Montezemolo calls for Ecclestone to resign
Luca di Montezemolo, the president of Ferrari, has dropped heavy hints that he believes that Bernie Ecclestone’s reign as king of Formula One is coming to an end and that it is time for a new approach to the sport in the wake of the cost-cutting deal agreed by the teams and the FIA, the sport’s governing body.
|Luca di Montezemolo calls for Bernie's head|
Speaking at the headquarters of Ferrari in Maranello, northern Italy, Di Montezemolo implied that the 78-year-old Formula One commercial rights-holder, who has vowed never to retire and to die in the job, will have to consider moving soon. “I think sooner or later he has to stop,” Di Montezemolo, who earlier praised Ecclestone for transforming Formula One during his long tenure, said.
Di Montezemolo, who also heads the Formula One Teams Association, wants radical change in the sport and he repeatedly advanced arguments suggesting that Ecclestone and Donald Mackenzie, the co-founder of CVC Capital Partners, the main owners of Formula One, lack the progressive and creative thinking the championship requires if it is to reinvent itself.
“We now have to look at the future and mainly what we want to do after 2012,” Di Montezemolo said. “We have to open an important page with Ecclestone and Mackenzie, not only in terms of quantity of money but in terms of how to do many things — circuits, spectators, hospitality, television, types of track and timing of races.”
The Ferrari president said that the sport was not being run in a “normal” manner and remarked that Formula One does not need a “dictator”, another reference to Ecclestone. “Do you think it is normal that we don’t have one race in North America?” he said. “Do you think it is normal that we understand from the newspapers that the Canadian Grand Prix is over? Do you think it is normal that we see important sponsors decide to leave the small and moderate-sized teams? Do you think it is normal that we pay unbelievable amounts for hospitality to promote ourselves at the races? Do you think it is normal that we cannot discuss the timing of races?”
Di Montezemolo dismissed Ecclestone’s recent comments published in The Times, to the effect that if the teams come to him asking for a bigger share of the revenue of Formula One in the new year, he will offer them less money because they have cut their costs by 30 per cent. “We will discuss this starting from one point,” Di Montezemolo said. “There is no professional sport in the world where the players get less than 50 per cent of the total cake.”
He added that he and the teams want far greater transparency from Ecclestone on the sport’s huge income. “We want to know more about the revenues,” he said.
On the racing side, one of Di Montezemolo’s biggest disagreements with Ecclestone is over the trend for new street races. He believes that the sport can support only one street race, Monaco. Otherwise such tracks — Valencia and Singapore, for example — are difficult to overtake on and should be scrapped. “At least Monaco has its own history but to have three or four Monacos is too much,” he said. London Times
[Editor's Note: Montezemolo is hallucinating if he thinks Ecclestone will step aside. He and CVC own F1 and it is through Ecclestone that F1 has grown to what it is today. Every off-season F1 stays in the news with some controversy. Perhaps this off-season it will be a war of words waged between Montezemolo and Ecclestone that will linger until the green flag drops on the new season, at which time the controversy will suddenly die.]