Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has again launched an attack on the F1 2010 newcomers that he claims 'shouldn't be allowed to participate' at the highest level and should rather be racing 'on Sunday mornings' in GP2 – after an angry Fernando Alonso contended that a couple of tardy backmarkers deprived him of victory in last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.
Alonso argued that he was prevented from jumping McLaren-Mercedes rival and former team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the lead mid-race, and the double F1 World Champion was later overhauled for second place in the closing stages by the sister McLaren of Jenson Button – going on to blame traffic for both losses [see separate story – click here
On the first occasion, the Spaniard found himself held up behind the Lotus of Jarno Trulli – who insisted that no blue flags were waved at him – as he approached his second pit-stop flat-out in his effort to snatch the advantage from Hamilton, and he later caught Hispania Racing (HRT) rookie Karun Chandhok at a bad moment, enabling Button to pounce.
“If Trulli hadn't slowed me down I would have done it,” the Oviedo native lamented of his erstwhile Renault team-mate. “I lost two-and-a-half seconds, and when I came out of the pits I saw Hamilton ahead. Without traffic, I would have had the lead.”
Those sentiments have been echoed by di Montezemolo, who like Ferrari in general has rarely missed an opportunity this year to slate the efforts and performances of the new teams – and has been a constant advocate of having three-car outfits run by the sport's grandees, rather than unprepared, low-budget newcomers who languish seconds shy of the front-running pace.
“Our car had the pace to win [in Montreal],” the Italian railed in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “I hope in the future there are no more errors in lapping cars which are to our disadvantage. In modern F1 races, cars with GP2-levels of performance shouldn't be allowed to participate -- they are supposed to race on Sunday mornings.”
It is believed that HRT's budget for its maiden campaign of top flight competition is in the region of ten times smaller than that of Ferrari, and another new entrant is set to join the fray in 2011 – but it is undeniable that Lotus, Virgin and Hispania have all made solid progress over the opening eight outings of 2010.
Heikki Kovalainen got to barely two tenths of a second of the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi in qualifying in Canada, and Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes has repeatedly called for the blue flag rule when a car is being lapped in F1 to be controversially abandoned. Motorsport website Italiaracing
, meanwhile, has noted that 'the only complaints this season about the smaller teams have come from Ferrari'.