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Mosley, Schumacher, Fernandes back Branson in Ferrari spat

Max Mosley, Michael Schumacher and Tony Fernandes have waded into the war of words between Virgin Racing chief Richard Branson and Ferrari - backing the efforts of the F1 2010 newcomers, as the former FIA President described the Scuderia as 'a middle-aged woman who is jealous of the attention new beautiful women around her are getting...'
Some of the sport's most influential figures – from Max Mosley to Michael Schumacher and Tony Fernandes – have backed Richard Branson in the British entrepreneur's very public spat with Ferrari, after the most famous and long-standing team in F1 history launched a stinging attack on the state of the 2010 newcomers last week.

In its outspoken 'Horse Whisperer' column on its website, the Scuderia slated troubled American entry USF1's 'impudence' in continuing to protest that it can make the grade this year, lambasted Serbian hopeful Stefan GP as 'vultures', decried former FIA President Mosley's 'holy war' against the manufacturers that it claimed had led to the current débâcle and suggested fellow new boys Virgin Racing and Lotus F1 will merely 'limp into the start of the championship' [see separate story – click here].

The scornful comments have ruffled more than a few feathers inside the grand prix paddock, and prompted Virgin owner Branson to describe Ferrari as 'sad' and 'foolish' – and to contend that the sport needs new blood to maintain fans' interest, and that smaller, independent teams such as his own will ultimately be able to both compete with and beat the traditional F1 'grandees' [see separate story – click here].

“Ferrari should be welcoming new teams because they make the sport much more exciting,” the flamboyant billionaire is quoted as having said by The Associated Press. “Once the budgets for the established teams come down...then we will see a much more equal playing field.

“We are not used to writing out big cheques for successful, established companies; we like to start things from scratch. We have created 200-to-300 new jobs, we have new technology [and] a new team with Virgin branding. It is much more exciting that way.”

That final remark is a reference to the fact that Virgin initially sponsored double world champions Brawn GP last year, but elected to strike out on its own in 2010 rather than live off the glory of that timely success. Now Mercedes Grand Prix, the Brackley-based outfit's star driver Michael Schumacher – who spent a decade racing for Ferrari from 1996 until 2006, and who remained employed by the Prancing Horse until electing to make his celebrated return to active competition this year – tended to agree with Branson's argument.

“Actually, I think they are doing reasonably well,” opined the record-breaking German legend. “I have seen new teams come into Formula 1 and I have seen gaps of more than five-to-six seconds. Here, we probably see two-to-three-seconds. For teams that have started completely from scratch, I think they are doing a very good job.”

“Wonder what Ferrari would be like on Virgin's budget,” tweeted a concurrent Lotus F1 team principal and AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes, who has enjoyed a degree of pre-season banter with fellow airline boss Branson as the pair challenged the owner of whichever team comes off worse this year to dress up as a stewardess for a day.

Mosley, meanwhile, has also hit out at Ferrari's criticism, defending the FIA's selection process for new teams and launching into a counter-attack of his own, according to James Allen, who lunched with the 69-year-old in London last week.





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
27.02.2010 Barcelona, Spain, Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of the Virgin Group - Formula 1 Testing, Barcelona
Ferrari logoSan Marino Grand Prix, Formula One, Saturday , 21/04/05, Imola, Italy .
18.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Tony Fernandes, Lotus F1 Team, Team Principal - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
19.02.2010 Jerez, Spain, Michael Schumacher (GER), Mercedes GP Petronas - Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain
09.09.2006 Monza, Italy, Max Mosley (GBR), FIA President - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Saturday Qualifying
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10
27.07.2014- Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
27.07.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Crash, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
27.07.2014- Race, The Safety car on the track
27.07.2014- Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
27.07.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Crash, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
27.07.2014- Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10

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TestingTimes - Unregistered

March 01, 2010 5:45 PM

The problem with Ferrari is it doesnt have the divine right to be right all the time. Luca says things somtimes that are beyond belief. The sooner Ferrari realise they are an F1 team like every other team in the Paddock, and not some divine automotive authority, the better for everyone including ferrari.



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