Ferrari’s latest FIA rant attacks “Serbian vultures” and Mosley’s “holy war”

2010 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The attack on the FIA published by Ferrari on their website has already drawn some reaction in the daily round-up.

Ferrari has made several such criticisms in the past months but this is the most vociferous yet. It claims Lotus and Virgin “will limp into the start of the championship”, calls Stefan GP the “Serbian vultures” and leaves no-one in any doubt where Ferrari believe the blame lies:

This is the legacy of the holy war waged by the former FIA president.

Last week the team marked the 112nd anniversary of founder Enzo Ferrari’s birthday. It published a short interview with his son Piero Ferrari which was light on reminiscences about Enzo but heavy on the politics:

Q: What would he have thought about a Championship where the test sessions are concentrated in four weeks and obstructed by lots of rain?

A: He would have been completely against it. That’s for sure. […]

I completely agree with Luca di Montezemolo when he says that there should be the possibility to start a third car, which can be managed by smaller teams, or maybe even do it like we did in the 1970s, considering the stable rules, private teams often used cars from the bigger teams from the previous year. I really think that it’s absolutely possible thinking about introducing a third car, which could guarantee more suspense and lower costs.

It is clear the Ferrari and the FIA have different interpretations of what caused manufacturers to leave F1 and what the solution should be.

The FIA believes high costs drove the car manufacturers out and the remedy is to change the rules so teams with smaller budgets can compete.

Ferrari believes Mosley’s governance of F1 drove the likes of Toyota and BMW away (and Renault in all but name) and the solution is to allow teams to run more cars.

The problem with Ferrari’s ‘three car teams’ solution is it will stifle variety, make it easer for a single team to dominate the championship and make it harder for existing small teams like Williams and Force India to compete.

Allow teams to enter more than two cars and it’s not hard to see F1 gradually degenerating into a DTM equivalent with just two car makers supplying the entire field.

That scenario would be far worse for F1 than having a couple of uncertain entries at the back of the grid. And it would bring the added problem of races being spoiled by team orders which the DTM has struggled with in recent years (more on that here: Why three-car teams isn’t a great idea).

But what is most surprising is that Ferrari are happy for their point to be put across in this fashion. The hectoring style and grandiose language in the statement verges on comical at times. Perhaps something has been lost in translation.

The wording may be odd but the meaning is clear. The question now is whether Jean Todt will heed the words of his former team.

Here’s the original statement in full:

Maranello, 22nd February – Only less than three weeks to go until the ultimate form of motor sport, the Formula One World Championship, gets underway, while celebrating its sixtieth birthday this year. For many of the teams, this coming week is a crucial one, as the bell rings to signal the final lap, with the last test session getting underway in Barcelona. It is one last chance to run the cars on track, to push reliability to the limit and to try and find some performance. That’s the situation for many teams but not for all of them. Of the thirteen teams who signed up, or were induced to sign up, for this year’s Championship, to date only eleven of them have heeded the call, turning up on track, some later than others, and while some have managed just a few hundred kilometres, others have done more, but at a much reduced pace. As for the twelfth team, Campos Meta, its shareholder and management structure has been transformed, according to rumours which have reached the Horse Whisperer through the paddock telegraph, with a sudden cash injection from a munificent white knight, well used to this sort of last minute rescue deal. However, the beneficiaries of this generosity might find the knight in question expects them to fulfil the role of loyal vassal. All this means, it is hard to imagine the Dallara designed car showing its face at the Catalunya Circuit, with Sakhir a more likely venue to witness the return of the Senna name to a Formula One session.

The thirteenth team, USF1, appears to have gone into hiding in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the dismay of those like the Argentinian, Lopez, who thought he had found his way into the Formula One paddock, (albeit with help from chairwoman Kirchner, according to the rumours) and now has to start all over again. Amazingly, they still have the impudence to claim that everything is hunky-dory under the starry stripy sky.

Next, we have the Serbian vultures. Firstly, they launched themselves into a quixotic legal battle with the FIA, then they picked the bones of Toyota on its death bed. Having got some people on board, around whom there was still a whiff of past scandals, they are now hovering around waiting to replace whoever is first to drop out of the game, possibly with backing from that very same knight in shining armour whom we mentioned earlier.

This is the legacy of the holy war waged by the former FIA president. The cause in question was to allow smaller teams to get into Formula One. This is the outcome: two teams will limp into the start of the championship, a third is being pushed into the ring by an invisible hand – you can be sure it is not the hand of Adam Smith – and, as for the fourth, well, you would do better to call on Missing Persons to locate it. In the meantime, we have lost two constructors along the way, in the shape of BMW and Toyota, while at Renault, there’s not much left other than the name. Was it all worth it?

