F1 Max is back

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In the digital age in which we live, the shifting sands of F1 politicking seems to be played out in almost a daily fashion. Who’s in bed with who this week, is not difficult to understand as we see the F1 accredited media give internet ink columns to anyone who is prepared to be quoted.

It’s not just on track that Ferrari have been under going a revolution, the Maranello business as a whole is being re-engineered by the Automotive guru that is Sergio Marchionne.

As Chairman of the Fiat Chrysler Group, Sergio is committed to selling of the Ferrari automotive division and this may have significant implications for the Scuderia racing team.

For years Ferrari road cars have funded the vast amounts of cash spent on the Ferrari Formula One team, but those days may well now be numbered.

$500m a year has been spent without a blink of an eye in Maranello, in an attempt to keep the prancing horse brand at the head of the F1 field. Unfortunately, this plan failed for years, but with a Ferrari resurgence on the cards this year, will it be a case of money well spent?

Times are changing for Ferrari, with new owners on the horizon, it could well be that the ‘new’ Ferrari view will eventually mean retaining more of that company profit currently being spent on the frivolities of racing fast cars.

And so, maybe just maybe, for the first time in living memory – Ferrari may have an interest in reducing the amount they spend on Formula One.

Max Mosley offered a proposition this week to make F1 less expensive. This was a little surprising give the ex-FIA president has previously maintained he would not reveal his ideas for the future of Formula One – and “do Jean Todt’s job for him.”

The Moseley big idea was to allow a greater freedom of the technical regulations for manufacturers prepared to sign up for a budget cap.

Ferrari need to reduce the exorbitant amount of money they budget for their race team, in the medium term So suddenly some kind of spending restraint is now expedient for the red team.

So it is no surprise that Ferrari engine customer team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, has now come out in support of Max Moseley’s proposal.

As a team we have always said that a budget cap is the only sensible way ahead,” said Kaltenborn. “It brings you into a healthy region of how much you should be spending.

“With Max’s idea, he has done the most he can to bring out the technical and engineering challenge.

“I don’t think there is any other concept out there that would allow you to maximise this part – which is the essence of F1.

“F1 is about racing primarily, but it’s also about engineering.”

Remember, a budget cap alone with no reduction in engine costs or redistribution of revenue – does not help the Sauber cause one jot.

Whether this will be enough to see some kind of tri-party agreement between FOM, the teams and the FIA reinstated – is anyone’s guess – and it will require the FIA to do more than vote with the majority.

Bernie Ecclestone made clear his disdain for the way Jean Todt operates in his recent interview with Eddie Jordan.

“Jean is not Max”, Ecclestone retorted, when asked to compare now with the times he and Moseley knocked heads together to deliver a difficult decision.

The Ferrari customer team principal exhorts all to embrace Max Mosley’s budget cap proposition, stating: “Max has expressed an interesting and good idea here – and you need visions today in F1,” Kaltenborn said.

“This kind of vision for me shows that maybe you need some kind of French Revolution in the sport, because that was at the time also about freedom and equality.

“Maybe it’s time for a French revolution.”

Wow. Just wow.

Monisha may as well have said. “wake up you lazy, self obsessed aristocrats in the place de Concorde. Do you not understand your own history?”

Of course all analogies are lacking in some way. However, Jean Todt’s non-interventionist policy does appear to have undertones of “let them eat cake”.

And even though Moseley has little chance of returning to Formula One, the fact he is being invoked, means even in spirit alone – F1 Max is back!

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34 responses to “F1 Max is back

  1. Do I detect a softening of the Judges tone when it comes to Ms Kaltenborn? Maybe even a little admiration?

    • Hey – Monisha has a really tough job, as does Fernley – and we should thank our lucky stars that each year they take on the impossible and thankless tasks they do.

      But she screwed up – should have admitted it – the Facebook release form Sauber was BS.

      Spanky sold off the F1 rights for a ‘pot of message’ – but we welcome his recent proposal.

  2. Wow. Just wow, indeed!

    Is it at all possible that FOM’s 99 year contract may be invalidated in some way, (some day)?

    The FIA seems to be letting FOM drive F1 to a precipice. Which causes me to wonder what are the various possible end games that may play out to the favor of the FIA?

