Mosley on mission to bring Ferrari down a notch UPDATE (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to prevent the brawl between Max Mosley and Luca di Montezemolo turning into all-out war.
After Ferrari president Montezemolo - furious about the FIA president's budget capping - hinted that the famous marque could walk away from F1, Mosley replied by insisting the sport could survive without the Prancing Horse.
The Times newspaper claims some Ferrari figures believe Mosley wants to "destroy" Montezemolo, but Ecclestone insists: "I won't let it happen."
The 78-year-old F1 chief executive said: "The trouble with Max is he's not capable, like in the past, of wrapping things up nicely with a pink ribbon and things. He wants to put it in an old cardboard box and tie it with string."
Briton Ecclestone believes the row is equally the fault of flamboyant Montezemolo.
"The trouble with Luca is that you shouldn't let Max ever be in a position where he can start a debate or an argument. He's reasonably clever and you won't win," he added.
Ecclestone seems happy to play the mediator in negotiations about the budget cap, after the World Motor Sport Council last week set a voluntary figure at 40m pounds sterling.
"It would appear that everyone is in favor of the cap, including Ferrari, if we can get them to agree, which we can," Ecclestone told the newspaper.
"However, there is concern over the amount that is referred to in the cap for some of the teams and also the two-tier system. So these are probably not monumental things to sort out," he added.
The Times suggests that one outcome could be an increase in the cap to 60m, with a steady reduction to 40m by 2012. 04/30/09 Formula One took a big step towards a leaner future yesterday with its first cap on team spending and immediately sparked a row with Ferrari, the sport’s oldest and most prestigious competitor.
As the FIA, motor sport’s world governing body, announced a £40 million voluntary budget limit on teams entering next year’s championship to help to sustain Formula One through the world recession and encourage new teams to take part, it was accused by Ferrari of ruining the sport with new regulations that are neither fair nor properly thought through.
In a strongly worded letter to Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, which was leaked to The Times, Luca Di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president, says that caps have been foisted on teams without proper warning. Ferrari claim that the rules will cause only damage to Formula One because of the inevitable wrangling about policing them and allegations of cheating.
Di Montezemolo goes on to warn about the emergence of a two-tier championship next season, with some teams running with a capped budget but greater technical freedoms and others still spending hundreds of millions of pounds but subject to stricter technical controls. The Italian’s views found support yesterday from other teams, among them Williams and McLaren Mercedes
“There are doubts as to whether or not two categories of teams should be created which will inevitably mean that one category will have an advantage over the other and that the championship will be fundamentally unfair and, perhaps, even biased,” the Ferrari president told Mosley. “In any event, this would create confusion in the public’s mind, which would seriously lower the value of Formula One.”
Di Montezemolo’s outburst came as the FIA released the full details of the cap, which is set at £10 million more than Mosley’s original proposal outlined in March and is likely to lead to large-scale redundancies in some of the biggest teams. The cap covers most aspects of expenditure, but areas exempted include marketing and hospitality budgets, driver salaries and engine costs for 2010 only.
Mosley remained unmoved by the concerns of Ferrari. In a written reply to the Ferrari president, Mosley underlined that the world recession is hitting the sport’s two main sources of income — the car industry and the financial services sector — especially hard and it is his duty to respond.
“We cannot just sit and wait, hoping nothing bad will happen,” Mosley told Di Montezemolo in a letter also seen by The Times. “We have already lost one manufacturer [Honda]. Despite my repeated requests, not a single manufacturer has given us a legally binding undertaking that it will continue in Formula One. We already know that current levels of expenditure are unsustainable for the independent teams. If we are to reduce the risk of the Formula One World Championship collapsing, we have to allow new teams in. We also have to reduce costs drastically.”
Mosley rejected the idea that the budget cap could lead to a two-tier championship, arguing that the technical freedoms given to capped cars are an “insurance policy” to help to maintain a full grid and to close the performance gap between low-budget teams and those backed by unlimited expenditure. London Times