Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes F1 legend Michael Schumacher would have raced in red this season had the F1 rules allowed the Italian team to run a third car.
di Montezemolo fears he unwittingly triggered Schumacher's defection to rivals Mercedes after trying to get the German to replace the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari last season.
That comeback was thwarted by a recovering neck injury, but di Montezemolo thinks that from then on Schumacher was determined to race in F1 again - and, with no seat at Ferrari, he accepted the offer from Mercedes.
"It was me that put the idea of returning to F1 in his head," Reuters
reports di Montezemolo as saying.
"If there was the possibility of a third car, with great respect for Mercedes, Michael would have been promoting a real red Ferrari not a red Mercedes," di Montezemolo added, referring to a recent German television advert in which Schumacher appears with a red Mercedes.
Ferrari's next high profile target for any future third car looks like being MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.