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…
“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?).
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?
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.
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.