More signs point to Montezemolo exit at Ferrari

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo looks increasingly likely to leave the company, and his stewardship of the F1 team, following Fiat Group boss Sergio Marchionne’s response to Montezemolo’s claim he who decides when he leaves.


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“We haven’t won since 2008”: Writing on wall for Montezemolo as FIAT boss criticises Ferrari record (James Allen on F1)

“It’s the same for him as it is for me, we serve the company. When the company has a change of plan, or if there is no longer a convergence of ideas, things change.”

Ferrari chairman likely to step down before year-end – sources (Reuters)

“‘In my opinion the differences between Marchionne and Montezemolo cannot be reconciled,’ one of the sources said.”

Ferrari’s F1 victory drought puts pressure on Montezemolo (FT, registration required)

“Although Mr Montezemolo’s departure would not affect Ferrari’s exalted status in F1, the Italian team would lose his considerable influence in its unending political battles. He has also been central to discussions about the future of the motorsport series.”

Hamilton dislikes ‘awkward’ Rosberg boos (ESPN)

“When I was up there it felt a bit awkward when I heard they were booing for Nico because I just generally don’t like that in sport in general, even in football games.”

Wolff: Fans shouldn’t boo drivers (Autosport)

“There should not be any booing on the podium. It is the top three guys who have had a mega race and whoever it is they shouldn’t be doing it.”

Lewis Hamilton rises above fix talk as Jackie Stewart questions record (The Guardian)

Jenson Button: “I don’t think any driver would do that. No driver. It is a stupid theory. No driver would do that.”

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg Rivals can stay at Mercedes – Prost (BBC)

“I don’t think it can last for five or six years but it would be no problem for two or three.”

No evidence that Rosberg erred deliberately (The Telegraph)

“Would deliberately fluffing a pit stop not have been a more plausible idea? There needs to be some serious proof before we can properly consider this a viable theory.”

Letter from Il Commendatore (Sniffermedia)

“Enzo Ferrari, imbued with Machiavellian politics and agendas for half a century and more, penned this letter to Bernie Ecclestone, then chairman of FOCA (Formula One Constructors Association).”

Tracking Italy’s passion for F1 (CNN)

“La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Paolo Ianieri takes Christina Macfarlane on a journey to the heartland of F1 in Italy, Monza.”


Comment of the day

Did Mercedes’ handling of the Spa incident invite some of the outlandish thoeries about Nico Rosberg’s error at Monza?

Mercedes management going public in criticising Rosberg, then announcing ‘punitive measures’ and the contradicting Hamilton’s remark that these measures would amount to just a good telling off, created the expectation of some mysterious punishment.

So in a way Mercedes generated this story themselves by doing two things teams usually don’t do: criticising one of their drivers so robustly in public, and announcing a punishment without specifying what until some time later (and then a punishment with no bearing on the championship race).
David BR2

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On this day in F1

An early retirement for Alain Prost opened the door for his team mate Niki Lauda to win the 1984 Italian Grand Prix and take a strong 9.5 points lead in the championship with two rounds remaining. The two Brabhams and Teo Fabi’s Renault also fell by the wayside.

Italy was well represented on the other two steps of the rostrum with Michele Alboreto second for Ferrari and Riccardo Patrese scoring Alfa Romeo’s final podium finish.

Here’s the start of the race:

Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “More signs point to Montezemolo exit at Ferrari”

  1. Has Jackie Stewart replaced his flat cap with a tinfoil hat? Seriously he should know better, what utter nonsense. And poor, poor display of sour grapes trying to diminish Hamilton’s win record….I’m really going off JYS these days.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      9th September 2014, 9:22

      A load of parabolica!

    2. Incredibly mean-spirited and ungracious, he sounds a shrivelled and bitter old man. Also dislike the craven way someone with his supposed stature lacks the courage to say Rosberg went off on purpose but says ‘it’s been suggested.’

    3. If there’s anyone that appreciates Lewis talent is Jackie. I think many people will have to eat their own words in the far future when some strange books about F1 get published that said I’m digressing, in regards to this past weekend the aforementioned event is far fetched even if the teams vibe was puzzling.

    4. Hamilton’s reaping the benefits of a competitive car at the moment. But he was also having to race against an amazing red bull over the last few years, not to mention Ferrari being pretty handy at times. All of this would have affected his win ratio. I think he’s done well with the equipment he’s had available. Does anyone know what the relative performance of the cars and teams was when jackie Stewart was racing?

