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Posted on December 2, 2010
Montezemolo in no hurry to choose politics over Ferrari | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

There has been quite a bit of chatter in Italy in the past couple of weeks about Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo considering running for office backed by his “Italia Futura” group of leading Italian industrialists, entrepreneurs and thinkers.

But Montezemolo says it’s not the right moment to enter the Italian political scene and that he does not want to leave Ferrari.


The members of Italia Futura are urging him to seize the moment and come to the rescue of the country. He however appears to be pushing back on this, saying, that he will not go into politics, at least not at this time.

At the same time he says that “I feel the need to do something for my country. And I believe that like me there are many Italians who what to improve a country which deserves more. Italia Futura was born for this.”

But at the moment, it is just a movement, a forum for new ideas and discussions about the country Italy should be.

Having presided over the rebirth of Ferrari as an F1 team and as a profitable car manufacturer Montezemolo is synonymous with making “Made in Italy” something to be proud of in terms of quality manufacturing and technology. He was also the head of the organising committee of the Italia 90 World Cup, which was a huge success. But will he stake that reputation in the bear pit of Italian politics?

I’ve been looking into this story over the last few days and it seems that time is the commodity Montezemolo feels he is short of. To have a proper run at it he needs more time to build his powerbase and assemble a political party, as he would need to do if he were to challenge in an election with a chance of getting a majority or at least a coalition with one other party. His strategists are concerned that if he were to go for it now, he’d end up in another messy Italian coalition government of the kind which they have seen plenty of in the past.

There is no doubt that Montezemolo has been talking a lot about his vision for Italy and about what is wrong with the country at the moment, calling for change and flexing his political muscles recently and that is one of the reasons why he was attacked by a minister, Roberto Calderoli, who is part of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition, after Ferrari’s failure to win the F1 championship in Abu Dhabi. Calderoli tried to cause maximum embarrassment for Montezemolo, calling for his resignation.

In today’s La Repubblica newspaper, Berlusconi’s comment on Montezemolo was, “Some people talk and others get things done. We get things done.”

Berlusconi wants Montezemolo to get into the political arena aligned to a political party, so he can take him on at the ballot box. He feels it’s not fair for him to attack the government from the outside with no stake in the process, which is what is happening at the moment. Montezemolo does not have a party, only a movement, Italia Futura, which talks about a “renaissance” for Italy, a “reconstruction” of a country which is “bogged down”.

But Montezemolo keeps saying that he does not want to get into politics and that he does not want to leave Ferrari, so you have to take what he says at face value.

According to my best sources in Italy, for the moment, there is nothing to suggest that he is about to change his role.

Montezemolo this week officially opened the Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi accompanied by Felipe Massa and a bearded Fernando Alonso.

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Montezemolo in no hurry to choose politics over Ferrari
32 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Galapago555
        Date: December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:05 pm 

    Mmm… in my opinion, if Il Cavaliere is attacking him, therefore Luca di Motezemolo should be a good chance for Italy. On the other hand, I normally do not trust this kind of groups “coming to the rescue of the country”. I’m not sure Italy actually needs to be “rescued”. Besides, it sounds a little fascist, doesn’t it? :-(

    Anyway, being a Ferrari fan, I’d rather prefer Mr Montezemolo to keep managing the Scuderia instead of going into politics.

    Off topic: I’m looking forward to receive the Book, James. Are you going to write an article or something, so we can share our comments about it?

    [Reply]

    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    Galapago, I agree. The last time we saw the corporations come to the rescue in Italy they gave the world Mussolini. As a gift, I’d much rather have the Ferrari.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Zobra, seems that for once we both share an opinion… but we’re not talking about F1, LOL!! ;-)

    [Reply]

    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    Galapago, I trust there are lots of F1 areas we can find agreement on, and besides, isn’t it the friendly back and forth about opinions that makes this forum so much fun?

    Galapago555 Reply:

    @Zobra Wambleska

    Totally spot on. Friendly and respectful, but passionate, with very different points of view. I enjoy this forum a lot, as you do. #1 in F1, IMO.

    Probably this is the first F1 subject where we agree, isn’t it? :-D

    Zobra Wambleska Reply:

    Galapago, I seem to remember agreeing with you a couple of times on F1 issues, but didn’t comment. Probably should have in hindsight.

    Wayne Reply:

    Hey JA, here’s the reason I come to this site first:

    http://www.planetf1.com/news/18227/6552265/-Di-Montezemolo-s-political-switch-in-doubt-

    Why go anyone where else when I can come here and get it straight form the horses mouth!

    Great writing as always. There’s simply no other site that gives as direct, impartial, sometime irreverent and always insightful opinion as this one.

    Thanks for engageing with fans’ posts too – good to know they’re being read.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Red5
        Date: December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:14 pm 

    Luca di Montezemolo was not mentioned in the Wikileaks cables. That suggests he is yet to be regarded as a serious political contender.