Do you think he should? Is replacing car manufacturers with the likes of Virgin Racing really such a bad thing for F1? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: Why three-car teams isn’t a great idea

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

240 comments on “Ferrari’s latest FIA rant attacks “Serbian vultures” and Mosley’s “holy war””

  1. Jarred Walmsley
    23rd February 2010, 8:57

    The third car would only work if it was ineligable to score points and it was the last to recieve any aero updates, this way the teams would recieve little or no benefit from it.

    1. Wrong, it could still hold up the other cars, therefor giving the team an advantage anyway.

      1. It would work if all the teams had £300m budgets and they all had three point scoring cars, however the small teams don’t have that much and it wont work.

        1. A third car would also consume a grid-spot, a garage and would be an extra cost in transport costs. Ferrari would not have to pay for ferrying the extra baggage around the F1 World.

          1. OK, so most people are against 3 car teams, what about 1 car teams?

            USF1 only have 1 driver ( and no car just now) so should they be allowed to compete with 1 car?

            Would 1 car teams have worked for Toyota and BMW?

          2. Why don’t we let USF1 compete without any car and Lopez can just run.

          3. Jarred Walmsley
            24th February 2010, 8:45

            One car teams are an awful idea as well, they will stand no chance of getting any where in the constructors championship and hold up other cars as the development opportunites are limited.

            And with the 3 cars what about if they could only run the 3rd in Free Practise, i.e. to give F1 experience to their test drivers?

  2. Aleksandar Serbia
    23rd February 2010, 9:08

    Oh really ”vultures”, how about them being leeches and sucking the blood of F1 by extracting money for years, just because Bernie needed them in the sport!
    He admitted that F1 had a special contract with Ferrari, that had given them substantial money just to stay in the sport!
    If that is not prerogative for the spaghetti Bolognese team from Italy i don’t know!

    This kind of behavior is nothing but monopoly based thinking which says, we do not want another team taking sponsors. Stefan Gp is likely to be dropped to the favoritism of the Us team, since the Burger crowd is what they are after, but i cannot wonder how does Ferrari think they can get admission?
    Through a team vote? LOL We all know teams don’t like more new teams taking more sponsorship money, and if the way in is through buying out another team so be it?
    Isn’t F1 created on the Darwinian principle…survival of the fittest?

    1. couldn’t agree more

      1. couldn’t agree less

        1. mfdb- if there are so many ferrari fans, then Ferrari don’t need any money from Bernie, because all these ferrari crowds will buy ferrari products and will be a good response group for ferrari sponsors, so more money anyway.
          *** AND if they want so madly to keep ferrari in the sport they should give Ferrari just money AND NOT ON TRACK HELP ( as jackie steward uncovered some months ago) ***
          Also ING fan survey which took place in 2008 ( before lewis winning the championship) showed that McLaren fans are more than Ferrari fans !!!

      2. If I could note – it is estimated that 1/3 of all Formula One fans are Ferrari fans; if Ferrari left then arguably Formula One would be no more so I for one cannot argue against Bernie trying to keep them.

        Maybe instead consider the massive quantity of money that CVC and Bernie remove from the sport each year. Much of the sponsorship money put into the sport through its outrageously high fees to any would be circuits is removed and never seen again. How about CVC stop taking 50% and maybe take 20%, put the rest of the money back into the sport and at the same time ensure that come the end of the year they still have a sport to own the commercial rights of. F1 is dying, and CVC need to see past their greed and keep it alive – because their income is bonded to Formula 1’s continued existence.

        1. Surely then they are not Formula One fans then, they are simply Ferrari fans.

          A true Formula One fan would be a fan of the whole sport, many of the teams and drivers, maybe with a preffered team or three, but to stop watching an entire series because one team leaves surely means that they wern’t a fan of the series in the first place.

          1. couldn’t agree less ;)

          2. Well said. It’s Formula 1 and not Ferrari 1!!!
            Real fans are about the whole sport. Not all Ferrari fans are nutjobs btw. Some are real fans and understand the same as we do. It’s the sport as a whole.

          3. Personally I can’t wait to watch F1 without a cheating Team like Ferrari.
            I am also not to wrapped in seeing M.S. back in the sport as I also believe he is a cheat!

        2. Not to mention that Ferrari had the right to impose veto to any thechnical regulation change since 2000!!! Ferrari is the fiasko not F1

        3. Mark. I think E.I. has the split more accurately! but then I have never thought Ferrari had the lager share of the F1 Fan base.

          I do agree with your thoughts about CVC & Bernie Thou, their greed is killing the sport.

          1. lengy if you don’t want cheating teams, would you get rid of Mclaren as well?? I thinks I know the answer.