    For instance, if the 99 year contract is invalidated, then I wonder if the FIA may then make available, by open bids, a service contract to manage and promote F1 for a more normal length of time, (perhaps a 5 year contract, or a 7 year contract, etc).

    Such a process would enable tighter control by the FIA over F1.

    With the revival of F3, then F4, and soon F2, it would appear that the FIA is moving to ensure they will be on stronger footing if they have to someday arm-wrestle the owners of FOM for control of F1. All of this to help prevent a rogue GP1 spec car series by FOM, I suppose.

    If the 99 year contract can be broken, then it opens up the possibilities.

  3. “As Chairman of the Fiat Chrysler Group, Sergio is committed to selling of the Ferrari automotive division”

    BS. FIAT intend to spin it off as a listed separate company with FIAT retaining 51% + ownership.

    ‘For years Ferrari road cars have funded the vast amounts of cash spent on the Ferrari Formula One team, but those days well now be numbered.”

    BS. Ferrari F1 is self-funded. Marlboro, Santander, Shell and their FOM payout is worth $400M a year. UPS, the secondary and technical sponsors make up the rest.

    • Well stated. The Ferrari Formula 1 team are not going anywhere. Why do you think Maurizio Arrivabene is has his position. He knows how Formula 1 and how the politics are played.

    • None of the cash that is generated by sales of Ferrari road cars supports the F1 team?

      I understood the original / historical business model was road car sales support the F1 team. When did the Ferrari F1 team stop using money from road car sales?

        • Me – “When did the Ferrari F1 team stop using money from road car sales?”

          You – “When sponsorship was allowed into F1…”

          Really? Are you sure? How do we know?

          The link you’ve shared is only about liveries, is useful to determine when Ferrari’s F1 budgets started to combine income from sponsors with the sales of road cars.

          AFAIK, Ferrari’s F1 team still uses money from the sales of road cars, (or at least has the liberty to do so). The Judge’s point is that Ferrari lose that liberty if they become a publicly trade company.

          • Ferrari’s sponsorship deals are shrouded in mystery. However, clearly even Ferrari sponsors are feeling the pinch – Philip Morris called it time on the winter retreat they used to pay for called Wrooom – this event didn’t cost 10’s of millions.

            Further, Maranello was believed to be fudging Ferrari’s income and using brand/image rights to disguise the true figures behind the profits from road car manufacturing and spend on the F1 team. Marchionne split the brand/image rights income away from Maranello in 2014, so the road car division and the Scuderia are now much more transparent to Fiat Chrysler Automotive in their internal accounting.

          • @Vortex Motio
            “The Judge’s point is that Ferrari lose that liberty if they become a publicly trade company.”

            Very curious, what do you mean by this? Do you imply that by becoming publicly traded (like e.g. Williams) they open themselves to disclosure requirements which all but prevents funny dealings?

    • …and what happens to listed companies Cav?

      And instead of doing your usual hit and run – poke holes in something written by someone else and offer no constructive engagement – you explain why Kaltenborn thinks this is a good idea?

      As the article says – this measure alone does nothing for Sauber.

      • Kaltenborn is a cash strapped Ferrari customer – thats why she thinks its a good idea, as the article implies, its political posturing. The measure would help a listed Ferrari, and so she speaks out to curry favour

      • “you explain why Kaltenborn thinks this is a good idea?”

        She also thought signing four drivers for two seats was a good idea……………

  4. From what I understand Sergio is not sell off much of Ferrari. I heard somewhere between 10-15% of the company. Leaving the current owners with a solid controlling position. This stock floatation will not change the ethos or operating procedures in Maranello.

  5. “Max Mosley offered a proposition this week to make F1 less expensive. This was a little surprising give the ex-FIA president has previously maintained he would not reveal his ideas for the future of Formula One – and do Todt’s job.

    The big Moseley idea was to allow a greater freedom of the technical regulations for manufacturers prepared to sign up for a budget cap.”

