Ferrari boss takes a provocative stance

Sun Mar 1, 2015 5:55am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has taken a provocative stance, before the Formula One season has even started, in response to rumors about a clampdown on access passes for teams.

Arrivabene, a marketing man who was appointed in November, sat with Ferrari's Mexican reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez and sporting director Massimo Rivola among spectators during testing in Barcelona.

"I heard that in Australia there will be more restrictions in terms of passes and I think this is not acceptable," he told reporters on Sunday, the final day of testing before the racing starts in Melbourne on March 15.

"So I said to the guys 'OK, if we are going to have a situation where the paddock is going to be empty, it's better if we start training to go to the people and we sit in the grandstands'."

"I have to say it was a good experience because the people were very well-educated, we were with our headphones following the test. They were respectful, asking for pictures. It was a good experience and I hope to have others like this."

The paddock, where teams have their lavish hospitality units and race engineers pore over data while journalists rub shoulders with mechanics and VIPs, is the sport's closely-guarded inner sanctum.

Access to the fenced-off enclosure is by electronic pass, issued by commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management.

"It was a kind of provocation but I love to do this kind of provocation," said Arrivabene. "I said we need to take Formula One close to the people. We were sitting in the middle of the people. And I don't like to see now and in the future the paddock empty, it's not the right way."   Continued...

A 10 year old Ferrari fan shows his cap with miniatures of Ferrari's formula one car just after getting an autograph of his favourite driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, after the qualifying session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit October 4, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino