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?