  2. Wow, Jackie Stewart sounding very bitter in that Guardian article. Loved the pig punnage with Merc @keithcollantine !

    1. Jackie’s not happy that Hamilton has more wins than him is he. I would have loved to see an interview to see if that was as big of an out burst as it sounded. He seemed to be carrying the emotional baggage not the actual drivers.

      1. hahaha well played )))

  3. Sweet Jesus, that run-off is hideous. Can’t they just paint it gravel-coloured?

    1. Bernie still has time to have them change it, just like he did to Circuit of Americas in Austin when they originally painted some runoff with stars and stripes.

      1. @mtlracer @neilosjames The Singapore runoff IS advertising! (Albeit only subliminal advertising) It used to be red and white (the colors of Singtel), and they are now blue and gold (the colors of Singapore Airlines).

        1. You’re right, as the run-off also had multiple SingTel logos plastered on it, so it is just a like-for-like replacement with Singapore Airlines colours and logo from this year onwards.

    2. Might look better when its finished, because Singapore is just… gray (with red ads).

      1. It’s not gray. The Singapore track’s runoff’s are yellow or part of the track. I have gone there every year since 2008 so…

        1. Interesting. I might need to pay attention this year then!

    3. Well, that section looks like T1-3, and it has always been pretty colourful. Doesn’t look too bad to my eyes.

    4. Why F1 fans has this need to be negative and criticize everything?

      By the way, the race is at night, and that colour could help drivers to see the run off area better!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        9th September 2014, 16:02

        I thought people hated monotonous grey tracks? Colours make everything better.

    5. I always find these stripey runoff areas distracting/confusing, I’ve never been able to drive Paul Ricard for that reason. Link related.

      1. @george It definitely doesn’t help if you have astigmatism either!

  4. If some people in the crowd dislike Rosberg, they should be silent instead of booing. You wouldn’t do that to his face so why be a coward and think its OK in a crowd? There would’ve been young children who watched and listened to their hero being booed at for the past 2 races, and more last year with Vettel.
    I don’t think anyone can agree with that.

    1. You are right, nobody boos to someones face; booing is done from a distance.
      If a fanatical Italian F1 fan is face to face with a driver who has done something wrong then that fan will say much, much more than ‘boo’.

    2. I am fine with the booing. No one is booing Rosberg the person; they are booing Rosberg’s actions. Everyone there is paying first class prices to be treated like second class citizens. No KangarooTV, no access to fuel consumption, no access to team radio, no access to pit strategy. The main advantage is witnessing the buzz of the best drivers mastering their vehicles.

      We all have been denied a potential Bahrain Part II. As a viewer, this Spa incident only deprived me of two hours of Mercedes action. As a spectator, it costs them hundreds or thousands of pounds, dozen of hours/several days of preparation and the main event is intentionally sabotaged after 4 minutes. I know there are other drivers but the Mercedes rivalry is the one that animates the season.

      For what I have invested (time), it is sufficient for me to leave a few commentz online to vent my anger. As an attendee, for what they have invested (time, effort, money), they have every right to express any emotion they wish. To use his own words, it’s the fans attempting to “warn him that is not on”.

      To counter your above point, there will have been young children who have watched their hero being intentionally crashed out of a race. Denying them and their elders the right to voice their opinions whether they be positive or negative; I don’t think anyone can agree with that.

      1. *comments
        (I am typing on a tablet. Or maybe reading Lewis’ tweets is having a detrimental effect on my orthography!)

    3. The boo again? You don’t boo in the face because booing is a collective way of expression. Crowds show appreciation, joy, respect and approval applauding and cheering when they want to express the opposite they boo.

    4. My impression is that those “fans”, who booed Vettel last year and who “go around on a bus” in 2014 again do not really see F1 drivers as heros, they rather see F1 as a circus where drivers are clowns, who must entertain them. They feel that they are entitled to entertainment because they have paid for it and they do not care how hard it is to drive an F1 car. They are also the reason why we have got DRS, standing restarts and double points because they cannot appreciate the sport as such. If F1 got turned into a scripted show and Hamilton and Rosberg were replaced by Justin Bieber and Louis Tomlinson, they probably would not mind.

      Of course, there are also Hamilton fans or Alonso fans among the booers, who simply find excuses for booing a driver they do not like. If the booers were consistent, they would boo all drivers. For instance, they should have booed Massa because he ignored team orders in Malaysia this year the same way Vettel did it 12 months earlier. In my opinion, this booing is not much different from bullying your classmate just because he has stupid hair.