    His record in F1 is long and for the most part distinguished. Ferrari is looking like a strong challenger for next year championship, I suspect Luca wants to be standing behind Alonso when he takes his third title.

    [Reply]

    Rich C Reply:

    >>di Montezemolo was not mentioned in the Wikileaks <<

    lmao

    +1

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Jo Torrent
        Date: December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:15 pm 

    Mixing industry with politics never worked properly and as you mentioned James the only reason why Roberto Calderoli attacked him was because of his political ambitions.

    Montezemolo showed more and more patriotism through his industrial activities urging Italians to buy Italian cars when he headed FIAT and la CONFINDUSTRIA. The Italian colors on drivers overall, the black sign when Italian soldiers died in Afghanistan, etc. The last move is to call the latest berlinetta ITALIA. As a Ferrari fan who’s not Italian, I’m a bit annoyed by that surge of patriotism (politically motivated I might add).

    If he’s to join politics, I hope that he won’t use FERRARI as a bridge and as an image as all he’ll manage is to harm FERRARI for his own ambitions.

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    I do agree with you here but unless you are Italian I dont think you really get the whole Ferrari thing.

    I have Italian friends who have great difficulty describing it to me, its like Ferrari is a symbol of their nation, when Ferrari win or loose it is a matter of national pride. Ferrari is to Italians like a Spitfire is to us Brits or the stars and stripes are to Americans (i was tempted to say cheeese burger there ;) . Italians feel like it belongs to them and they are a part of it.

    I personally think he would make a good politician, he is a very shrewd and clever individual. He achieved great things with Ferrari and that will have huge appeal to your average Italian.

    Bottom line, Ferrari is Italian patriotisim, if he does go into politics he will use Ferrari as a bridge, it will be a very effective one.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Classic F1 Videos
        Date: December 2nd, 2010 @ 8:33 pm 

    Actions speak louder than words.

    We have come to see that denials and reassurancse in sports and politics mean nothing.

    But I get the feeling that he will stick it out with Ferrari. At least, until the team is sorted out and back on the right track.

    I give it a year or two. Thanks for the insight on this, we would never otherwise hear about it in the British media.

    Chris

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: December 2nd, 2010 @ 11:27 pm 

    The team bosses voted Alonso #1 for 2010 and rightly so in my opinion. In my view they’ve gotten it right both the last two years.

    [Reply]

    Wayne Reply:

    I would agree (despite not being an Alonso Fan – certainly wasn’t SV for me).

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    There is no clear best driver this year. The fact that the WDC was so close because all of them made mistakes and the leading driver changed through five drivers suggests that the WDC could have gone to one of several drivers, especially had Bernie chosen two or three more (or fewer) races this year!

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    Yep, Damian J, I fully agree with you. In fact, I voted for Seb as best driver of the year – no matter I am a well known Alonso fan. We did not have a clear “best driver” of the year. Anyway, they have to vote for someone, and it’s curious that Fernando has been voted as #1. It would be fantastic to know what the vote of every Team principal has been.

    Pecisely this season has been so entertaining, IMO, because of the lack of a clear favourite. I think we will remember for a long time the showdown at Abu Dhabi, with four drivers still in the hunt for the title.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Jeremiah
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 1:24 am 

    I think Lou will soon be directing his energies towards the Ferrari group helping the Fiat-Chrysler partnership in the U.S. Their technology and prestige would be a great boost for their American operations.
    If anyone wants to see a beautiful heroic story, check out the Sunoco Ferrari 512 with Marc Donohue driving (about 1970 or 71)on Youtube.

    I wish Ferrari would expand into the US,instead of Lou stepping into the snakepit of Italian politics. Maybe he could intervene there by proxy, and act in the shade, behind the scenes.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: For Sure
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 7:02 am 

    I think it will be a disaster for Italy.
    His approach at Ferrari worries me. He got rid of JT, Ross and retired Michael.
    And the last driver championship was 2007 and that car was designed by Ross Brawn’s team.

    [Reply]

    mvi Reply:

    But wasn’t he also the one who brought in JT, Ross and Michael?

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    As mvi says, he was also the one who brought those people in…

    My opinion is that he did push Schumacher out, Brawn left with him and Todt was the last of the “out with the old in with the new”.

    But, Raikkonen won in 07, Massa was incredibally unlucky on 08, as a result of 08 they had a poor 09, very close again in 10.

    They also now have Alonso, who is to say that when he got rid of Schumi in 06 that his long term goal wasnt to get Alonso, who will certainly be around for several more years…?

    They have effectlvly a new team now with a new image and in IMO the best driver in the world. In 05/06 Ferrari did not have a good image, unless you were a Ferrari fan they were not well liked. A regeime change was implemented and you have to say its worked

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    You think Massa was unlucky. Perhaps he was very lucky given the numerous times FIA interfered in the rase results in 2008 to gift Massa some free points.

    Perhaps it was Raikonnen that was lucky in 2007 to capitalize on the problems that Alonso brought to McLaren.