    I believe I’ve seen this idea floated in mid-2009, during the closest thing we’ve seen to F1 collapse / breakaway series. This link covers it adequately…

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIA–FOTA_dispute

    “Bernie Ecclestone made it clear in his Bahrain interview with Eddie Jordan his disdain for the manner in which Jean Todt operates as president of the FIA.

    “Jean is not Max”, Ecclestone retorted, when asked to compare now with the times he and Moseley knocked heads together top deliver a decision.”

    Rule of thumb: Whatever Bernie is pushing for is unlikely to be of any genuine value for F1 beyond Bernie’s personal agenda; an agenda which we’ve seen – time and again – being quite a myopic CVC-esque focus with complete disregard for the longer term health of the sport. Therefore, the inverse of this agenda, Jean Todt, may actually be misrepresented… Just a thought.

    The wolf, through Max, is indeed howling; music to my ears.

    • Incidentally, I am in favour of a budget cap. I am simply not sure this mechanism proposed by Max is… practical. However, I did think an article you wrote a few days ago, “It’s time for the FIA and FOM to get tough with the teams”, was spot on.

      Additionally, a subsequent reply-comment you made in that article in response to the usual go-to reason for why a budget cap wouldn’t work, the probable inability to adequately monitor and police, was also spot on.

      “… but this would be to a matter of degree… It would be impossible for the bigger teams to spend three and four times the amount above the cap….

      Sometimes you just have to start the journey… and see where it leads…”

      Either way, it’s interesting that Ferrari may now be aligned with the previously distasteful concept of reduced spending. Next up, a female US President. It’s the twilight zone!!! I never thought I’d live… blah, blah, blah.

  6. Come back Max, we’re prepared to overlook the naughty bits……
    Actually, I don’t mind saying that’s not a bad idea he’s floated.

    • “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
      Ecclesiastes 1:9

      See my first comment above, the wiki link shows that the idea has been proposed before, which isn’t to say it’s a bad idea…

      It maybe be time for it, it may not; I’m far from an expert. But it’s doing the rounds once again. A “new” idea of customer cars, next week…

      • Sure. Whatever….Just not the worst idea I’ve come across today….

        • Sorry, Peter, I didn’t mean to nitpick.

          My leveraging off your comment was simply to highlight the fact that this proposal is not a new idea, and indeed was part of the near destruction of F1 in 2009, which I thought important to the narrative of this article.

          That fact and the fact it’s coming from Bernie’s old tag-team partner combine to suggest to me that it’s not exactly a genuine heartfelt and intelligent moment of inspiration by Max to selflessly, and without hidden Bernie puppetry, assist poor ol’ F1. To me it all reeks of shrewd politicking…

          But I share your sentiment; whatever indeed, it also isn’t the worst idea I have heard today either.

    • @Peter Scandlyn
      “Come back Max, we’re prepared to overlook the naughty bits……”

      I’m surprised when people turn to Max as the past/future savior of F1. Wasn’t Spanky the one who sold the commercial rights for pennies to his buddy-bud-bud Bernie in the first place? And then prior to being booted out of F1 extended that contract by a ridiculous 100 years? He seems like one of the fundamental reasons F1 found itself in the position it currently is right now…

      • Absolutely right Landroni – but point me to someone with ‘clean hands’ in F1 – so why not be pragmatic about a good proposal and welcome it from whatever the source.

        • The Great Pragmatist…

          …a perfect compliment to The Great Contrarian.

          Good point.

          • No… you can’t make me take that pill. I, I just can’t. You’ll have to hide it in my food.

            You know, Judge, in the interest of ‘balance’, you’re cornering me into taking the role of The Great Idealist!

            Ewwwww YUK!

            But I just won’t do it Captain… I don’t have the power!

        • Oh, the proposal no doubt has merit. I’m just having fun shooting at the messenger… 🙂

  7. This Max idea is not new and is nice looking in theory. In principle as others have already concluded, especially those actually doing a job, such as Todt, the policing of a budget cap for teams owned by manufacturing groups is near impossible.
    May Max could address these gritty details before we are asked to jump up and applaud good ideas from the reichsleiter rather than look into why the present incumbent hasnt magically introduced such ideas

    • …indeed there is nothing new under the sun – as has already been suggested – But when Max speaks – its global headlines 😉

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