“If you’re attacking make sure you get it right, else the Horse Whisperer will eat you for lunch.” Ferrari’s Twitter account, the Horse Whisperer, delights in shaming journalists and it’s best to avoid being the subject of one of its posts.
It was grand advice from a fellow hack as we discussed Luca di Montezemolo. As the President of Ferrari, Monte is one of the more influential figures in Formula 1. He heads Formula 1’s oldest and most commercially valuable asset.
However, such a lofty position does mean he’s immune to daft statements. A Ferrari old boy who has been with the company since he had spots on his face shows signs of loyalty bordering on ignorance, and it was this which prompted a conversation.
In the wake of the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix there were two stories of note. One was a storm in a tea cup stirred by an otherwise respectable publication and the other was the sad demise of HRT.
While few will likely miss the squad, its demise should be seen as a reality check. Budgets in Formula 1 are stratospheric; even Sakon Yamamoto’s mother couldn’t afford to keep a team going.
Much has been done with regards to cost cutting, most of it window dressing. Max Mosley, during his reign as FIA President, introduced draconian new regulations aimed at reducing costs. It was in the teams interests but McLaren boss Ron Dennis and William’s chief Frank Williams took the matter to arbitration.
A decade on and nothing has changed; the demise of HRT is evidence of that.
And so in the wake of HRT disconnecting the phone lines, Di Montezemolo’s comments appeared ill-timed and ignorant. Having long lobbied for a return of testing, which costs teams more than racing itself, Monte reaffirmed the team’s position just days after a rival closed its doors.
“I’m no longer happy that we can’t do testing on tarmac and that you can’t give any chance for young drivers to emerge,” he argued. “We are constructors, no sponsors.”
Ferrari is one of the privileged few. It receives financial benefits from Bernie Ecclestone, acknowledgment from the sports supremo that Ferrari is key to its longevity. Many other teams do not enjoy such security.
Force India is investing heavily, though is saying nothing on where the money is coming from, while Caterham has taken on more debt to help improve its fortunes.
Just what happens when Red Bull gets bored of Formula 1 is an especially frightful thought, and there are strong suggestions it is growing tired of its current level of investment.
To therefore lobby for increased spending at a time when teams are doing well to survive is one blinkered opinion at best.
Ferrari is just one, spoiled voice among the Formula 1 paddock and it would do well to consider the position of its rivals before making sweeping statements.