Voice of the F1 Fans: Ferrari’s new Blingmobile Part 1 – A scarlet introduction

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor landroni

This series of articles looks in some length at the futuristic design proposed by Ferrari and some of the issues surrounding it and F1 more generally. Part I serves as an introduction to the scarlet proposal…


What were they thinking?!

Lo and behold! Let yourself provoked! Ferrari has just released its new Blingmobile! Get a copy, get a copy now! Only 5 cents!

How else would you call this scarlet monstrosity? The only parts missing are bells and whistles… And perhaps a large, tactile 4K widescreen unit as a display, for driver comfort when visualising crucial race-data indicators. Oh, oh, and a recent version of Angry Birds! (Is it possible that this… affront to the senses is the result of a fruitful collaboration with Lady Gaga?)

Come to think of it, it’s still incomplete. Ferrari designers have completely overlooked the need for 5.1 Dolby-Surround radio, strategically placing the speakers on top of the front and rear wings, with the subwoofer shoved inside the nose, all to ensure that “Fernando is faster than you” messages are not misheard or misinterpreted. (Note: Williams expressed interest in such modding 😛 ) Maybe the extra amplification available on the car could also be used to broadcast engine noise, so LOUD that even those few remaining F1 fans would run screaming for the hills…

What else? Well for now it’s only a rumour, as it can’t be clearly seen from this artist’s impression of the prototype. It does seem though that Maranello engineers have thought of providing F1 drivers with a nice, soothing waterfall foot spa with lights next to the braking pedal, possibly for when drivers feel their little toes numbing. Now that’s a mouthwatering prospect…

Or perhaps we’ve all just been fooled and Ferrari is simply test-marketing their latest high-tech, overpriced line of scarlet snowploughs. All under the watchful eyes of Sergio Marchionne, Maranello’s newly forged “il”: il Assassino occhialutto.  No doubt a worthy successor to il Commendatore and il Padrino.

Without commenting on the aesthetic merits of this futuristic Ferrari design, the proposal couldn’t have come from a worse place at a worse time. In a year in which small independent teams die by the wayside, cobbled by lack of revenue from their core business activities as well as astronomic cost increases for merely putting four wheels and an arse-holder on the grid, it is most unfortunate for one of the most privileged F1 teams to talk “reducing costs” while proposing “cost increases”.

Considering that half of the grid is on the brink of collapse, this scarlet proposal is, in one word: inappropriate.

The sad part is that people who should know better tend to forget that car looks have been and will largely remain a by-product of technical regulations. Unless you’re dealing with a formula series, which F1 is not (yet), car looks will be dictated by technological and performance constraints. And trying to regulate car looks is for the most part a futile endeavor, as Todt is no doubt learning (anyone with a fetish for those shrunken noses this year?).

Geneva Motor Show 04-05 03 2014

Preaching to the wind

Yet it seems that in recent years Ferrari has tasked itself with reinventing the wheel, and revolutionising F1, and in the words of Spice Boy Horner, “for the good of the sport“. When he was still at Ferrari, Il Padrino wouldn’t stop lecturing anyone who would not listen about 3 car teams.

Early last year di Montezemolo was caught napping, warning us all of the dangers and horrors of ‘taxi drivers’: “Ferrari said many months ago that we are against the limit of fuel, that this is not F1. Last Christmas in front of the all the journalists [I said] that I am very afraid that the new formula means drivers are taxi drivers.

Bahrain 2014 neatly showcased though that the only taxi drivers in the desert were in red. After the Safety Car, the anaemic Ferrari PU found itself overtaken lap after lap after lap. Not even the Spanish Samurai could do anything to spare Ferrari the humiliation of getting a solid beating by both Mercedes and Renault powered steeds.

And then there is the noise. The deafening NOISE coming from cheerleaders of Ecclestone, like Il Padrino, on the lack of noise from the 2014 power units: “The second problem is the music of F1, not the noise but the music.” Well, Mercedes did test and propose a solution for that, which strangely didn’t seem to appeal to Ferrarista marketeers. Apparently sticking a trumpet into the exhaust isn’t a technology that is transferable to Ferrari’s road cars… You wouldn’t want sheikhs and oligarchs blinging around with a red trumpet stuck into their rears, would you?

merc trumpet - untitled24

Sticking it to Ferrari

But this latest initiative from Maranello is no longer about premier open-wheel racing, but merely ensuring that F1 remains a carefully crafted marketing platform for Ferrari road cars. No more. If Ferrari genuinely thought such designs are interesting, then surely they would be more appropriate for a WEC entry? They could also just go ahead and come up with their own spec Formula Ferrari, not dissimilar to Formula Renault, but with their own futuristic vision of racing cars. Yet it is very, very hard to believe that Ferrari have genuine interest in all of this.


Spot the difference…

Chances are that Ferrari have simply been incapable of sorting out their engine and chassis for the past few years, even when heavily subsidised by smaller teams and are now looking for ways to compensate. Take that for overcompensation!

The regressive revenue distribution in F1 means that the richest teams to begin with will get the biggest share of the income.

