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Ferrari sacrificed pace for good of F1 - Montezemolo

ESPNF1 Staff
December 23, 2011 « Montezemolo ups pressure on Massa | Hulkenberg looking to establish himself in F1 in 2012 »
Ferrari's only win of 2011 came at the British Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Luca di Montezemolo believes Ferrari sacrificed its competitiveness in the interests of Formula One following the off-throttle blown diffuser debate at the British Grand Prix.

Ferrari's only win of 2011 came at Silverstone when the FIA tweaked the rules to limit the use of elaborate engine maps to improve downforce. Teams were engineering their cars to continue to blow exhaust gases over the diffuser even when the driver was off the throttle, with the likes of Red Bull and McLaren leading the way with the concept. The FIA deemed the practise illegal, but enforcing a ban proved difficult due to the various side-effects it could have on engine reliability.

The FIA then said it would be willing to drop the ban if the teams unanimously agreed, and on Sunday morning at Silverstone all the teams bar Ferrari and Sauber were in favour of switching back to the old rules. After the race, once Fernando Alonso had won, Ferrari and Sauber fell in line and agreed to drop the ban.

During a Christmas lunch on Thursday, Montezemolo said that Ferrari, in agreeing to return to lift the restriction, had sacrificed its own performance to avoid a potentially damaging political struggle with the other teams.

"Situations like the one in Silverstone must not happen again, when the rules changed three times over the course of a grand prix weekend," he said. "On that occasion, Ferrari decided to sacrifice its own interests to avoid a fall out that would have damaged Formula One, with all the accompanying comments that we did not want the agreement because we were not competitive…However, there were some who preferred to only think of their own interests."

Since the end of the season Ferrari has left the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and, although he is willing to continue to work with the other teams, Montezemolo said it was instances like Silverstone that had triggered the decision.

"We have left FOTA of our own accord and without consulting anyone else, because we were tired of the compromises dragging it down," he explained. "And let's be clear, if one is part of a club then everyone has to respect its rules, otherwise what's the point? However, I still believe that we can have a common vision between the biggest teams when it comes to the future and I will push to the maximum to seek out common objectives. All we want are clear rules and interpretations."