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Badoer blames media for losing him dream Ferrari drive
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Badoer blames media for losing him dream Ferrari drive
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Sep 2009   |  8:54 am GMT  |  45 comments

A rather crestfallen Luca Badoer has blamed the media for causing him to lose his Ferrari drive at Monza this weekend.

Picture 18
Badoer was parachuted into the drive after first Felipe Massa was injured in Budapest and then Michael Schumacher, the first choice replacement, failed medical tests on a neck injury.

Not having driven in a Grand Prix for 10 years and with no miles under his belt in the car this year, Badoer inevitably struggled, finding himself last of the qualifiers and of the finishers in both the European and Belgian Grands Prix.

He had convinced himself that he would be fully up to speed at Monza, but he was not given the chance and he feels that the negative media coverage is the cause, not his poor performances,

“Those who write don’t understand how much harm they can cause. The media played a fundamental role in the decision to replace me,” he said.

This is awkward for Ferrari. The brand is so strong, post-Schumcher, it must never be exposed to ridicule and Badoer put that at some risk.

He is the most experienced driver never to score a point in F1, so clearly that needed putting right and with a car capable of podiums in the last four races, Badoer should have got off the mark. Badoer has been a loyal servant of the team over 10 years, always as a backroom boy and this was his chance for a moment in the spotlight. But F1 is an unforgiving business, Ferrari tried to be loyal and create a nice story, but it backfired on them and on Badoer. It is worse for both sides than if he had never had the chance to race a Ferrari as this embarrassing episode puts a shadow over the tremendous work he had done beside the scenes during the all-conquering Schumacher years.

Ferrari didn’t like it that some wag came up with “Look-how bad-you are” as a nickname for their struggling reserve. But to blame the media for losing the job is ludicrous. Yes, some of them were a little unkind, but he was miles off what a Ferrari driver should be doing, especially in the teeth of a battle with McLaren for the ‘salvaging some honour’ third position in the constructors’ championship. But most of us just reported facts and the facts are what did for him.

“I realised my dream, ” said Badoer. “I will always be able to tell my kids I raced two races for Ferrari, Maranello had faith in me. I only have one regret — from the third grand prix I would have done better.

“There was no agreement on how many races I would do. I thought I had time to improve. And these rules stop a reserve driver from testing and make him a victim – it happens only in Formula One.”

It didn’t help Badoer that at the same time two rookies were also finding their feet in F1, Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean. Both have some way to go, but were only a few tenths off their team mates’ pace, not whole seconds.

I feel sorry for Badoer in many ways, he should never have been asked and should not have accepted, but he couldn’t refuse and anyone with a heart can understand that. But to blame the media for his failure is the ultimate in self-deception.

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45 Comments
  1. Adrian says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he say after Valencia that he would be quicker in Spa? If he had still not been on the pace at Monza I’m certain he would have said that he would be quicker at the next race.

    Fact is he wasn’t fast enough. It’s not like he was setting decenet laps some of the time, he never managed to string together a lap time anything like Kimi’s.

    I know it sounds harsh, but look-oh bad-you-are is actually quite a fitting nickname for him…

    Fisi deserves the drive and Ferrari were absolutely right to replace Badoer with Fisi…

    1. Clinton says:

      I agree with Adrian’s comments, but not everything about Luca’s drives were bad.

      The one good thing that came from his spell at Ferrari, is that he has forever put to rest the argument advanced by F1 critics that “in F1 it doesn’t matter haw good the driver is, F1 is all about the car”.

      It proves that not just anyone in a race winning Ferrari has the ability to be a front runner.

      1. eddyr says:

        Well put- proof it’s not ALL about the car!
        He did tell us after Valencia he’d be quicker at Spa as commented below and reported at the time.

        I do feel genuinely sorry for him- I have said so all along, but to then do himself a discredit and push the blame on to the “media” is going to damage his already broken reputation even more…

        These drivers are spoilt!!

  2. Luke says:

    Totally agree with your comments there James. Sometimes you want to listen to your heart rather than your head. Its not every day you have the chance to drive for Ferrari, Luca Badoer has been a good servant and he should be proud of what he has achieved, despite his lack of success in racing.

  3. Martin says:

    I think where he’s coming from is that the last time he was in a Grand Prix, coverage was limited to live spasms between Wimbledon coverage and 40 minutes of highlights with Murray on Sunday nights. His was just a name that whizzed past towards the end of the starting grid graphics. Unless you “did a Salazar” you could remain fairly anonymous at the back of the grid then. Nowadays when every driver on the grid can Twitter about what they had for breakfast it’s a completely different animal and there’s no place really to hide if you’re off the pace.

