di Montezemolo: on the F10, new rules, third car and Valentino Rossi


As the covers were removed from Ferrari's 2010 challenger, company president Luca di Montezemolo admitted to being very emotional.

"The presentation was very emotional, because I was excited," admitted the Italian. "For me, Ferrari, together with my family, is the most important thing in my life.

"This is a very emotional moment which I'm confronting with anticipation," he continued, "but I won't know where we stand before qualifying in Bahrain. The team has worked with a determination and unity I haven't seen for a long time."

Other than the gorgeous scarlet and white F10, one of the other talking points today was the return to F1 of Michael Schumacher, who won five titles with the Maranello outfit. di Montezemolo has previously admitted that some Ferrari fans might regard the German as a traitor for joining a rival team, however, the Italian revealed that it is his fault the seven-time champion is coming out of retirement.

"I like Schumacher and I'm this misdeed's author," he said. "It was me who woke his desire to come back to racing and honestly I never thought I'd see him in a car that wasn't a Ferrari.

"He's a competitor, an opponent, like many others," he continued. "I'm not worried about the possibility that he might have taken material from our development."

Asked about his team's new line-up, di Montezemolo said: "When Ferrari decided in 2005 to take Kimi Raikkonen the alternative was Fernando Alonso, who now finds himself in a fundamental moment of his life. He's matured, young and strong, he has won two World Championships, one in 2005 and one in 2006, beating us 100%.

"We don't have any problem as far as our drivers are concerned," he continued. "We have Massa, who is back with further enthusiasm, we have Alonso and then we have Fisichella as the third driver and two very experienced test drivers, Marc Gene and Luca Badoer."

Much of 2009 was dominated - as ever - by political in-fighting, with Ferrari one of several teams threatening to leave F1 and head off to form a rival series. Asked about the future of the sport di Montezemolo is under no illusions.

"Formula 1 needs a season of great renewal with three main objectives," he said. "Technology, because it has to become the avant-garde to anticipate extreme and innovative technology for road cars; it has to regain credibility and it needs justice to guarantee stability. Furthermore the cost is an important factor - I don't want a Formula 1 with lower performance - and also stable rules.

Asked about the new rules for 2010, he said: "I am very much in favour of qualifying without full tanks like in the past and the choice of tyres. This is a start, with the collaboration from all of us. I think that teams and Federation can look ahead and do many things."

Finally, there is continued speculation linking MotoGP star Valentino Rossi with a seat at Ferrari. Asked to clarify the situation, di Montezemolo said: "I want to be a little more general: I spoke about the possibility of a third car, but I didn't say that Ferrari needs to have three cars. I'm well aware of the objections coming from the small teams. I was talking from the point of view of the interest of Formula 1 and of potential new entries in Formula 1. The third car could also be helpful for young drivers, to let them grow. It's not right that a boy, who has never driven in Formula 1 starts into a race without training and tests.

"Here's the idea," he continued. "I would happily give a Ferrari to an American, German or Australian team and let the car be managed by them. They would definitely spend less than if they had to build a car on their own from scratch. They could hand it over to a talented and strong driver or try it with a young driver with a certain potential. I told Domenicali to work on the possibility that some teams, like ours, could hand over cars to other teams."

Referring specifically to Rossi, he continued: "He's a friend and an undisputed champion, from Emilia-Romagna, a great fan of Formula 1 and engines, and also a potential Formula 1 Champion. If there was the possibility in 2011 and he wanted to do it and had the possibility for testing and adapting to F1, then why not?"

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    Published: 28/01/2010
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