Luca Badoer has hit out at the Formula 1 media for having 'played a fundamental role' in the decision to replace him at Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella – arguing that he is a 'victim' of the current ban on in-season testing in the top flight, meaning no incoming driver stands a chance.
Though he had insisted that he would be in the #3 car until Felipe Massa is well enough to return, the knives were out for Badoer following poor performances in both Valencia and Spa-Francorchamps – in which he languished as much as three seconds shy of the leading pace on his return to active competition at the end of a nigh-on ten-year absence.
That piled the pressure upon Ferrari to replace the Italian with somebody else for the forthcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza on the Scuderia's
home turf and in front of the adoring tifosi
– and Belgian Grand Prix hero Giancarlo Fisichella has duly been drafted in from Force India to fill the breach for the remaining five grands prix of the 2009 campaign.
Moreover, after qualifying and finishing in last position in both of his appearances – as team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the sister scarlet machine took the chequered flag respectively third and first, tallying 16 points to Badoer's zero – the 38-year-old was rather uncharitably dubbed 'Look How Bad You Are' by the English-speaking press. It was just such criticism, the man for Montebelluna contends, that ultimately led to his demise.
“Those who write don't understand how much harm they can cause,” the former International F3000 (now GP2 Series) champion told today's La Gazzetta Sportiva
, whilst affirming that he hopes to remain at Ferrari, even if he acknowledges his F1 racing career is definitively over. “The media played a fundamental role in the decision to replace me.
“I realised my dream, though. I will always be able to tell my kids I raced two races for Ferrari; Maranello had faith in me. I only have one regret – from the third grand prix I would have done better. There was no agreement on how many races I would do. I thought I had time to improve. These rules stop a reserve driver from testing and make him a victim – it happens only in Formula 1.
“My intention is to stay. I am finished with races, but my relationship with Ferrari continues. Giancarlo is a quick driver. I am happy for him; he has achieved his dream of driving a Ferrari, and he will do better than me because he has been racing for years in F1 and knows the 2009 cars well. He can quickly aim for results.”