  4. Alistair Blevins says:

    Is Badoer out of Ferrari entirely? Does he still have a test contract for next year?

    I know he’s been a stalwart for the team for many years but has his dismal performance in race conditions made his position untenable?

    Indeed, would he want to continue in such a high profile role knowing that he will never be offered a race seat again?

  5. jose says:

    A typical second class racing driver. Allways looking for excuses whe underperforming.

  6. Baz says:

    Badoer on qualifying fuel was 1.5 secs behind Kimi on race fuel. Sorry, but he just wasn’t quick enough.

  7. Racing not politics says:

    It’s a real shame that Badoer has taken this stance. He was clearly not fast enough and there was very little chance he would magically improve at Monza. Badoer should have stayed quiet and all this would soon have been forgotten. Instead he has fanned the flames and kept the story of “Look-how bad-you are” alive for a little longer.

    I only hope his kids don’t look up the statistics when he tells them about his two races for Ferrari!

  8. john says:

    The pace of Fisi this weekend compared to Kimi will tell how far Badoer was.

  9. hamilton fan says:

    Luca can safely blame the media, but only after the fact that he was slower than anybody else.

    I don’t expect miracles from Fisi either.

    One can assume big heads will be falling at Ferrari at the end of the season. Wrong decisions and questionable decisions all season long. No way some of the bosses won’t pay for it by being sacked.

    regards

    1. Werewolf says:

      But which heads? My understanding is that Di Montezemolo has micro-managed much of this, although I have not read anywhere what Domenicali’s own thoughts were.

      Silly observation really. As a budding politician, the answer is any heads but Di Montezemolo’s.

  10. Daver says:

    Extremely well put James.

    In F1, where drivers often get battered for being point one or two of a second behind a team mate with out even taking into account fuel correction. What did he expect?

    His driving around several seconds behind his team mate reminded me of when Minadi (i think) had a wealth overweight American buy a season long drive. If I remember correctly he was a moving chacaine. That makes a mockary of the sport.

    He should be greatful for the opportunity and thank everyone involved. Then leave it alone.

  11. shpalman says:

    “Luca Badoer has blamed the media for causing him to lose his Ferrari drive at Monza this weekend.”

    What, was he reading a newspaper in there instead of driving?

    Anyway, at least this season should be a useful retort to those who suggest that speed is more a function of the car than the driver.

  12. Neil says:

    He simply didn’t deliver, did he? I don’t think anyone expected him to have Kimi’s pace but was he trying to recreate his Minardi days when they were always several seconds back? Maybe he was that slow then and the oft-repeated phrase that Schumacher could win in a Minardi was actually true?! He seems a nice pleasant bloke who was put into an impossible situation but wasn’t able to rise to the occasion when it presented itself.

  13. Martin Collyer says:

    It’s a shame about Luca but it is clear he wasn’t going to make the grade.

    Blaming somebody else for your own failings/problems is a popular technique but it rarely works.

    He might have been better served to have thanked Ferrari for giving him a chance and graciously admitted that it’s been too long since he last raced.

  14. Cabby says:

    Your last paragraph sums it up nicely. Apparently Badoer not only lacks racing and driving experience, he also lacks media experience, too.

    In a way it as surprise that the team did not have a contingency plan in case one of their drivers beeing unavailable, expecially with Kimi going rally-racing.

  15. john g says:

    well the only thing fitting of a race driver that he has ever done – blamed the media for negative coverage. he said after valencia that spa would be much better. it wasn’t. no matter which way you spin it, coming last of all teh runners in a car capable of the podium is rubbish, what else could the media have said?

  16. monktonnik says:

    It is a shame and I feel sorry for Badoer, but I have to agree. He can claim that the press put it in the minds of the Ferrari team to sack him all he likes, but no team would continue to support a driver who is consistently over a second off his team mates pace. I would think less of them if they did. To be honest I was surprised that they put him in the race seat as he has never been considered a particularly worthy F1 driver.

    Badoer was clearly feeling the pressure in the car. There was an interesting snippet of conversation between Badoer and Rob Smedley in the pits during qualifying at Spa. It seemed that Luca was not taking on board the help he was being given to get him up to speed. That suggests to me that he was mentally on the defensive and unable to accept criticism. When people under perform or don’t achieve their potential they often look outside to deflect the reality that they just didn’t succeed.

    Paerhaps it is unfair to point this out, but….

    There was a wonderful moment on Top Gear a couple of years ago where Clarkson was racing Badoer on track in a couple of super cars and JC was keeping up and possibly even passed LB. At the time I thought nothing of it, but actually in the light of recent developments it does have a certain resonance.