    [Reply]

    Galapago555 Reply:

    “…the problems that Alonso brought to McLaren.”

    (LMAO) Yes, I can remember when Fernando parked his McLaren on the pitlane in China; also when he went wide on the first corner in Brazil. Vith those two mistakes, he ruined his 17-point lead over Raikonnen…

    Or, wait, maybe it was not Fernando?

    For Sure Reply:

    Excuse me did you just say its working?
    Since 2007 Ferrari never had the best package, they have been the weaker team which made strategic errors and reliability problems.
    Maclaren had the best package, reliability and speed in 2007 and 2008.
    Since then they have been playing the catch up game rather then leading the pack.
    They threw away a lot of talented people.
    I am getting the impression that Luca wanted to prove that it was him not the dream team. He promoted Stefano instead of Ross Brawn who would loved to become Ferrari team principal.
    And quite clearly Luca is paying the price.
    Brawn took the title in 2009, and his team wasn’t as good as Adrian Newey.
    He thinks Alonso will pull a Schumacher but the difference is that Alonso will only work for him when the team is giving him a top car. He is not going to drag the team like Schumacher did. If we have another 2005, he will say “I have always wanted to work with Adrian Newey”.

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    First of all you sound like Mclaren fans having a dig at Ferrari. I am a huge Mclaren fan and quite openly hate Ferrari, at least I did hate Ferrari.

    I know what you mean about the shall we say, interesting stewards decisions in 08, very much the Ferrari International Aid. But either way you have to say Massa was unlucky, the cock up in Singapore (which yes was admittedly Ferraris fault) and the loosing the championship at the last corner (I was expecting a Mclaren-Toyota deal to be announced after the race…)

    I think the Mclarens and Ferraris were quite well matched over 07 and 08, Mclaren probably had the edge but just. Mclaren made a cock up with their driver management in 07, Ferrari capatalised, simple as.

    Like I said before, Ferrari were not well liked during the Schumacher years (jealousy in the most part I think). They have remodelled themselves as a much warmer and open team, this has done them a lot of good (especially the last 2 years). The whole set up was getting old and they changed, it has taken them a couple of years to get used to it but i think this year it gelled for them. The same can be said for Mclaren and Ron Dennis, he was a great team leader but his work was done and it was time for him to move on.

    I hear what you are saying about Alonso not being like Schumacher and not being willing to drag a team up, I agree with that. But, looking at 08 with Renault (even with the dirty tricks ;) and even this year you have to say that Alonso is very capable of developing a car.

    Im as usual rabling, but what im trying to say is that Ferrari needed a change, a fresh start after Schumi left. They did that, it has been a bit rocky but they are starting to come good again. I am speculating but Montezemolo must have implemented this change and I think he had the right idea, they did need a fresh start. IMO his plan is working.

    Yours Truly

    A devout Mclaren Fan ;)


  8.   8. Posted By: giorgio0078
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 10:39 am 

    That’s a positive, a man with a mondial marketing experience and practical background feels and sees that what’s happening in Country’s big politics is dissimulation and has got normal motive and urge to break status quo. But it is long and tough way to go, he is good leader in Ferrari industry.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: jonrob
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 11:27 am 

    “The members of Italia Futura are urging him to seize the moment and come to the rescue of the country.”
    But shirley I remember that Berlusconni “rescued” Italy some time ago. A businessman who got things done, he would be different. But then he found that unlike employees, politicians did not do what they were told, so he gave up and devoted himself to hedonism instead.
    Still this is very Italian, and in that vein perhaps Flav should have a go, then if he fails and Italy needs a firm hand, Max could step in. ;-)
    Don’t you love ‘em James, promise you anything, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it. But wonderful people with too much passion. (yes of course I an English and have none)

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Rene
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 1:31 pm 

    ferrari = politics, no?

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: JohnBt
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 2:32 pm 

    Off topic James. I noticed November 14, Abu Dhabi has not been striked-out from 2010 World Championship.

    Money, fame and POWER has been the order for centuries. I just hope Luca is not thinking of being a politician. It takes the fun out of life.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Carl Michael
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 5:51 pm 

    What is it that Italy needs rescuing from? Looking at it’s revenues it seems set to overtake the UK in future years.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Damian J
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 9:17 pm 

    James,

    Change of subject but connected with LdM, Do you know if LdM trashed yet another television at the end of the final race of the season after realising that Ferrari failed again to win the WDC?

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Bru72
        Date: December 3rd, 2010 @ 11:16 pm 

    I think LDM would be an excellent leader for Italy, and appears to have a tad of midas touch with whatever he gets involved in.
    I doubt he’d use too much reference to Ferrari, but would be a positive influence for Italian industry/products in general.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: leftfoot
        Date: December 4th, 2010 @ 1:23 pm 

    Is there a biography available on LDM? On that note is there anymore news on an autobiography from Max M?

    [Reply]

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