Rival F1 bosses line up against Ferrari's veto power

Ferrari logo. 08.06.2018.
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Four Formula 1 team bosses have spoken out against Ferrari's continued right to veto new rules and regulations in the sport.

Ferrari has held a veto right over new rules for several decades, as part of a deal to get F1's most storied and arguably important team to commit to a long-term future in the sport.

Two weeks ago, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said that the veto was good for all teams involved in the sport as it meant the scuderia could act as a 'protector' against potentially damaging changes.

But that argument got short shrift from some of his counterparts who attended Thursday's official FIA press conference in Monaco.

"I think itโ€™s just silly if I can be honest," commented Williams F1 deputy team principal Clare Williams. "I have a problem in our sport anyway in the fact that I feel itโ€™s far too democratic.

"I really donโ€™t feel that one team should have a right, a veto. That makes no sense to me at all.

"I feel that F1 and the FIA should take more ownership of the regulations," she continued. "We run it too much in a collegiate way, which is detrimental when we all have our own agendas.

"We need to be looking at this sport and its sustainability into the future and protecting it and protecting the true DNA of that. By doing that by committee I think can be very difficult."

he FIA Press Conference (L to R): Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director; Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal; Claire Williams (GBR) Williams Racing Deputy Team Principal.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed that the current system - and Ferrari's ongoing 'veto' powers - were "pretty outdated now."

"That veto was put in place โ€“ from my understanding โ€“ years and years ago to stop regulations changes," he explained. "Ferrari had V12 engines, they didnโ€™t suddenly want that to be vetoed.

"Those rules to be changed because there were all these British garagista teams that were coming into the sport. But that was in the sixties and things have obviously moved on.

"I think itโ€™s a right โ€“ if Iโ€™m not wrong โ€“ for the longest standing team, not bespoke just for Ferrari, but they are the longest standing team.

"You can view it two weeks: you can say, okay, itโ€™s a safety net, if they are there representing the teams," he conceded. "But ultimately they are there representing Ferrari. Probably, if weโ€™re going for a clean sheet of paper it makes sense for it not to be there and, as Claire says, same rules for everyone."

Renault's Cyril Abiteboul was broadly in agreement with both Williams and Horner in his comments to the media.

Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director in the FIA Press Conference.

"I would concur," he said. "I think we need Formula 1 to be progressive rather than defensive and the ability to block due process can be perceived or decided to be a positive for the sport is probably not good.

"Having said that, we completely recognise the specific value of Ferrari to the sport, but which can be reflected probably in the commercial agreement and not in the governance."

"I think itโ€™s very kind of him to offer to represent the teamsโ€™ interests," said McLaren CEO Zak Brown when asked about Binotto's claim that the Ferrari veto protected all teams in the sport.

Zak Brown (USA) McLaren Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference.

"But I think, as has been said before me, we all have varying interests," he continued. "And I think like Claire said, Formula 1 themselves want to do whatโ€™s in the best interests of the sport which I think ultimately is in the best interests of all us.

"Weโ€™re best having our own individual negotiations when and if that is appropriate," he added. "And as Cyril said, I think Ferrari bring a tremendous amount to the sport and that can be recognised in other ways."

The only team representative not willing to get dragged into the debate about the Ferrari veto was Racing Point technical director Andrew Green.

"I try hard not to get involved in F1 politics," he said.

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