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'Ashamed' Italian minister calls on di Montezemolo to resign

As the fall-out from Ferrari's failure to clinch the F1 2010 Drivers' World Championship crown continues post-Abu Dhabi, an Italian minister has sensationally called for Luca di Montezemolo's head...
An Italian politician has made the extraordinary outburst in the wake of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo should immediately resign for having 'shamed' the country with an 'insane strategy' in the final race of the F1 2010 campaign that caused the Scuderia to 'lose a championship already won'.

Fernando Alonso headed into the weekend with an eight-point margin over Red Bull Racing adversary Mark Webber atop the title standings, and 15 in-hand over the Australian's team-mate, Sebastian Vettel. That meant that second place would be enough for the Spaniard to clinch the crown regardless of what either of his RBR rivals did – but despite qualifying in-between the pair in P3 and looking odds-on to lift the laurels for the third time in his nine-year career in the top flight, in the event, the 26-time grand prix-winner could finish only seventh.

After ceding a spot to McLaren-Mercedes' Jenson Button at the start, Alonso was running fourth ahead of Webber when the latter made his pit-stop on lap eleven, and in an effort to make sure they covered him, Ferrari brought the Oviedo native in four laps later. However, in so doing, the Prancing Horse failed to take into account Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, who had both pitted during the early safety car period and consequently leapfrogged the pair of them.

With Petrov's Renault F1 team-mate Robert Kubica leaving his own stop until as late as lap 46 of 55, the Pole similarly re-emerged ahead of Alonso and Webber, who would end up a frustrated seventh and eighth at the chequered flag, as Vettel sped on unhindered to win the race – and with it, the world championship. In hindsight, the fact that Vettel and McLaren pairing Lewis Hamilton and Button all stopped rather later – the latter particularly so – and still went on to finish one-two-three highlighted Ferrari's error. One for which, MP Roberto Calderoli contends, di Montezemolo must pay.

“Despite the ability of the excellent Alonso, Ferrari has managed to lose a championship already won,” blasted the minister who serves in Silvio Berlusconi's cabinet in Italy. “We are ashamed of this insane strategy and he (di Montezemolo) is guilty. He should get out of Maranello immediately so he does no further harm to Ferrari – by the evening, we expect his resignation.”

di Montezemolo, however, brushed off the attack, deriding his critic as a 'small' person and telling Rome newspaper Il Messaggero: “Sometimes winners lose, but we do not give up. There are some small people who systematically root against the country and its symbols. Luckily, they are the minority.”

“Afterwards it is very easy to see the best strategy,” concurred Alonso. “This is a sport and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian – next year we will try again.”

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