      1. I’ll second that. I had hoped F1 fans would show more class, but unfortunately there seems to be a minority who feel this is somehow acceptable. I can understand, and maybe accept it as a one off if you think someone has shown poor sportsmanship – Vettel in Malaysia last year and maybe Rosberg in Spa (or Monaco if you feel he cheated). But it’s the fact that it seems to go on continuously after the event that set it off that grates on me more than anything. What did Nico do to justify the boos in Monza?

    5. Note to Nico, next time the crowd boos, deal with it Jim Richards style:-

      1. That was classic,
        Jimmy is a legend,

        Good work @tdog

      2. Haha awesome post, loved Bathurst every year back in the 80s and 90s, classic!

    6. People are entitled to show their feelings. In their eyes (and mine) Rosberg is a cheat. If were there I’d tell him so to his face. As security would prevent me getting that close, then booing it is. He should have been a man about the incident and hold his hands up immediately. Instead it took a week for him to man up. The booing is his own creation. All he need do is show that he can beat Hamilton and others fairly on the track and the cheering will begin again.

      1. Boooo…Boooo…Boooo to your comment.

      2. Mark in Florida
        10th September 2014, 1:21

        You must have been at Bathurst to boo boo. Little ham ham

    7. I would have no problem booing him to his face.If booing is not allowed why is cheering allowed?I have never seen a race,match or game where every one is sitting on their hands so they dont actually react.

    8. My thoughts on booing: People are sports fans, and they paid good money to be there, so they can boo if they want. That being said, drivers like Rosberg and Vettel should approach it differently. I know that NASCAR tends to get a somewhat frosty reception here, but for the sake of an example, look no further than NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. He’s easily one of the most polarizing drivers in that series. He has passionate fans, but those that dislike him utterly hate him. He’s booed during driver introductions, he’s booed when he drives past, and things get taken up a notch when he wins a race (which, unfortunately for his detractors, can be a somewhat regular occurence). Kyle greets the booing with a Ricciardo-esque smile and a patronizing bow. He seems to feed off of it, and it inspires him. While it’s easier said than done, Vettel and Rosberg could take a cue and embrace it. People usually don’t boo bad drivers.

  5. To be fair, when Montezemolo took the job, Ferrari hadnt won 8 years, though it did take quite a few years to bring in another title. I would go as far as pointing out only two teams have won titles since 2008.

    That being said, I do wish him well in the future, he did much good for Ferrari for all these years, and hopefully his successor will be up for the task.

    1. Indeed. Luca has done a remarkable job in both fronts, road car division and F1. His record is tremendous and Marchione must understand that other legends have gone through very poor runs after spectacular seasons, just look at Sir Frank Williams and his fellow British Ron Dennis.

      However, like Marchione said, the way Luca put it was a bit cocky and now it can precipitate decisions and harm the company itself. Maybe Luca and Marchione should find common ground and draft a plan together for both sides of the company (racing and road cars) defining a timetable for succession at Ferrari to avoid a turbulent landing.

      As of expanding road car production, I’d like to get figures of how their production numbers have grown over the years and compare it with the expansion of millionaires worldwide. I think there’s room to expand production and add some super exclusive and expensive limited editions to their portfolio and improve financials.

  6. Mark in Florida
    9th September 2014, 2:29

    Toto’s constantl barking at the wrong time is giving strength to the idea that there is some kind of conspiracy at work within the team. When something is going on and Jackie takes notice it leads less stable minds to go on to outrageous reasoning of what really happened.

  7. What Luca has done for Ferrari as a company is nothing short of fantastic. The brand of Ferrari has never been stronger and the company’s business performance has remained strong throughout the GFC. But like Marchionne has said, Formula 1 is a big part of Ferrari’s identity, success on track plays a significant part in promoting the brand, fighting to finish in the points doesnt exactly bode well with that strategy.

    He has probably let the team down F1 team over the years with his regressive stance on things. As I said before, the problem with Ferrari in this “new era”of F1 is that, it hasnt moved on from the success of the Schumacher era. Its a pretty daunting legacy, but it is in the past and the team must move on, it only decided to that in the recent past, when it was a bit too late. The fact that they weren’t ready for the ban testing with respect to their simulator was also a big failure of team, which Luca is ultimately responsible for.

    Luca is the big boss man, and he is ultimately responsible for the failure of the team. If his boss thinks time is up, well, maybe he has a point. I think Luca should go gracefully, but its a bit too late for that too!!!

    1. what can we expect for the future, if someone as talented as Marchionne seems to be, for Ferrari, in such a capable pair of hands. i won’t be surprised by marchionne bringing big old Ross back on board, with all his technical and obvious political skills and begin a new dominant era, by the year 2016 (last year of Alonso, retiring after winning a championship for the reds, and bringing up Jules Bianchi for replacement.

