If Montezemolo is that offended by ‘slow’ cars, why didn’t he complain in 2006?

This year's new teams are faring better than Super Aguri did

This year's new teams are faring better than Super Aguri did

Fernando Alonso may have come to terms with missing out on a win in Canada but Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo isn’t quite so sanguine.

And he’s taken aim at his favourite target – the new teams – telling La Gazetta dello Sport:

Cars who perform at GP2-level should not be allowed to participate in F1 races because they are supposed to race on Sunday mornings.
Luca di Montezemolo

He added:

Our car’s race pace was good enough for victory [in Canada]. Let’s hope that, in the future, there won’t be mistakes in pushing a button nor in lapping cars that put us at a disadvantage, because we’ve already gone though that.
Luca di Montezemolo

By “mistakes in pushing a button” he’s possibly referring to a perceived delay in backmarkers being shown blue flags, which is partly handled by an electronic system.

Montezemolo’s grudge against F1’s three new teams has been documented here twice before.

And I’ve explained before why Montezemolo is wrong to argue for three-car teams (his preferred alternative to the new teams), that F1 racers already have it much easier than drivers in other series when it comes to lapping backmarkers and why a revival of the 107% rule isn’t needed.

So, as some people asked in the fourm, why bother commenting on this again?

Because Montezemolo’s latest assertions are wildly wrong. The new teams have improved so much since the start of the season that his case against them is redundant.

At Canada Lotus cut their performance deficit to the fastest team to a new low of 4.17%. For the first time, their best lap of the weekend was within 1% of the midfield runners.

Heikki Kovalainen qualified just 0.2 seconds behind Kamui Kobayashi’s Ferrari-powered Sauber. Four of the other new cars (aside from Karun Chandhok’s hobbled HRT) were within 1.4 seconds.

Kovalainen was 2.3 seconds slower than the fastest car in Q1 on Sunday. Go back to the same race four years ago and the two Super Aguris were 3.7 seconds off the pace. Yet Montezemolo didn’t get quite so worked up about them.

Why? Because he wasn’t pushing his dream of a three-car Ferrari team back then: an idea which is not popular among the other teams nor with the majority of fans.

On top of that, while complaining about how hard done-by he thinks Alonso was, he does a disservice to his other driver. Montezemolo overlooked the brilliant, opportunistic pass Felipe Massa put on Adrian Sutil while the Force India driver was preoccupied with a backmarker.

That is part and parcel of racing. The president of a company who are rightly proud of their tradition of motor sport should not need that explaining to him.

Ferrari, new teams and three car teams

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117 comments on If Montezemolo is that offended by ‘slow’ cars, why didn’t he complain in 2006?

  1. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 17th June 2010, 18:13

    simple, Ferrari were winning back then!

  2. James said on 17th June 2010, 18:17

    What gets me is that Luca di Montezemolo is very keen to provide engines to the new US “Viper” Team next year. Does he expect this team to be quick out of the blocks just because of his engines? Or perhaps Nicolas Todt will try and strike a deal with Ferrari should his bid with the GP2 team ART be succesful.

    The new teams are not doing all that bad, as Keith has shown with very solid figures on this website. Their rate of development has been very impressive. They’ve all managed to find a lot of lap time in the space of 8 races. Perhaps with in season testing they’ll be closer still, theoretically anyway. Luca di Montezemolo should be praising the new teams for their development rate, for participating when they’ve no realistic chance of scoring points and most importantly making sure our F1 grid is full and diverse.

    At the end of the day, I dont think Luca di Montezemolo can use the new teams as an excuse for Alonso being passed by Lewis and Jenson. I reckon they would have caught Alonso anyway. The Mclaren at Montreal was the best car. I’m sure come Valencia Luca will stop spitting his dummy out, if Ferrari’s upgrade package is any good…

  3. Horacio said on 17th June 2010, 18:22

    Well, Montezemolo is wildly wrong also when he insists in that rubbish that Ferrari had pace to win the race in Canada.
    Keith has been spot-on showing how the new teams have been improving, but in any case put me in the group of fans who screams “eliminate the blue flags a.s.a.p.!”

  4. John M said on 17th June 2010, 18:22

    No one likes a bully. Can it Luca.

