Ferrari face paddock fury as war of words intensifies

Even the greatest champions stumble, as Sir Alex Ferguson might admit. As it has been with Manchester United, so it is with Ferrari. Clearly they will be back, when their new car starts racing and their tyre supplier, Bridgestone, matches its rival, Michelin. But in the Formula One paddock there is a mood against the red team that is becoming increasingly uncompromising.

Even the greatest champions stumble, as Sir Alex Ferguson might admit. As it has been with Manchester United, so it is with Ferrari. Clearly they will be back, when their new car starts racing and their tyre supplier, Bridgestone, matches its rival, Michelin. But in the Formula One paddock there is a mood against the red team that is becoming increasingly uncompromising.

On Sunday evening eight of their rivals - McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, BAR-Honda, Williams-BMW, Red Bull, Toyota, Jordan-Toyota and Minardi-Ford - issued their usual post-race press releases but added extra pages outlining their disgust at Ferrari's refusal to cut back on testing in order to reduce costs.

In 2004 everyone abided by what became known as the Suzuka Agreement, which laid down rules for restrictions on testing in race weeks, summer holidays and end-of-season Christmas breaks. In Brazil last year the eight rival teams, plus Sauber-Petronas, came up with further cost-saving proposals created by the Minardi owner, Paul Stoddart. Ferrari refused to be party to them, and without their agreement the lack of unanimity meant that the proposals could not be adopted officially. The nine teams agreed instead to impose their own testing limitations, and have been infuriated by Ferrari's reaction in tearing up the Suzuka Agreement and actively increasing their testing this year. While teams were racing in Malaysia, Ferrari were simultaneously running their new car back in Mugello.

These are troubled times in a sport in which the alienated teams continue to threaten to form the Grand Prix World Championship. Clandestine meetings abounded throughout the weekend, provoking an angry reaction from Ferrari.

"We are actually saving money by doing more testing," a Ferrari spokesman claimed, suggesting that greater efficiency had led to cost savings. "It is not fair that Bridgestone have been able to do much less testing than Michelin because more teams run on Michelins. We are at a disadvantage as a result."

This claim is regarded as disingenuous in the extreme, as it overlooks the fact that other teams switched from Bridgestone to Michelin because Bridgestone's tyres are designed specifically around Michael Schumacher and his technical input, and that Ferrari have steadfastly blocked all proposals to revert to a single-tyre formula, which would reduce costs and increase lap times. It is this sort of thing that has angered their rivals.

In an unprecedented step, the eight teams (Sauber, who use Ferrari engines, did not participate, perhaps for obvious reasons) signed a letter to the Fiat chairman and former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, urging him to persuade Ferrari's sporting director, Jean Todt, to reconsider his stance.

The argument has also led to a stand-off between the international governing body of motor sport, the FIA, and the disgruntled teams, who accuse the governing body of favouring Ferrari. That was at the root of Stoddart's legal action in the opening race in Australia. Stoddart won an injunction against the FIA preventing him from running his cars to 2004 specification, and only relented in the face of alleged threats to cancel the race.

Defeat on Sunday was bitter for Ferrari, but nothing like as bitter as the ongoing acrimony that will only get nastier as the season progresses.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli (left) trudges off at half-time last night, to be substituted during the interval
football
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?