Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler: The Grumpy Jackal
The release of Terminator 2 in 1991 confirmed Arnold Schwarzenegger as the biggest movie star in the world. His films made hundreds of millions in revenue; thereby allowing him to command the salary he was paid.
Twas ever thus – gladiators in Rome were superstars as were playwrights and artists in the middle ages. In the 20th century – with the advent of moving pictures and gramophones – superstars moved into our living rooms. All the while, the very best were rewarded beyond the wildest dreams of the populace.
Over the last thirty years we have seen remuneration of athletes reaching levels achieved by small corporations and yet – to this day – whenever Ferrari’s income is written about in the motor-sport media – everyone has an opinion, usually a poor one.
Todt said: “Maybe wrongly, I think Ferrari is unique. Without underestimating what the other teams have done, I feel that Ferrari has achieved more than the others. It’s like when you produce a movie. You need stars so that you know you are going to sell the movie all over the world. And then you have stars with different contracts. And Ferrari in its business is a star and wants to be paid like a star. I say that without arrogance.”
Rumours in the paddock suggested that Ferrari’s acceptance of the 2005 Concorde Agreement had been due to Bernie Ecclestone agreeing a £50 million annual payment before any television monies were paid to the members of the paddock.
People suggest that it isn’t a fair playing field and it should be distributed equally but I disagree.
Ferrari’s history dates back to 1947 as a constructor but it’s connection dates back to the early twentieth century with Alfa-Romeo. Before Bernie Ecclestone took control of start and prize monies, the teams had to negotiate themselves.
It was here that Ferrari were peerless. It did not matter if the entry was single-seater or sportscars, if Ferrari were not present the meeting seemed to carry less prestige. A recent much rumoured return to LeMans would be welcomed by both the circuit and the competition because Ferrari is the Star.
Everyone remembers the 1982 Imola Grand Prix that had all the FOCA teams refuse to compete. It mattered little to the public as Ferrari competed. What most people don’t remember is the 1981 South African GP – it was actually a one off FOCA run race and Ferrari, Renault and Alfa-Romeo didn’t attend.
Carlos Reutemann won in a Williams from Nelson Piquet in a Brabham and yet: “FOCA have proved themselves capable of staging a race,” wrote Maurice Hamilton in the Guardian, “but even the most ardent enthusiasts had to admit that a race without Ferrari was like an international rugby championship without Wales.”
These are merely a few of the reasons that Ecclestone always accommodates Ferrari. Whatever his shortcomings he has always understood what power actually means and that is why, when the teams wanted to arrange a breakaway series in 2008 they needed Ferrari; although publicly their propaganda would suggest otherwise. As reported on this website here on 6th February 2013 – “the Ferrari brand was deemed the most powerful and recognisable in the world.”