    2. Thing is, 23 years is very long and it might be a very good thing for Ferrari to move on and get fresh ideas. Off course Luca feeling and acting like the big boss, when there is an even bigger boss around (Marchionne), is not always the best way to take care of Ferrari’s best interests.

    3. I think FIAT’s board doesn’t necessarily share this view of Ferrari’s business. Yes, Luca has turned Ferrari into one of the world’s most valuable luxury brands, in part, through limiting production. But FIAT is in business to make money, and you don’t grow the brand enough by licensing sports shoes and amusement parks. You make it by moving more product at a high margin. Im sure that FIAT’s board has seen what VW has done with Lamborghini, and what Porsche has done, and have a mighty hankering for the top line numbers of those firms. Porsche, over the howls of purists, massively expanded sales and revenues by builidng the Cayenne, and is about to start stacking mountains of paper with the Macan. Lamborghini is about start its own SUVs. VW is even taking Bentley into a volume direction with an SUV coming there too.

      Luca’s philosophy is not in line with basic reality for a subsidiary of a major corporation–you have to continually increase profits, shares, and revenues. The purists will howl, but Luca will be gone, and Ferrari soon enough will be building SUVs in a couple sizes and a probably a volume turbo GT below the California. Perhaps even a proper full-size sedan a la the Ghibli or Quattroporte.

      1. Gah, I hope Ferrari stick to sport cars, it’s part of the brand the fact they dont produce SUVs and sedans, and stuff.

  8. Those colours on the run offs at Singapore are very nice but didn’t Bernie told COTA organizers to cover up the amaizing stars graphics on the run off areas because of advertising?!?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      9th September 2014, 14:08

      Colours are nice, but national pride isn’t apparently.

    2. @fer-no65 The Singapore runoff IS advertising! (Albeit only subliminal advertising) It used to be red and white (the colors of Singtel), and they are now blue and gold (the colors of Singapore Airlines).

  9. I’m getting a bit bored regarding the criticism fans are receiving for voicing their displeasures.

    Think about how much they’re paying to turn up for a race.

    I think they’re well within their right to do a bit of panto style boo’ing if they wish.

    Would I do it? Probably not. But lighten up.

  10. I really like James Allen’s analysis of Rosberg’s mistake and the related conspiracy theories. It is true that deals between drivers and the team have been done in the past (interestingly, Allen seems to believe that Red Bull faked a gearbox glitch in the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix). However, it is inconceivable that this was the case at Monza.

    Firstly, if Rosberg or Mercedes really wanted to fake a mistake or a problem, then they would have done it in a smarter and safer way. Secondly, Rosberg is fighting for the title for the first time in his 9-year long F1 career, never before he has had a car that is good enough for that. And no one knows if he will ever had a chance to win the championship again after 2014. So I do not believe that he would agree to simply give away 7 points, which might be decisive in the end. Yes, there have been ‘journeymen’ in the history of F1, who did not really intend to become one of the greats but I do not think that Rosberg is one of them.

    1. Just read David Coulthard’s view on the BBC site too, really interesting point he makes:

      Pressure plays with your mind. You start to have too much time to think about what is coming up, especially at somewhere like Monza, where there are long straights and you are looking at your braking point. It’s a bit like when a tennis player is waiting for a high ball to come down for an ‘easy’ smash, and then he misses the shot.
      Instead of it being a subconscious thing coming from the cerebellum at the back of your head, it’s a frontal-lobe, conscious-thought thing.

      1. Thanks a lot for the link, I always love to read DC’s thoughts!

      2. Always good insight into the mind of a competitor from DC, that’s his best position for analysis.

    2. @girts That was a strange one.. I remember Vettel almost protesting over the radio, then making it very obvious he was letting Mark by, before lapping at the same speed as before for the rest of the race. What this result did do however was jump Mark above Alonso in the standings, claiming 3rd place by one point. Perhaps, a ploy to get both RB drivers in the end of year bash?

  11. Formula Indonesia (@)
    9th September 2014, 9:01

    Maybe Merc drivers started to be like friends again?? Its unusual Hamilon defend Rosberg

    1. Meh, Hamilton doesn’t want anyone thinking he was gifted the win either (not that I think he was).

  12. Everyone has his idea but it doesn’t make it correct.
    If Mercedes wanted to effect something like that it was far easier to change a component on his PU and get a 5 pace drop than tell a driver to miss a braking point.
    How could the team be sure Hamilton wouldn’t miss the chicane himself and still end up behind.
    Rosberg locked up twice or more there whilst being chased by Massa. On one occasion he still made the corner while the second he elected to go straight on reducing the gap from Massa.

