Q and A with Luca di Montezemolo It is a very delicate time in Formula One with Honda’s announcement to retire from the Championship hitting home to most of the grid, the economics of the situation proving to be more dire than originally thought, The announcement came just a few hours after the FOTA had unanimously decided further significant cost cuts in the series starting in the upcoming season, making their reasons a little bit harder to fully fathom.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo gave an exclusive interview to the official Ferrari website about these very relevant issues...
President Montezemolo, what is your reaction to Honda's announcement to retire from Formula 1?
I'm really sorry to hear this and I am close to the men of the team in this very difficult moment. Unfortunately these things can happen in difficult times like these. Over the years we've seen coming and going several constructors in Formula 1.
The FOTA's executive committee met in London. What decisions have been taken there?
First of all I want to say that I was very satisfied with the meeting's extremely cooperative climate. We unanimously took some very important decisions with short-term and mid-term impact, for the years 2009 and 2010, while we also set out a proposal for a new engine starting in 2011. We gave a further input as far as cost reduction is concerned to help especially the smaller teams over the upcoming season. It's a huge effort from all of us, which is important for two reasons: firstly because it wasn't planned, considering what has been planned a few weeks ago, and secondly, because it happens in a very delicate overall economical situation.
Do you think that things are going in the right direction?
I think that we've given an unanimous reply to the requests FIA has made several times; therefore we've shown that we have a great capacity to react and to suggest solutions, backed by all of us protagonists in Formula 1, from the big car manufacturers to the independent teams. The aim is to reach unanimous decisions, which satisfy all our requests, while we don't touch Formula 1 as a sporty and technological competition amongst teams.
What are the next steps?
In the short run we'll organize a meeting with Max Mosley to present him the details of our proposals and to discuss with him how to improve the show our sport offers. Furthermore we also agreed that it's necessary to meet with Bernie Ecclestone to talk about the distribution as far as the earnings are concerned.