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. 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! :)

  2. 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

  3. 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?”

  4. 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.”

  5. 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.

  6. phil c said on 18th June 2010, 3:21

    This article is base dont he best lap times. The acutal lap Alonso got held up on by trulli is telling. Alonso just lapped in a 1.19.. and trulli was lapping in 1.24… This is the best part of 5 secs. The reason it is an issue because ferrari speaks up. If hamilton was held up like that he would have been furious as button would have been.

    My personal oppionion is the new teams have done nothing for the sport and I dont believe they will do anything. If Toyota couldn’t manage it with there resources these teams have no chance.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th June 2010, 23:49

      Alonso just lapped in a 1.19.. and trulli was lapping in 1.24… This is the best part of 5 secs.

      Trulli didn’t hold him up for an entire lap. Alonso lost a bit of time in one corner.

      It’s hard to say exactly how much time he lost because he was on an in-lap, and comparisons with his other in-lap are meaningless because he spent that one queued up behind Hamilton and Vettel.

      What we do know is that even with the delay Alonso’s in-lap plus pit stop time on that occasion was the fastest of any of the Ferraris’ five stops in the race by 1.8 seconds.

      Data here: Alonso blames traffic for losing first and second places (Ferrari race review)

  7. Haggis Hunter said on 18th June 2010, 8:20

    altogether now . . . . ERSE!!!

  8. Alex Bkk said on 18th June 2010, 10:18

    Just give Luca what he wants.
    3 McLarens to get around
    3 Red Bulls to get around
    3 Mercedes to to get around
    3 Renaults to get around
    3 Force India’s to get around
    3 Williams to get around and so on and so forth…
    I’m sure that will make him much happier. :P

  9. Ronman said on 18th June 2010, 10:56

    Joking and laughing about Monti’s wit aside, the three car team approach he speaks of is a bit weird.

    Pierro Ferrari mentioned it once in an interview and it made more sense the way he put it. and i have to agree cause ultimately, it puts better cars on the whole grid even if they are one year old.

    instead of doing a 3 car racing team, the 3 new teams should have been able to purchase the rights to use any other older car that is available. perhaps HRT want to buy the old Renault’s (brought up to scratch of course) Lotus the older McLaren chassi and develop their own aero bits from there.

    Lotus can put a cosworth on a Mclaren chassis, that sort of thing. not sure why the FIA didt accept customer cars.

    instead of a new team having to bare the cost of a whole car, they will just have to develop it, and evolve through the year and year on year… don’t see anything wrong with that. unless everyone wants to be champion, and that will never happen someone has to paly second fiddle.. or third, or 20th

  10. AndyC said on 18th June 2010, 11:18

    Luca is right. You can’t have GP2 teams in Formula 1, and surely not with a test ban.

  11. Chaz said on 18th June 2010, 14:36

    Nice one. I’ll spare you my usual Ferrari rant lol…

  12. Nixon said on 19th June 2010, 7:50

    Great article Kieth, but remember back in 2006 jean Todt was in charge of ferrari not montezemolo.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 19th June 2010, 11:59

      Luca still isn’t – Stefano Domenicalli runs the team. Luca is essentially Domenicalli’s boss, and in 2006, he was Todt’s.

  13. To answer the question, Luca had probably been relieved that the slow cars he’d been complaining about in 2004 and 2005 had gone/been bought out/otherwise no longer slow and that he should lay off the complaining lest he be seen as the boy who cried wolf. He never stopped wanting a third car, but in 2006 there was no way it was going to happen – Super Aguri’s ability to get the previous year’s Honda once the works team had finished with it meant that it was only ever going to be in the way for a limited time. In 2007 Super Aguri were quite a lot faster and by the time it was realised they were slow again in 2008 they’d gone.

    While I believe the complaining derives from Luca wanting three cars and seeing slow cars as easy targets, I see no hypocrisy in the pattern of complaining he’s employed. Just standard psuedopolitics.

  14. DaveW said on 21st June 2010, 1:51

    I read a thinly veiled dig at Alonso for allegedly losing the race by fumbling through traffic. Alonso does not like this sort of thing and Luca better watch his mouth or his golden boy will bounce—and “Santander” will look very nice on the engine cover of a RedBull or Mercedes.

  15. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 21st June 2010, 12:50

    why do i have a vision of the Duracell bunny in my head?

  16. BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 21:19

    It seems the Italian media have been digging into the reasons for Montezemelo pushing for more Ferrari cars on the grid and they have come up with this:

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/why-montezemolo-wants-a-third-car/

    Do any of the Italian posters here have anything more on this?

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