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F1 boss faces battle with teams

Luca di Montezemolo
Di Montezemolo wants to discuss how F1's revenues are split

Formula One teams appear to be on a collision course with Bernie Ecclestone over the way he runs the sport.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo - who chairs the teams' association Fota - said he was unhappy with many of the ways in which Ecclestone operated.

Di Montezemolo believes the sport does not need a "dictator", adding the time was approaching when Ecclestone, 78, would have to step down.

"I think sooner or later he has to stop," Di Montezemolo told the Times.

Last week the Fota and the sport's governing body, the FIA, agreed a raft of compromises to cut costs over the next two seasons.

Di Montezemolo now wants the teams to use their unified stance to alter the balance of power in F1, which he believes is not being run in a "normal" fashion.

"Do you think it is normal that we don't have one race in North America?" he continued.

"Do you think it is normal we understand from newspapers that the Canadian Grand Prix is over?


"Do you think it is normal that we cannot discuss the timing of races?"

Di Montezemolo has already insisted on another meeting between Fota and the FIA to discuss the teams' earnings.

Under the current agreement, the sport's income is split 50-50 between the commercial rights holders - private equity group CVC Capital Partners - and all the teams.

"We want to know more about the revenues," said Di Montezemolo.

"There is no professional sport in the world where the players get less than 50% of the total cake.

"We have to open an important page with Ecclestone and [CVC boss Donald] MacKenzie, not only in terms of quantity of money but in terms of how to do things - circuits, spectators, hospitality, television, types of track and timing of races."

All the extra money Ferrari gets, Di Montezemolo should share all that amongst the teams

Bernie Ecclestone
But Ecclestone hit back at Ferrari president Di Montezemolo by revealing how Ferrari receive a disproportionate share of F1's income.

"Ferrari get so much more money than everyone else," he told The Times.

"The only thing he has not mentioned is the extra money Ferrari get above all the other teams and all the extra things Ferrari have had for years.

"They get about $80m (54m) more. When they win the constructors' championship, which they did this year, they got $80m more than if McLaren had won it."

The Italian marque has a special place in the sport as it is the only team to have competed since the first championship in 1950.

But Ecclestone revealed Ferrari earned further favour when they broke ranks with the other teams over plans for a rival breakaway series in 2003.

"They were the only team that broke ranks with the other manufacturers - why did they break ranks?" he said. "That's where the $80m comes in.

"What he (Di Montezemolo) should do, rather than asking for money, with all the extra money Ferrari gets, he should share all that amongst the teams."

Di Montezemolo also said there would have been an exodus of the teams backed by major motor manufacturers if the FIA's plans to introduce a standard engine had been approved last week.


Instead, Fota and the FIA agreed a different package of changes, including plans to double engine life in 2009, to limit the revs and to cut the cost of engines supplied to independent teams by approximately 50% of 2008 prices.

"If the standard engine had gone through for all teams, at least four or five carmakers would have abandoned (F1)," Di Montezemolo said.

"I mean four or five plus Ferrari - that is all of them."

Di Montezemolo also accused FIA president Max Mosley of undervaluing and misrepresenting Ferrari's response to his standard-engine plan.

"Mosley said our board was full of people not well informed," he told the Guardian.

"Well there is on our board the vice-chairman of the FIA, Marco Piccinini, a member of the [FIA] world council, [former Ferrari team boss] Jean Todt, Mr Piero Ferrari [son of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari] and myself.

"So I don't think that is an ill-informed board. If Mosley thinks so, then he is ill-informed."

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The battle to save Formula One
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Cost-cutting plan agreed for F1
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