Ferrari president sees recovering F1’s “lost charm” as his “duty”

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As Ferrari continues to search for a way back to the front of the Formula One grid, its president, Luca di Montezemolo, continues to criticize the new direction of the sport in 2014.

In a recent interview with German magazine Focus, Montezemolo says that the technical regulations have transformed F1 pilots into “taxi drivers” – and goes a step further by saying that if series boss Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t act, he will.

“The need to do something to recover the lost charm of Formula One is urgent,” Montezemolo declared. “If [Ecclestone] doesn’t, I’ll do it myself. I see it as my duty.”

In Montezemolo’s mind, the quieter V-6 engines and other regulations such as fuel flow limits have done severe damage to the spectacle of F1.

“They must save fuel and tires instead of being fast,” he also said to Focus. “The teams have to decide how much fuel they’re using and how many tires are wearing out.

“Before, it was the best man winning in the best car. Now, the viewers – the ones in the stands and the ones in front of their TVs – no longer understand.

“As it is now, we must do something. Otherwise, Formula One has no chance.”

But with this, one can’t help but wonder if Montezemolo’s repeated critiques of the current formula (which includes calling for a meeting to discuss the sport’s future) are starting to wear thin.

As our own Luke Smith muses on this subject, the on-track product doesn’t appear to be the biggest problem with F1 fans; instead, it’s matters such as double points for the season finale and standing restarts in 2015 that have raised concerns.

Meanwhile, Ferrari continues to languish behind Mercedes and Red Bull in a distant third place in the Constructor’s Championship – and that position’s far from settled as Williams, Force India and McLaren are not far behind them.

And that leads us back to a well-worn but still valid question: If Ferrari was wiping the floor with everybody like Mercedes is right now, would Montezemolo be as loud with these criticisms as he has been?

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”