According to Autosport, in 2013 Ferrari got £110m from FOM (including a £60m bonus), while the poorest teams get a big fat… well, not much really. Sauber got a scrawny £35m, while Marussia a ridiculous £10m. In other words, this revenue scheme is effectively a system taking money from the poor and distributing it to the rich, in the proudest traditions of the mildest of the North Korean dictatorships…

The reasoning behind a 10x differential is extremely difficult to comprehend. As reported by TJ13, it is aeons away from, for instance, the revenue distribution in the Premier League, where the best and worst paid teams are comfortably within a 2x differential.

Part II will introduce the clowns…

Disclaimer: TheJudge13 provides a platform for Formula 1 fans to publish their voice on matters relating to Formula 1. The views expressed in Voice of #F1 Fans are those of the contributor and not those held by TJ13.

12 responses to “Voice of the F1 Fans: Ferrari’s new Blingmobile Part 1 – A scarlet introduction

  1. I’m glad you added the disclaimer, Judge. Not only was this a bizzare and disjointed rant but I am really struggling to see the point of it beyond more ‘Waaaah! Ferrari! It’s not fair..!’
    Does anyone SERIOUSLY believe that the futuristic F1 car was anything other than an opportunity for the company to demonstrate that there is an appetite for change in Formula 1?
    And yes, in context the extra payments to Ferrari may seem incongruous but don’t blame Ferrari for being the backbone of the sport for 60 years and competing for decades longer than the next oldest teams. We all know why they get that money; it’s because if we were to analyse it carefully I’m sure we would see that probably half of the fans worldwide are Ferrari fans and their name and cachet brings people to the sport every year. Yes, F1 is vital to Ferrari, but Ferrari is far more important to Formula 1…

    • “And yes, in context the extra payments to Ferrari may seem incongruous but don’t blame Ferrari for being the backbone of the sport for 60 years”

      Red Bull isn’t the backbone of much if anything (sour grapes, perhaps?), but it too received in 2013 a whopping £100m from FOM (including a £47m bonus). So there you have two teams, including one with the racing heritage of a plastic can, each getting a stratospheric 10 times more than the last placed entrant. This is ridiculous on the face of it…

      For comparison, in the Premier League the best placed team in season 2013-14 received no more than 1.5 times of what the last placed entrant got in terms of distribution of funds. Manchester City the winner got £97.7m that year, compared to Cardiff City the bottom placed team with £63.7m. And MC clearly has no outstanding football heritage. The clubs that do stand the test of time and can boast long-standing heritage still didn’t get anything above £100m: Liverpool got £98.8m, Arsenal — £93.4m, and Manchester United — £90.5m. All comfortably within a 2x differential of the last placed team.

      For the life of me, I simply cannot explain the 10x differential that we’re seeing in F1…

      “Yes, F1 is vital to Ferrari, but Ferrari is far more important to Formula 1…”

      IMO Ferrari’s importance to F1 is overrated. F1 is more important to Ferrari (their main marketing platform), than Ferrari to F1 (mostly a team among others, notwithstanding its heritage). I’d be curious to see Ferrari make good on its threat one day and quit F1: F1 wouldn’t even blink, but Ferrari would have a much tougher time selling those cars…

      On the other hand, I would be much more worried if McLaren or Williams ever folded. If that were to happen, F1 as we know it would probably cease to exist…

    • I agree with the bizarre rant part. This one wasn’t really thought trough. I even struggled to finish it, in hope there was better to come. But all I can make off it is that you don’t like ferrari (Wich is ok. Own opinions and stuff) but the rambling went on and on without any real point being made except the I don’t like ferrari part.

    • Backbone? I can remember races they didn’t even bother turning up for pre-FIAT buyout (1973). Usually concentrated on Le Mans early in the year and then F1 after that.

      But who were the titans of GP Racing almost 100 years ago? Mercedes, FIAT, Auto Union.. Audi/VW just sacked Piech from the board. The way is clear for this three way tussle to resume in F1 😉 I hear there’s a Red Bull team that needs some heritage….

  2. landroni – I’m sure I’m not the only one to say thank you for laying down your sword, and picking up your pen. I’m pleased to see a critical review of Ferrari’s fantasyland exercise.

    Excellent article! Nice work!

    • Thanks Vortex Motio!

      This introduction merely scratches the surface and looks at the tip of the iceberg. In the subsequent parts I will attempt to hack at the base of the iceberg… 🙂

  3. As it is with corporate society, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. The rich get tax breaks and break breaks on everything, then, when the economy they contrived goes sour, the rich turn around and blame the poor for how much money they don’t have.

    • You hit the proverbial nail on the head.
      The financial markets, banks and big business contrived all of this. They needed a way to make more money, so they eased restrictions on giving credit. With more mortgages and loans available the workforce becomes more compliant. You don’t want to lose your job or miss a promotion and then find you can’t repay your debt. Big business could restrict pay rises and expect more work and longer hours from their employees, beacause nobody could afford to object.
      Not only that, but the banks also were in a win win situation. If they made any losses these could be written off against their tax bills, so the people were still subsidising them. They still managed to find their big bonuses too, despite the recession they had caused.

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