  13. It amazes me how particularly Hamilton fans consider Nico’s running down the escape road at monza as a mistake, whereas they were all over Rosberg on internet – when he went off road in Monaco and when he hit Hamilton in Spa. They considered it as a deliberate attempt by Rosberg. So when any of Rosberg’s action benefits Hamilton, its a mistake by Rosberg but whenever Hamilton is disadvantaged, its a deliberate attempt. Sigh !!

    Another way of looking at Monza’s incident could be that Rosberg showed he can also make mistakes and that Monaco’s and Spa’s incident were mistakes and not the deliberate attempts. Everyone should calm down and not over hype the issue, which shouldn’t be discussed so much at the first place.

  14. Of course it was pre-arranged.
    What they should’ve done is annouce their intention in advance as I suggested the day before the race.
    Nico coming publically and declaring he would hand the lead to Lewis if they are running 1-2 to give him back 14 points in return for the possible 25 or 11 he cost him in Spa IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    Well done all and the BODY language says it all.

    As for English media/people they are never satisfied no matter which way you do it, so just IGNORE THEIR BARKING like hyaenas.

    May the best man win.

  15. @keithcollantine

    I fail to see how yesterdays race disproved F1 needing a strong Ferrari-outfit. Sure, it may survive a few years without Ferrari winning, but I highly doubt it could stay with the image of being the pinnacle of Motorsports and it´s winners being possible legends if it was to lose the cars of the sole still existing legendary car-brand that nearly every of those kids who likes to play with die-cast toys and has a potential motorsport-fascination around the world plays with.

    1. Adding to that is the decline in viewer-numbers around the world that happens just as Ferrari has weak years. This years championship battle would also be a lot better if those two were in Ferrari´s, just because “the 2 Ferrari-drivers battling it out” sounds more epic than it ever could sound if you replace Ferrari with whatever other teams name.

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        9th September 2014, 13:21

        @crammond well, you’re right. ANd maybe that was the main idea when hiring Kimi. They forgot to give both drivers a respectable car. And they forgot Kimi is “getting old” (that Alonso doesn’t show “old glitches” is the exception, not the rule).

    2. I’m a lifelong Ferrari fan but even I think the importance of the team to F1 is exaggerated. F1 thrived through the 80’s & 90’s when Ferrari were struggling to keep up with teams such as McLaren & Williams and I don’t recall any mass complaints about the sports position as the pinnacle of motorsport back then and several drivers from that era are rightly regarded as legends.
      Ferrari means a great deal to me but to a lot of F1 fans they’re just another team, and a significant minority of fans actively dislike them.

  16. Classic Pig Pic,

    Also reminded me of one of my fave Pink Floyd tracks

    “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”

    Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are

  17. The COTD is a bit absurd. Conspiracy theories are not abated by rational explanations. That’s almost the definition of a conspiracy theory. And Keith is normally quite quick to stamp them out in these pages so I wonder why this particular tin-foil hat transmission was put up on the marquis.

    In any case, I have remarked that Mercedes has probably not been treating Rosberg with the full measure of respect since Hungary, where they all but blamed him for not winning by not getting close enough to Hamilton on the cross-over. I think it was a bit unreasonable they way they handled the situation there in his regard, throwing shade on him for an obviously daft strategic direction, for both drivers.

    However, I think he has not been earning a mountain of respect. He’s been making errors and not being really quick enough when it matters. I think some shine came off his star when he did not respond to the prodding to catch Ricciardo at Spa, a task made necessary by his flat-spotting his tires, which was in turn necessary due to hitting Hamilton. In Monza, his own errors caused him to lose to a car that was in p4 at the end of lap one. This is two races where one has to really question whether they could have put Kobayashi or Vergne or whoever in the car and saved themselves a heap of euros.

    1. @dmw The Comment of the Day is not a justification of the conspiracy theory, it suggests what the circumstances were which caused it to arise.

      I made my thought on the latest pile of claptrap quite clear in yesterday’s round-up.

  18. LdM on the way out of Ferrari is only a good thing if somebody better than him replaces him. Replacing him for the sake of looking like something is changing will do no good.

  19. Must have been real tough for Stefano (like Costa on podium for MB) seeing how much better the red team is doing after LDM let them know how poor a job they were doing. About time someone focused on the CEO.

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