Now Montezemolo exit rocks crisis-struck Ferrari

Despite securing $35 million as he walks away, Luca di Montezemolo had a tear in his eye on Wednesday as he said farewell to Ferrari.

Now Montezemolo exit rocks crisis-struck Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
Felipe Massa, Sergio Marchionne, Luca di Montezemolo, John Elkann, Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F14-T
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F14-T
Sergio Marchionne, Ceo Fiat/Chrysler
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14-T
Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari President with the media
Ferrari F14-T nosecone
Bernie Ecclestone (GBR)
Ferrari logo
Ferrari logo on the Ferrari nosecone
Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari Team Principal

Although he was president, and although his presence at Maranello dates back decades, the 67-year-old is just the latest head to roll amid Ferrari's spiralling crisis.

"Our common desire to see Ferrari express its true potential on the track led us to some misunderstandings," admitted Fiat chairman Sergio Marchionne, Montezemolo's successor.

Charismatic and controversial, Montezemolo has secured a EUR 27 million parting fee, including a pledge he will not work for a Fiat rival until 2017.

He admitted on Wednesday that it is possible he will go on to run the Italian airline Alitalia.

His leaving is for me the same as Mr Enzo dying.

Bernie Ecclestone

In his wake, he leaves the Ferrari team run by a F1 newcomer, Marco Mattiacci, and a lead driver in Fernando Alonso who in the space of a single day lost not only Montezemolo but also another crucial ally, the late Emilio Botin.

But Montezemolo and Marchionne on Wednesday singled out Ferrari's turbo V6 engine as the biggest problem to solve.

"It is absolutely clear that we have an engine problem," said Marchionne.

Montezemolo concurred: "We underestimated the importance of the new engine system."

But with McLaren calling loudly, might this week's alarming news be the final straw for an increasingly frustrated Alonso?

"He has been very loyal to Ferrari, staying through the difficult times," rival Daniel Ricciardo told Austrian Servus TV this week.

"This is obviously a decision that Fernando has to make himself, but he has been very patient with them," he added.

Toni Vilander, however, a close friend of Alonso's current teammate Kimi Raikkonen, thinks Wednesday's news would not have been a shock to the red-clad pair.

"I believe they were aware of the issue for some time," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. "I don't think it's going to affect their situation an awful lot."

If they want to win races again they need to find another outstanding manager.

Max Mosley

But others see Ferrari's spiralling situation as endemic of the current regime at Maranello.

"I believe that the structure that they had in the past with Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Nigel Stepney and the rest of them is very, very different to what we see now," said Caterham team advisor Colin Kolles.

Montezemolo's exit is another big blow, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone admitted.

"His leaving is for me the same as Mr Enzo (Ferrari) dying," he said. "He has become Ferrari. You see him, you see Ferrari."

Former FIA president Max Mosley, however, never quite saw eye-to-eye with Montezemolo, and he thinks Wednesday might now be a turning point for the fabled team.

"In truth, Ferrari have never been quite the same since Jean left," he told Reuters. "If they want to win races again they need to find another outstanding manager."

One thing, however, was left undoubtedly clear on Wednesday - Ferrari itself is going nowhere.

"Montezemolo explained to me that we are bound by contracts with Ecclestone to stay in F1 at least until 2020," Marchionne told Italian reporters, "but for me it should be much longer.

"If it was up to me it would be 120 years."

shares
comments
Rosberg pressure 'too big' at Monza - Wolff

Previous article

Rosberg pressure 'too big' at Monza - Wolff

Next article

'No discussions' about Ferrari return - Brawn

'No discussions' about Ferrari return - Brawn
Load comments
Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021