  17. Quote: “I only have one regret — from the third grand prix I would have done better.”

    Of course he would have – easy to say that now when you don’t get that chance isn’t it. I’m sorry, he did not improve that much over the two Grands Prix and I don’t think he would have been more than a laughing stock at Monza.

    FWIW I thought the media were quite polite towards him – however most of us bloggers (not including James of course) ripped him to shreds!

    I feel sorry for the poor guy but he could have tried to bow out with a little more grace.

  18. Nick W says:

    This is an interesting one. I agree that Badoer underperformed and should have done better, but I also agree that the press is guilty of sniping a bit too much here. Why not just leave him to get on with the job and settle in. He was clearly going to struggle as he had not driven for 7 months and was effectively no longer testing on a regular basis. I do think the press have been a bit harsh.

    1. monktonnik says:

      “Why not just leave him to get on with the job and settle in.”

      Because papers and websites have to be filled with something.

      I think that the fact that he is the first driver to qualify in last place on pace in a Ferrari is something worth writing about.

      I wonder what “La Gazetta dello Sport” where saying? I bet James could tell us.

  19. Renn Sport says:

    I’m sorry Luca but you are paid to drive fast and if you can’t do that after being exposed to Ferarri for 10 years then I am afraid you simply are not good enough.

    If you want to help hold up Ferrari honor then compete in another formula that Ferrari race and do it there… you’ll feel vindicated.
    Otherwise be thankful have ended you embarrassment.

    The media can be rough, but you were not fast enough to warrant your place.
    You got your dream, be thankful and walk away with grace. At least another Italian gets to live the dream too.

  20. A-Sav says:

    Blaming the media? Were they driving the car for him? That could explain the performance.

    1. Adrian says:

      I think they must have been hitching a ride on his car….

  21. Tim Lamkin says:

    So what will they call Fisi if he is slow

    1. john g says:

      fisicrappa?

  22. Steve JR says:

    Poor Luca playing the blame game, he must be absolutely gutted to miss the chance to be in the red car at the home GP.

    But just imagine how gutted Fisi will be if a Force India car wins at Monza

  23. KNF says:

    When you’re Italian and driving for Ferrari, it’s inevitable that you’ll end up on the firing line… If you get on the podium in 2nd or 3rd, you get blasted for not winning, if you score points, you get blasted for not getting a podium. If you don’t even score points or dead last, well, look where Badoer ended up…

    It seems though that he was set up for failure ever since he got the call, he hasn’t tested or raced in another series (unlike Marc Gene), so he would be lacking in both racecraft and familiarity with the car.

    I think it was Kubica who said that the approach to testing versus actual racing is vastly different, testing more to do with consistency, while racing requires the driver to operate at the limit.

    1. James Allen says:

      That is a very valid point, KNF, thanks for that.

  24. Michael C says:

    Hi James two questions/comments

    1. surely Badoer has been rated as a good driver by Ferrari in the past over the long time he has been with them – especially with the taskmaster of Ross Brawn Michael Schumacher etc – there must have been comparisons between both their times and those of The other regular race drivers. If he was not well capable of extracting the maximum from the car then how can you judge improvements and they appear to have got on all right with him on the team?

    2. So if so what was the problem in your opinion was it the pressure on was it just being rusty in the car or is testing just a totally different game? Incidentally the two new wonder boys you refer to might be much more on the pace but did a pretty good job of wrecking a large number of drivers Belgian Grand Prix

    1. Martin Collyer says:

      Michael, the inexperience of cold brakes after a very slow formation lap perhaps. Plus, La Source to Les Combes is a long long way at very high speed to lose whatever small amount of heat is generated braking at Les Combes.

  25. Spyros says:

    I feel sorry for the man. It really would have been a good story if he could have performed, but alas it just couldn’t happen.

    To be fair, in a Minardi 10+ years ago, he didn’t look too bad – nowhere near as bad as some pay-drivers. Remember Tyrrel’s last season, before they became BAR? I don’t recall the name of the driver who was finishing 2 laps behind the other Tyrrel, but I do remember thinking how unfair it all was to Jos Verstappen…

    I hope that this latest statement of Badoer’s is just something that was taken out of proportion. In the Schumacher years, and with very different/fewer/no limits on testing, he was doing enough miles in the Ferraris in Fiorano, to go round the globe a few times a year… this was a truly hard-working, loyal Ferrari man, and he didn’t deserve to leave F1 like this.

    If Schumacher had returned and been 1+ secs off Kimi’s pace, we would all have understood – Schumi is Schumi, and being off the pace would have simply been written off as the result of being out of it for so long. By contrast, Badoer’s fate is that he will be remembered as a second-rate driver. No more, no less.

    The man is entitled to feel bitter…

    1. Stu says:

      I was going to post something along these lines, but you’ve done it – extremely well put.

