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Montezemolo to quit Ferrari for politics?

Montezemolo is reportedly still eyeing a future in Italian politics - which could compromise his efforts to ride the Prancing Horse back to F1 championship glory.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo could quit his role with the most successful F1 team of all time should the lure of politics prove too strong to resist.

Although he has only just been voted into another three-year stint as president, the 63-year old admits that he still has a hankering to make it on a broader stage, and will definitely take the step towards an alternative career. He has talked about a political future for many years, but has always put his involvement with Ferrari first, although a recent interview with Italy's Max magazine suggests that there is more serious intent this time around, especially as he has already given up the role of chairman at the Fiat group.

"We need a managerial class to enter politics to give, not to take," he explained, "We must start working together as a team and spread the culture of all-inclusive group work."

With Italian politics currently in turmoil as 'teflon-coated' prime minister Silvio Berlusconi stands trial in a sex scandal, the time may be right for di Montezemolo to make his move - one which would have the full backing of the Italia Futura group of entrepreneurs and industrialists that he heads up. As well as running Ferrari, he is also involved in a scheme to end the monopoly on Italy's rail system, so it should come as no surprise that 'competition' is a watchword for his political beliefs.

"We have to inject massive doses of competitiveness into the Italian system - national competition, local competition, privatisation, liberalisation," he told Reuters earlier this year, "Competitiveness encourages meritocracy, better services at lower prices and new entrepreneurs starting new businesses.

"Unfortunately, many Italian politicians do not have a culture of competition -- just take a look at the electoral law. If I, as a voter, cannot decide who to send to parliament because someone else [ie a political party leader] has to decide, that is the very opposite of competition."

Should he be able to follow his political ambitions, however, di Montezemolo is unlikely to be able to continue in his current role at Ferrari, opening the question as to who may replace him. Italian racing magazine Autosprint has tipped Lapo Elkann, the 34-year old brother of Fiat chairman John Elkann, to have the support by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

But, while Montezemolo talks of feeling 'the need to do something for my country', his ambitions are already being denigrated by Berlusconi's party, members of which - the prime minister included - rubbished Ferrari's attempt to win the F1 world championship in Abu Dhabi after Fernando Alonso's strategy was compromised on the pit-wall.



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