    2. who writes these statements? can you imagine McLaren writing something like this? no didn’t think so.

      1. This was also puplished in one of KEith’s articles!! First time it was mentioned by Mosley in order to cause confusion in FOTA

        1. i’m saying that i could never see Mclaren call stephangp ‘vultures’ or that virgin are ‘limping’ into F1. so why do ferrari do it?

    3. Stefan Gp is likely to be dropped to the favoritism of the Us team, since the Burger crowd is what they are after, but i cannot wonder how does Ferrari think they can get admission?
      Through a team vote? LOL We all know teams don’t like more new teams taking more sponsorship money, and if the way in is through buying out another team so be it?

      Sorry, mate, but you get it wrong here. It is very simple: Ferrari just don’t want his brand value been diminished in a battle with teams that do not have the same heritage and prestigious.

      They want to race and fight McLaren, BMW, Renault or Toyota, great brands. Winning or losing against those teams will always bring value to Ferrari business. What is the glory in rubbish… Campos or Stefan GP?

      1. I wasn’t referring at this article mate

        1. If you pay attention, will discover that my reply was to Aleksandar, mate…

    4. Absolutely on the nail !

      Ferrari has a leadership which really does believe that the team has a God-given right to be treated as a superior species of F1 competitor.

      Such arrogance is simply nauseating.

      I’m old enough to remember Enzo Ferrari’s struggles with debt, bad drivers, lethal circuits, and powerful opposition from Maserati, Lancia, Mercedes-Benz, Brabham, Lotus, Vanwall etc etc… In those days no-one strutted because they were all real racers with dust on their faces and oil and sometimes blood on their hands.

      Montezemolo comes accross as an arrogant diletante. A complete loud-mouthed sham.

      1. Ahhh the good old days where men were men, women were in the kitchen and an F1 driver died every season, the best of times.

        1. Don’t read sexist remarks where there are none. If you knew me even distantly you’d realise how daft your remark was….but let it pass. My remarks are in fact aimed at the kind of people both of us despise. People who clearly believe they are of a superior caste.


    5. no ferrari in f1 would kill the sport

      1. Rubbish! Cheats Kill the sport!

        1. More of this “Ferrari are cheats” rubbish?

          1. not really rubbish tho is it….

          2. with that in mind they’ve also signed the biggest current cheat in the sport in Alonso. Team him up with de la rosa and you’ve got the cause of the entire spygate saga.
            cant wait to see how they cheat this year, hidden traction control – again… flexible wings – again?….. making the no.2 drive practically stop before the line to let the lead drive take max points – again?…..

          3. “not really rubbish tho is it….”

            Well, the way people bang on about it, you’d think no other team has ever done anything that could be considered cheating, so leave Ferrari alone.

          4. really? let me guess you support mcclaren. do i need to list the number of infringements they have done in the past ooo lets see two years… most of which hamilton got caught up in big time. the wing was no more illegal than the DD – the rules were just amended to stop it the next season.

      2. Maybe for you, If Ferrari quit now, I’ll still tune into Bahrain at 1 in the morning and happily do so! (actually being in AUS means all races are 1 in the morning…)

        I understand what Leon meant completely,

    6. Isn’t F1 created on the Darwinian principle…survival of the fittest?

      This is a pretty glaring misconception.

  3. i Don’t agree with 3 car teams purely from a domination perspective. Look at last year if we had 3 car teams Brawn would hav done a Ferarri an wrapped it up by June-July! Smaller budget? Yes and No. Yes for the actual operation of the team on site at a grand prix, but back home I think it should be limited full scale wind tunnel testing to equivalent of 10 days per calender month in season (adjust for summer break); unlimited or 20 days off season; unlimited CFD (eg what Virgin used to create their car) and no limit on homeward staff and analysis and design teams. Yes to tire changes as even Nascar has them and their longer races than F1, but i think there should just be to dry tires like Australian V8 supercars. 1 normal tyre ans 1 “sprint” that can be used at any 1 point during the race itself with the freedom of choice to start on either tyre. But hey thats just my thoughts…..

    1. Racing in the rain and occasional torrential downpour results in some of the most exciting races I have ever seen. ex. Hungary 2006 when Jenson got his first win and Alonso and Schumacher had an epic battle at a track that never sees passing. Granted, ther will be the occasional f-up like at Malaysia in 2009, but lets be honest, the end result of that race was a result of a bunch of bad decisions by the FIA/Bernie.

  4. I love this I really do. It’s so nice not to have to try and see through the PR talk for a change and actually have a bit of passion in front of us. It’s refreshing, makes the sport a bit more human and evokes just as much passion from fans as Ferrari have just given.
    Ferrari do have some valid points.
    I don’t like the 3 car idea at all, Toyota and BMW leaving was probably a mixture of high costs, governance and their own ways of tackling F1 which failed. I agree about the new teams but if they have a solid foundation to work on so they can really make a commitment then that’s better but if they’re juust going to wobble constantly then leave it really just is a pointless exercise which does nothing for the sport.

