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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. 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

    1. I think he was taking the blame.

      1. Lol. I do have to thank Luca for that, as I am thoroughly enjoying Schumi make an ass of himself this year.

  2. “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.

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

    1. 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.

    2. Fourth paragraph from the end.

      1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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


    1. Becken you are a cynical chap.

    2. I forgot about that clip. It was on of my favourites in my Schumi’s winning tactics compilation.

  7. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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

  8. The F Duct (@)
    17th June 2010, 18:59

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

  9. 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.

  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..

  11. This is probably just to help Alonso keep a strong psyche and remind others that the brand he represents were just two minor incidents away from race victory, simples to be honest

  12. Bartholomew
    17th June 2010, 19:12

    I anticipated publicly 2 days ago that Lou would rant about this issue. Every time he has a bad digestion he rants and raves about something.
    Lou diMonty is frustrated because he cannot win anymore by politics and spending money.

    1. I did think about your post when i saw the link to this rant. Are your GP predictions as reliable? :-D

      1. Bartholomew
        19th June 2010, 4:09

        No, I always get them wrong ! I even thought that we would be commenting on a new series by now

  13. This coming from a guy who was happy top see one of his cars crawl around the circuit to stop a rival team from having a chance at winning a race on pace.

  14. Luca has issues. Does he remember where RedBull was 3 yrs ago? Look at them now. Ferrari can’t keep up with them. Give the new teams a chance. It’s good for the sport.

  15. Sudden thought. Didn’t Luca start this three car team argument last year when there was a lot of speculation that Ferrari had signed Massa, Raikonen and Alonso for 2010?
    You don’t think he’s re-signed Massa, Alonso and signed someone like Kubica as well and is deperate for a third car for them to sit in, do you?

    1. no, the third car would be for Valentino Rossi, as Luca continously says (last time was just after Rossi’s leg injury at Mugello).
      It would be a great marketing move, just that. Rossi seems to be good on a F1 but he has a lot to do before he can really compete with the best drivers.

      1. Aha. Yes, you’re right. Luca wants two regular, top-flight drivers, plus his ‘marketing tool’ in the team.

  16. Oh this is just typical Montezemelo. Perhaps he should consider that pretty much throughout F1 history, the backmarkers have been slower than they are today. And blue flags, forget it.

    Classic Ferrari arrogance. Really gets me going!

  17. You can say whatever you want but I still don’t see the reason for Hispania to be there. They get lapped multiple times every race and in my opinion just put themselves to shame. For me they are just moving obstacles on the track.

    I’ve got nothing against Lotus and Virgin though, I’m sure they will be as good even better as Force India one day.

    1. HRT have narrowed the gap to Virgin and are increasingly on a par with them. They’re making progress.

      1. If you say so :)
        Let’s wait and see. All the best to them. The more competitiveness we see the better.

        1. It isn’t just Keith that says so – the times show they are closer to the rest of the field by the race. At the start of the season Chandhok was doing qualifying and practice times over 10 seconds slower than the midfield, and as is mentioned elsewhere on the site today Delatraz used to do that during races…

          Far from putting themselves to shame, HRT have managed to put together two cars in a matter of weeks and get double-finishes on more than one occasion; while Williams, Sauber and Ferrari to varying extents have underperformed compared to expectations and are the ones I imagine feel bad about their performances right now.

      2. Very true, and HRT are ahead of Virgin in the standings too. There have always been slow cars, getting lapped multiple times, year after year even. This is only their first season, racing cars designed and built in a very limited time.

        I think it would have been more clever for the FIA to have made the entries for 2011 instead, giving the new teams a year to prepare, like Toyota did before their debut.

        Same with this tire manufacturer issue. They can’t delay it for another year of course, but I’m getting the same feeling that it’s getting left until too late, with too little time for proper development.

        1. Personally, I think Chandok has been one of the stand out drivers this year. He is doing a great job in that car, which to be fair he had never sat in until quali in Bahrain, and more often than not beating the famous name in the garage next him.

          1. Actually I’d say Senna’s got him beat so far, though their various car problems make it difficult to judge: Karun Chandhok vs team mate, 2010

  18. Why go as far back as 2006? Why no question why Montezemolo didn’t pull his second car back when he couldn’t find a driver that could do acceptable lap times in 2009?

  19. Do Ferrari still get a bigger percentage of the “pot”?
    Is monty worried about justifying that, if Ferrari are not at the top? 4th in the table last year, maybe 3rd this year?

  20. For someone who has been so outspoken against polemics (to use one of his favorite words) in F1 over the last couple of years, Montezemolo seems to be blind to the fact that he has been one of the biggest participants. I doubt that the other teams, large or small, are losing any sleep over his rants. Personally, I’m enjoying the larger grid. The new teams provide a lot of additional interest to the show, and (as stated a million times before) even the Great Ferrari had to start somewhere.

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