  5. Kevin said on 17th June 2010, 18:26

    Montezemolo is an idiot, he’s always complaining if anything happens in F1 to negutively effect Ferrari, such a cry baby, he thinks the Ferrari F1 team is bigger than F1 itself.

    • Ryan said on 17th June 2010, 19:50

      Why would’t Luca think that? Everyone in F1 knows how important Ferrai is to the sport. Being Stateside, that is the only team anyone might know about over here. Look at the stands during a race and what color do you see more than any other? Ferrari brings in a lot of money to the sport and the FIA and FOM both encourage that line of thinking.

    • Yukirin Boy said on 19th June 2010, 8:16

      The problem is – the FIA thinks, or thought, that too when Ferrari were given a veto on the rules.
      I think Montezemelo is wrong on this though. We dont want the big teams fielding three teams and three Ferrari drivers not racing each other to the chequered flag.

  6. Kevin said on 17th June 2010, 18:35

    Remember at the start of this year he was taking credit for Michael Schumacher’s comeback, by wetting his appetite for racing by giving him the test last year after Felipe’s accident. Maybe he did but talking to the public about it is just patting himself on the back, he’s a bit pathetic really

  7. Glenn said on 17th June 2010, 18:42

    “Viper” Team?? Where did you see that? Or was this a name you coined? Whatever the case, it has nice ring to it.

    And on Topic yes, Monte likes to talk to italian media, and when he talks he does not say things that are “politically correct”, Often deflecting from the real problem that his team is not the fastest on the Grid to place blame on others as some have said.

    But what can you expect him to do? Concede that his team is not fast? Surely his Italian pride does not allow him to do that.

  8. mvi said on 17th June 2010, 18:42

    I must have missed something, but why the reference to 2006 in particular?

    • Metallion said on 17th June 2010, 20:17

      I believe because the Super Aguris, being reworked 2002 Arrows cars, were quite a lot off the pace. I think it’s quite a good recent comparison to make.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th June 2010, 22:06

      Fourth paragraph from the end.

      • mvi said on 18th June 2010, 10:21

        Thanks. Funny, I didn’t see 2006 as particularly comparable because Super Aguri was the only new start-almost-from-scratch team. With today’s three new teams making up a quarter of the grid, we see a much higher proportion of cars that have started the season well back of the pace.

  9. Rubbish Dave (@rubbish-dave) said on 17th June 2010, 18:48

    I didn’t spot Ferrari complaining about slow backmarkers getting in the way in the Italian grand prix of 1988, or the 1989 hungarian grand prix, among many examples.

  10. Tobitron said on 17th June 2010, 18:52

    While normally I wouldn’t consider this a comment from Ferrari as a whole, but it’s not just Luca in that team that moans wildly to the media.

  11. At least none ask Lotus to block Alonso as Ferrari did with Sauber some centuries ago:


  12. Bob Thomas said on 17th June 2010, 18:57

    There is a fair way to allow Ferrari or any other team to run a third car – by awarding points to only the first and third cars. So if their cars finished 1-2-3, they would receive team points for first and third only. If their cars finished 1-2-11, they would only receive points for the first car. It seems like a severe handicap, but running three cars gives them other advantages that have already been pointed out.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2010, 20:05

      I was in favour of a similar idea (and I think yours is better than only the first two finishing cars), but there’s still the same problem: what if the 2nd-placed car “accidentally” takes out a rival for the race win?

      • HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 17th June 2010, 20:16

        And what would happen if the third car happened to be in front of one of the team’s main rivals and just happened to hold them up . . .
        No, three car teams are not the way forward. But I really do not blame Luca for arguing for them. It would be the easiest way for the richer teams to make sure the less well off teams never stand a chance. And as Keith points out, that’s why Luca is criticising the new teams.
        He’s a business man, he’s arguing his corner. We shouldn’t be surprised

  13. The F Duct (@) said on 17th June 2010, 18:59

    He kept schtum when Luca Badoer was trundling round at the back of the grid last year.

  14. Sven said on 17th June 2010, 19:03

    Could it be that Luca wants the Bernie money a third car would bring. In his view the new teams gets money that Ferrari could have.

  15. glue said on 17th June 2010, 19:10

    I can’t keep but thinking whether this “slay all backmarkers” nonsense may be another wild publicity stunt, like the cigarette thing..however, I can hardly see what all this embargo could ever advertise and bring into light..

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