    1. You see it as passion. To me it looks like a bad attitude, even a desperate attempt for the ‘big guy’ to throw their weight around to get what they want, and I don’t buy it.

      1. Of course they’re trying to get what they want. Every team will do what they can to get what they want in F1 just they have different methods and styles.
        They have a ‘strop’ then great, better to see and read this (especially when it is quite comical) than wonder just what is going on behind closed doors.
        I, and plenty of other fans, regularly complain about many different things in F1. Ferrari are right there experiencing it so they can say what they like. I would say the same if it was Mclaren or Williams or whoever else.

        1. *if they have a ‘strop’ that is…

      2. I agree. It makes Ferrari look like a bunch of snobs. Perhaps they are. What you see is what you get.

        1. LOL, this is F1 mate, not soccer. Everyone is a snob.

    2. It’s so nice not to have to try and see through the PR talk for a change and actually have a bit of passion in front of us.

      I agree – it’s pretty rare these days.

      1. Well yeah, but cutting through PR talk is one thing, going too far and poisoning your working relationship with new FOTA colleagues is another. Sure there is truth in in all that, but it is condescending to the bone.

      2. You have to admit it’s pretty near to a childish display of petulance, Keith.

        Not very adult at all….

        Think Prisoner Monkey’s has the situation summed up precisely !

    3. Normally I’d agree Steph but I’m starting to get bored of Ferrari and their cryptic press releases. I wish they’d just accept that there stupid 3 car idea isn’t happening and shut up.

      1. I agree completely. Perhaps they need to hire some logical thinkers.

  5. Rule #1 of Ferrari is that they don’t welcome competition in any form – they’re only happy when they’ve got things their own way. They don’t like to beat other teams, they like to make sure other teams aren’t allowed to challenge them. Give them a straight fight, and they’ll lose. Hence the petulant attitude. I for one don’t believe that they are anywhere near the cornerstone of the sport they think they are.

    A bunch of big-spending manufacturer teams sitting at the back of the grid scoring no points is a lot worse for the sport than a couple of engaging private teams sitting at the back of the grid scoring no points, at least they’re not losing shareholder value in the process.

    1. “I for one don’t believe that they are anywhere near the cornerstone of the sport they think they are.”

      It’s nice to see someone else with this opinion too. If Ferrari left F1, I really, really don’t beleieve that the formula would come crashing down around itself like so many people seem to think.

      This is just bullying.

      3 car teams is not a good idea, and having a privateer running the 3rd car doesn’t make it a 3 car team, it makes it a 2 car works team, and a 1 car customer team. And I thought we just went through a whole flip-flop about whether that was allowed or not, which it isn’t.

      Serbian vultures? Yeah, whatever Ferrari. There are plenty of vultures in F1 already, mostly Italian.

      I’d rather have a brimmed 26 car grid with 3 or 4 of the new teams limping for a while whilst they build up to speed, and in a year or two, having them in amongst the pack, than a 20 or 18 car grid, which just looks anorexic on TV. I doubt Virgin and Lotus will be limping, no more than Minardi used to anyway.

      If you want to make the rules, go form a breakaway championship. Oh wait, you tried, then you caved in and failed, so now you’re having to live with being a part of a Championship where you throw the toys out of the pram when you don’t get your own way, even though you’ve won more championships in the last 15 years then everyone else put together.

      Go away.

      1. Aleksandar Serbia
        23rd February 2010, 12:21

        thanx ajokaj, big hug ok, a really big one!

        1. Aleksandar Serbia
          23rd February 2010, 12:22

          oh wait a minute here’s another one ;)

    2. I agree with you Hairs 100%

  6. Keith, being Italian my first language I can tell you that the English translation is not literal and there are several differences between the two versions.
    In Italian, the “Serbian vultures” become “owls that have their lair in Serbia”! While “chairwoman Kirchner” is given her correct title of president in Italian. That said, the hectoring style is common to both versions.
    Ferrari, typically, is probably trying to put pressure on Todt and make clear who the boss is in F1!

    1. That’s very interesting! I’m trying to learn your language at the moment, for obvious reasons :-)

      1. You after Luca’s job Keith?

    2. Thanks for that Paul. I wondered how much of this had been lost in translation. I wish they employed an English journalist to rewrite their press releases.

      Quotes like “everything is hunky-dory under the starry stripy sky” just sound weird in English!

      1. Actually that quote is brilliantly insulting I think, dodgy translation or not.