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. Anything said on 17th June 2010, 19:10

    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

  2. Bartholomew said on 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.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 17th June 2010, 20:04

    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.

  4. smc said on 17th June 2010, 20:14

    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.

  5. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 17th June 2010, 20:23

    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?

    • matt88 (@matt88) said on 17th June 2010, 20:48

      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.

  6. John H said on 17th June 2010, 20:33

    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!

  7. 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th June 2010, 22:07

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

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

        • Rob said on 18th June 2010, 12:14

          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.

      • Metallion said on 17th June 2010, 22:41

        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.

  8. Patrickl said on 17th June 2010, 22:22

    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?

  9. jobseeker said on 17th June 2010, 22:28

    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?

  10. schooner said on 17th June 2010, 22:51

    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.

  11. Ah, I just look at this as all part of the rich tapestry of F1 life. Now that Flav & S&Max are gone, its left up to Luca Di Monty to make all the outrageous comments. It’s a tough gig they’ve left him, so don’t be too harsh ;)

    • schooner said on 18th June 2010, 1:08

      Well put. Looking at it from that angle, perhaps Monty is simply trying to fill the void left by those two pretty impressive off the wall quote machines. Just doing his bit to keep F1 in the headlines, and the forums buzzing. That said, he’s still a crybaby! :)

  12. Jake Butler said on 17th June 2010, 23:29

    i get what luca is wanting to say. i do not like the guy nor do i agree with what he is saying. the fact is that since ferrari were 3 seconds off the outright pace in 1993, formula one has changed a huge deal in terms of closeness. it was only in 2008/2009 that the gap between 1st and last decreased from 3 seconds per lap to about 1.5 seconds…so really, lotus et al are doing a solid job. if it was in 2006 (using the example given) then they would have picked up the odd point with toro roos with then line-up liuzzi and speed. i feel all teams have to begin somewhere and feel luca should see this- after all, ferrari were a new team once….long ago

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2010, 23:33

    Luca is hitting out against the new teams because Ferrari see them as Mosley’s legacy, which Ferrari fought hard to exorcise from the sport.

    He’s also frustrated that Ferrari isn’t winning everything. This was supposed to be their year – they ended development of the F60 early to concentrate on the 2010 car, they signed Alonso, they got Massa back and they blitzed the pre-season test sessions. But so far, they’ve been dominated by the Red Bulls and the McLarens; they may have won in Bahrain, but Ferrari knew they wouldn’t have beaten Vettel if Vettel’s car had stayed in one piece.

    As such, Luca is hitting out at the new teams because they’re an easy target. It’s ironic that he should describe them as “slow” given what Ferrari have produced this season (while not as bad as the F60, the F10 is slow by Ferrari’s standards). To make it more unfair on the new teams, it’s just idle frustration – what does Luca think is going to happen? The FIA isn’t going to suddenly boot them from the sport because Ferrari don’t like them. Lotus in particular is zeroing in on the established teams, and hopefully by the end of the season, Virgin and Hispania will have done so, too.

    But if Fernando Alonso can’t pass a car that’s four seconds a lap slower than he is, then the question has to be asked: what the hell is he doing in Formula 1?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th June 2010, 23:35

      Also, has anyone noticed that “I got caught in traffic” seems to be Alonso’s favourite excuse for a bad run?

    • Jake Butler said on 17th June 2010, 23:36

      he CAN and DID. just bad luch caused him to catch them in an acceleration zone. i agree alonso should shut up bitching but on this occasion he was just plain unlucky. he didnt anticipate the virgin to have so much less grip than he had. he should have dealt with it better but he wasnt given the best chance…

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 18th June 2010, 0:20

        Oh, I don’t mean he’s always making excues. It’s just that he sometimes does. I’m reminded of hat Top Gear episode where they were testing $10,000 supercars and Hammond had a bad run, prompting Clarkson to ask “How long before Hammond blames a misfire?”

  14. Luca moans about backmarkers. I shall quote Anthony Davidson on this – “go to Le Mans, see what we cope with, cars 30 seconds or more a lap slower than us, then come back and moan about backmarkers in F1. Go on, try it.”

  15. wasiF1 said on 18th June 2010, 2:55

    There is nothing wrong to show the pride of what your team have achieved in F1 but to criticize other team for not going faster is wrong. He should help them other then making comment that they shouldn’t be in F1. If he is so desperate to remove them then bring back the 107% qualifying rules, & I personally think that the three cars rule is a complete bonkers.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th June 2010, 7:10

      Luca’s idea of helping them is allowing them to run a third Ferrari under their name – which will therefore indebt them to Maranello, as any success will be a product of the chassis they run. Ferrari will then have power over them, with the teams being obligated to agree with Ferrari on any political decision (ie rule changes) on pain of losing Ferrari support, and with it, their success. Luca essentially wants to play God.

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