Leading Formula 1 team bosses on Thursday joined in urging an end to Ferrari’s traditional power of veto on any rule changes in the sport.
Christian Horner of Red Bull, Claire Williams of Williams, Zak Brown of McLaren and Cyril Abiteboul of Renault all supported suggestions that the veto, held by Ferrari for decades as a means to retain the famous Italian marque’s involvement, was no longer an acceptable part of a modern global sport.
The four spoke during a team chiefs’ news briefing after practice at the Monaco Grand Prix. They were responding to Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto’s recent suggestion that the veto served ” to protect all the teams.”
Horner said the veto was “outdated”, adding “you can say ‘ok, it’s a safety net for them representing the teams’, but, ultimately, they are representing Ferrari.
“So, probably, if we are going for a clean sheet of paper, it would make sense for it not to be there and to have the same rules for everyone.”
Williams, who is deputy team principal of her family’s racing business, said she felt it was time for radical changes in the sport’s structure.
“I think it’s just silly, if I can be honest,” she said. “I have a problem in our sport anyway in the fact that I feel it is far too democratic. And I really don’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. We run it in too much of 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. Doing that by committee, I think, can be very difficult…”
Brown said he felt each team had its own interests, adding that the sport’s owners, Formula 1, were ultimately in control of what was in the best interests for all involved, “Ferrari bring a tremendous amount to the sport, that can be recognised in other ways.”
Horner added: “That veto was put in place from my understanding years and years ago to stop regulation changes. Ferrari had V12 engines and they didn’t suddenly want that vetoed.
“There were all these British ‘garagiste’ teams then coming into the sport, but that was in the sixties and things have obviously moved on…”
Abiteboul said: “I think we need Formula 1 to be progressive rather than defensive and that 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.”
Big Question: How important is Ferrari to F1?