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Manufacturers would have left F1, says Montezemolo

NEWS STORY
17/12/2008

Talking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo insists that if the FIA had gone ahead with its threat to introduce a standard (customer) engine, the manufacturer teams would have followed Honda out of F1.

While a number of teams made it clear that they were unhappy at the possibility, Ferrari made no bones about its intention, saying that such a move would "detract from the entire raison of the sport" with which it has been involved continuously since 1950, "a raison d'etre based principally on competition and technological development".

The message was clear, should the FIA go ahead with its plan, Ferrari "would have to re-evaluate its presence in the sport".

"If the standard engine had gone through for all teams, at least four or five carmakers would have abandoned F1," di Montezemolo told the Italian newspaper. "I mean four or five plus Ferrari, i.e. all of them."

However, the threat - such as it was - has now subsided, thanks to the efforts of the teams that compromise the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), who, under the leadership of di Montezemolo came up with their own cost cutting solution... just like Max always intended.

With his Ferrari President hat on, di Montezemolo also dismissed talk that his team was eyeing Lewis Hamilton, the Italian insisting that he wouldn't swap the 2008 runner-up for the Englishman.

"Hamilton is a great driver," he admitted, "capable of coming close to the world title in his first year in Formula One and winning it in the second. But with all respect, I wouldn't swap him for Felipe Massa.

"If Massa did not win it this year, we were to blame," he added. "It would have been normal for him to win. He didn't manage to because of our mistakes."

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