The impending need to finalise the details of the next Concorde Agreement has spurred Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo into another attack on the current levels of spending in F1.
Despite being one of the teams reportedly in good financial health, and with a band of loyal sponsors, Ferrari - and di Montezemolo in particular - have long railed against the sport's seemingly endless ability to find ways of consuming financial resources. Now, with several European nation's having sought financial help, Italy having been listed as the next possible seeker of a bail-out, and one of Ferrari's principal sponsors - Banco Santander - having had its credit rating downgraded, the Italian has again turned his wrath on the vested interests blocking a common goal.
"The world economic situation, and that of Europe in particular, is very serious and the world of F1 cannot ignore the fact," Montezemolo told the official Ferrari website,
"We cannot lose any more time: we need to tackle urgently - and with determination - the question of costs.
"Ferrari is in agreement with the FIA's position that drastic intervention is required. We are absolutely convinced that, as I have always said, the teams and the commercial rights holder must work together with the Federation on this front. This is no longer the moment for getting bogged down in sterile discussions or the meanderings of engineers, usually only concerned in defending the interests of someone or other: the question has to be tackled at the highest level, without further delay."
Although all twelve F1 teams have apparently agreed terms to sign up to the next Concorde Agreement [see story here
], despite Mercedes and the three 'minnows' propping up the grid supposedly baulking at their treatment, the finer details of the deal have still to be firmed up, with the debate over cost-cutting and/or budget capping seemingly unresolved.
The existing Resource Restriction Agreement has been called into question amid suggestions that certain teams are bending the rules on its application or, in some case, on exceeding the spending limits it purports to control, and this has led to renewed calls for a more rigid structure for cost control. IN this respect, Ferrari has turned from poacher to gamekeeper, realising that it no longer necessarily has the resources to take on some of its bigger rivals. Discussions on a revised RRA, or whether the sport should be controlled by either a strict, FIA-policed, budget cap are ongoing, but reports believe that these need to be concluded by the end of the month in order to be approved by majority, rather than unanimous, vote.
Several teams, including Ferrari, have quit the body - FOTA - that previously presented a united front towards rule changes suggested by the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone, with the Italian giant the first to sign up to Ecclestone vision of the Concorde Agreement in return for several financial inducements and a place on the board of F1 shareholders.