Montezemolo: I want explanations
29 November 2013
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said that he will be seeking the reasons for the Scuderia's inability to match Red Bull over the second half of the 2013 F1 season.
While RBR romped to a fourth successive constructors' title – as well as carrying Sebastian Vettel to a similar success in the drivers' championship – Ferrari slumped to third in the teams' standings, having also been overhauled by Mercedes on the run-in. Had Lotus not lost the services of Kimi Raikkonen for America and Brazil, and had Romain Grosjean's engine expire early on at Interlagos, the Scuderia's place in the top three could also have come under threat, and Montezemolo is keen to understand why.
“Definitely a year to forget, a disappointing season,” he told Italian broadcaster RAI Uno, “There were three main reasons and they're clearly marked in my mind….
“The first was an inability to develop the car in the second half of the season. I want explanations as to why, because if we don't understand the reasons, then that's not good. The second is the tyres, although I'm not looking to make excuses. We built a car to work with certain tyres, with which we proved to be very competitive. Then the tyres were changed, definitely proving to be a disadvantage for us and an advantage for others.
“As for the first reason, we will discuss that among ourselves, regarding the second, we will talk about it in the most suitable places.”
The exact details of Montezemolo's third reason appeared unclear, but it is obvious that he remains unhappy with the policing of the sport and, in particular, the way in which Mercedes' 'private' Bridgestone test was dealt with.
“There was an interpretation of the rules from one team, which one has to say was a bit strange and which incurred a punishment that, to say the least, had a touch of the Pontius Pilate about it,” he said enigmatically.
The president had further reason to be disappointed with the stewarding of the sport when Felipe Massa was handed a drive-thru' penalty for cutting the white line separating the pit-lane entry from the race track in Brazil. Although the drivers had been warned about the offence in their briefing, Montezemolo felt that the local hero had been harshly dealt with at the time – a feeling exacerbated by the fact that Massa was on course for fourth place, and enough points to prevent Mercedes from cementing second place in the teams' championship.
“I think it was disproportionate and unjust, as was [Lewis] Hamilton's,” the Italian fumed, “Every so often, the gentlemen who come to the races to act as stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic. One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money, and for the drivers who risk their lives.”
As a result, Montezemolo expects the governing body to take greater control of matters.
“[Jean] Todt will be reconfirmed and I expect strong changes because, for too many years, the Federation has always been the same and, as in everything, a change is required,” he noted, “Having said that, a strong sporting authority is always a priority for Ferrari.”
Returning to his own operation in 2014, the president remained optimistic that the new era of F1 could herald a rebirth for Ferrari following a reorganisation programme.
“Our aim is to build a car capable of winning,” he said simply, “We have carried out a very extensive reorganisation and highly regarded engineers such as [James] Allison have joined us or returned to us.
“There will be the new regulations which will give more importance to some areas, such as the engine, where we are very competent. We have good cause to be optimistic and all the ingredients to win are in place.
“We have come within a whisker of success too often and now we must win, I just hope there are no unclear aspects that could have an influence on things. Avoiding mistakes? That will apply to everyone.”