age is often incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities.”
di Montezemolo clearly feels that his team's actions of the last week were within the bounds of acceptability, even though onboard footage from Vettel's RB8 later proved that there was, as the FIA insisted, 'no case to answer'.
“Some people cried scandal, or said a bit too much,” the president commented, “The story is very simple: we saw some images, some of which were broadcast on all the internet sites, and we received thousands of requests from our fans. So we did the simplest and most straightforward thing: we asked the FIA what they thought, telling them we would accept whatever decision they took. I think that is the best way to resolve questions when there are doubts.
“The FIA replied that in their view Vettel had been given a green flag before the passing move and then we said that for us the discussion was closed. You can't be any more straightforward than that. I would like to take this chance to congratulate Vettel and Red Bull because they won, and we like to congratulate whoever wins, hoping and wishing that next year it can be others who are congratulating us. If anyone says a bit too much then I'm sorry, but that's too bad for them.”
Although his repeated blusterings are often seen as an attempt to get his own way in securing a competitive or financial edge for his team, di Montezemolo has always been consistent in his criticism of certain sections of the regulations.
“There are things that aren't going well in this sport, and the moment has arrived to clarify these once and for all in the appropriate places,” he claimed, “We can no longer have a situation in which the transfer of technology from the track to the street is reduced to the bare minimum. Engines and gearboxes are always the same and the aerodynamics no longer has anything to do with research for road cars.
“Moreover, it cannot be that, in this sport, you can't test. I'm no longer happy that we can't do testing on tarmac and that you can't give any chance for young drivers to emerge. We've been saying this for a while, and we will repeat it in the appropriate places so, for the moment, I don't want to add anything else.
“But our patience has run out and someone needs to think about whether they want F1 still to have companies that invest and consider it the most advanced research bench for its own cars – as Ferrari has always done since 1950. We are constructors, not sponsors.”