London, England - As the Formula One circus arrived in Bahrain to rain, of all things, Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo flew to London for a secret summit with Bernie Ecclestone to discuss the problems with this season’s controversial regulations and the future ownership of the whole billion-dollar sport.
Di Montezemolo is concerned that viewing figures in Europe fell for last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, reflecting Ferrari’s online poll that found 78 percent of the 35 000-plus respondents didn’t like the new formula.
The Ferrari president told Ecclestone that the new regulations, including the 100kg per hour fuel-flow regulation that saw Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo disqualified in Australia, are too complex and argued against a cost cap.
QUICK FIX NEEDED
The two men decided to hold a meeting with FIA president Jean Todt in the Sakhir paddock on Saturday in an attempt to find a quick resolution.
Also under discussion in London was whether Ecclestone, with the involvement of teams such as Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes, might buy back a majority holding in the sport.
In Bahrain, organisers are hoping for a peaceful weekend following the anti-government protests which forced the 2011 race to be abandoned.
There were no reports of problems from any of the teams arriving in Bahrain on Wednesday night. The only visible change from the previous year were concrete blocks along the hard shoulder of the road to the circuit.
McLaren’s Jenson Button celebrates the 250th race of his career this weekend and said: “I’m a Duracell bunny. Every 34-year-old in F1 now is fitter than ever. Fernando Alonso trains flat out and I do the same.
“It was the same with Michael Schumacher.
“I have no worries that a guy in his late thirties is as good as a guy in his twenties in a Formula One car as long as his head is still in it and he has the will to win. Maybe my best years are to come.”