      Had Badoer been at full fitness and done plenty of mileage in the 09 car then perhaps this would have been a different story. But alas, the shortsightedness in this years regulation changes have basically bought this situation upon us.

  26. Jojo says:

    I think this is where Kimi’s help would be beneficial for Luca. How to deal with media pressure..Kimi should have trained him how to seal yourself from the media.

    1. Jojo says:

      Media circus is wlk in the park for Kimi.

  27. Werewolf says:

    F1 is an extremely public sport with massive media exposure. That media has increased the pressure to perform on virtually every driver and team at some point – Button must be fed up with what’s being writen at the moment – and that goes with the territory, especially as an Italian at Ferrari.

    The nickname may have been unkind but so, probably, were Hunt the Shunt and Andrea de Crasheris! But just as these two had more than their fair share of accidents at various times in their careers, so did Badoer under perform – and the media are completely blameless for that.

  28. John says:

    L.O.L.

    The media finished last in the last two races?

  29. Lady Snowcat says:

    I have one question about the whole Badoer fiasco…

    What was Michael’s role in the ill conceived plan?..

    Michael was centre stage at Valencia and seemed to be personally coaching Luca… but then I didn’t see Schuey at Spa at all as he seemed to be too embarassed to be around the pedestrian Italian….

    Luca had been working with Michael when Michael looked like making a comeback…

    I’d love to know if it was on Michael’s suggestion that the Scuderia went with Luca which, let’s face it, looked like a weird call from the very start…

    Is it Michael’s support that has made Luca so unwilling to accept that he is nowhere near suitable for a current F1 drive?… or is he that self deluded?….

    But basically I’d love to know if this was in some way a call of Michael’s to get the aged test driver into the seat he wanted to fill himself… and also whether Luca’s failure to be in the same race as everyone else has affected Schuey’s thoughts of ever making a return himself….

    1. James Allen says:

      Well he certainly had Schumacher’s support, but I’m not sure whether it was his idea. The pair are very good friends though, away from the track

  30. Stuart says:

    Hello James, I enjoy your column and have been watching the results of your straw poll on Fisichella with interest.
    It’s so easy to put the knife into Badouer, (how may of us could climb into an F1 car and be just 3 secs off the pace? I wish!) but shouldn’t we be heaping the odium onto the Ferrari team management and di Montezemolo in particular? Ferrari are this year’s ‘team shambles’; after a period of winning everything, we see the effects of no Ross Brawn, no Jean Todt, and no Michael Schumacher. From never losing to hardly ever winning is a humiliating descent for Ferrari and the Tifosi, and now they have lost Massa, who could always be counted on to drive his socks off. How are the Ferrari team management coping? Not very well it would appear; instead of producing a coherent planned response for the future, they are panicking, grasping at straws, first Badouer and now Fisichella has to shoulder all the aspirations of Ferrari and the Italian media and public. It’s a huge mountain for anyone to climb. I like Fisichella, but in ten years of F1 he has never looked liked a potential world champion to me, someone to consistently challenge say a Schumacher, or even a Hamilton, Massa or Raikenen. I would say don’t expect too much of Fisi first time out at Monza; Badouer could be feeling a lot better at two o’clock, our time, on Saturday afternoon. I thought of entering your competition but decided I couldn’t take a punt on practice times, there are too many variables, too much politicking behind the scenes to say, get a Ferraru driven by an Italian onto pole, but by Sunday evening we should know how good Fisi really is. If he is wihin 0.5 sec of KR in race trim I will be pleasantly surprised. Personally I think he should have stayed at Force India.
    PS. What’s your guess?

  31. Craig says:

    While I can appreciate Luca for having filled in for the team, I simply cannot feel badly for him.

    He has been a test driver for Ferrari since 1997. Who among us would not have traded our left nut for a single day of that life? I suspect that he’d rather have done that than had my job for the last twelve years.

    What I hope is that with the passage of time, he will realize that, irrespective of the last two Grands Prix.

  32. David Hodge says:

    Luca was put in an unenviable position but then again, which of us here would not jump at the chance to drive a Ferrari? I would, and I am a fat old bloke and would be 30 seconds off the pace!

    There was a difference in the media between the professional drivers and journalists. Markedly so on the BBC where Jonathan “football commentator just say anything” Legard was harsher than Martin “ex racing driver” Brundle. I think the latter knew how hard it was to jump in a car with no testing.

    So the fairytale is over and another begins. What will be the difference between Kimi and Fisi? Certainly closer than Luca but let’s see. No doubt Legard will inform us…

  33. Osman says:

    Didn’t Fisi test Ferrari road cars in the 1990s?

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