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Spain latches onto Di Montzemolo’s assessment of F14T’s issues
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Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  10 May 2014   |  11:11 am GMT  |  59 comments

Following the hopeful optimism that Fernando Alonso will this weekend pull off another Valencia-style smash and grab victory contained in Friday’s Spnaish headlines, today the country’s media have had a change of heart, latching onto Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo’s admission that the team have not been “able to give Alonso a more competitive car”.

Di Montezemolo, who recently confirmed that he’ll take a more hands-on role at the Scuderia following the departure of Team Principal Stefano Domenicali and the appointment of the F1-inexperienced Marco Mattiacci, made his second appearance in five races here yesterday and delivered the message, eagerly lapped up by the Spanish media, that the team needs to help its double champion.

“I’m sorry for not being able to give Alonso a more competitive car”, he said, adding that that he understands that “Alonso is frustrated”.

National sport newspapers Marca and As include Montezemolo’s concerns in the headline, establishing straight away that the problem is the car, not the driver: the President isn’t happy and nor are the team or Alonso, and the only way to sort this out is to give the Spaniard “a competitive car.”

Fernando isn’t where they’d like him to be, but the Spanish media have made sure they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Montezemolo has set a date for the team to react, explaining that he expects “a major improvement on the car in Canada.” You can be sure that, from now until Montreal, the media will be expecting that improvement to be Alonso’s salvation but, in the meantime, and only because the boss is doing so, they can also downplay his expectations.

As a consequence, and as a result of Alonso’s fourth-place laps in both of Friday’s practice sessions and an eventual 1.5s deficit to pacesetter Lewis Hamilton, expectations for qualifying and the race have been adjusted. Sport newspapers El Mundo Deportivo and Diari Sport focus straight away on how Alonso struggled to ge

t the most out of yesterday’s two sessions, explaining that he was not entirely satisfied with the start to the weekend and why he had found it difficult out on track. “There wasn’t much grip, we had less downforce than at other races and, in my opinion, the tyre choice is too conservative for this track,” Alonso lamented.

The comparisons with other epic Alonso wins have disappeared from this morning’s pages, but just like As and Marca do with their Montezemolo stories, El Mundo Deportivo and Sport also search for that light at the end of the tunnel, hoping for a positive result: “We have to be smarter than our rivals in terms of making the right changes for qualifying” they quote; the exact same words that the Car & Driver website use in their headline. So, there it is, despite the more measured response, informed by the Ferrari boss’ comments, hope still springs eternal in the newspaper columns and website pages.

Tabatha Valls Halling
at the Circuit de Catalunya

NOTE: Di Montzemolo’s presence yesterday was no surprise among our Italian sources. The feeling there is that Marco Mattiacci’s appointment as Team Principal isn’t quite a cut-and-dried tale of the former Head of Ferrari North America being the chosen disciple of the Ferrari President, but that the new Team Principal is a star performer within the wider FIAT organisation and has substantial backing from that quarter. That support that may ultimately not sit too easily with Di Montezemolo, hence the tighter focus on the Scuderia’s operations. 

 

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59 Comments
  1. goferet says:

    Am not sure Ferrari will be able to keep their promise of marked improvement for Canada considering the same was said about Barcelona and so far, the team doesn’t appear to have made major in roads.

    And the fact Luca has admitted that Alonso is frustrated doesn’t indicate a good relationship and hence the need for the apology.

    Yes it’s very difficult for people to remain in a frustrating environment as we saw with Senna after the 1993 season so Alonso’s movements need to be watched closely.

    But when all is said and done, I still expect full commitment and a good performance from Alonso this weekend because Alonso loves his fans.

    1. Kris Sharp says:

      Given their previous history of promised improvements, which they failed at, I can’t see major steps.

      Ferrari not being able to deliver championship car for the last 6 years is not a news anymore.
      Expectations towards them have to be adjusted.

    2. Luigi C says:

      My understanding was that they were NOT gonna have a Major upgrade for Spain. We also must remember that the team keeps evolving So it may react different to previous years.

      Mattiacci also seems to be a replacement for LDM more than for Domenicali. So it does not come as a surprise that he was thrust upon LDM. Maybe gfeeling as though his job is on the line as pushed to have a more hands on approach.

  2. David in Sydney says:

    I get the sense that if LdM doesn’t see things going his way then he’s a micromanager… and a white-anter… still, he’s been there, done the job and he is the man supposedly in charge of Ferrari…

  3. Crusty says:

    Y – a – w – n.
    We’ve had years of this.

    1. Simmo says:

      Yep. Just more of the same. He pulled out the old wind tunnel excuse again the other day.

      Pretty embarrassing to be a Ferrari fan like myself.

    2. MOON says:

      Very much Truee…

  4. F Zero says:

    the new Team Principal is a star performer within the wider FIAT organisation…

    Does this imply that LdM himself is in the cross hairs, and that MM is being groomed with some token F1 experience for credibility so as to replace LdM in the future?

    1. tara says:

      yes i think that line was the most intriguing of the report. the developments in that quarter could be quite worrying, on the other hand there is a reason the saying ‘change is good’ exists

    2. LDM is the Alpha and Omega of Ferrari.Were he to be any ordinary,the Agnellis’ would have rooted him out.
      . And we should not forget they are a powerhouse in Italy and with them lying low all these years of slump means one thing:UNTOUCHABLE.Why do you think the media have not latched on to his removal?Well,read the story of Enzo Ferrari and connect the dots.
      He just did not appear from nowhere,therefore he’s not going anywhere unless he says himself.There’s nothing anybody can do to the Count.

  5. jmv says:

    The difference between Alons and Schumacher is that the latter never once complained about the car or the team. He was rather a stoic.

    In fairness of Alonso, Schumacher had Jean Todt and Ross Brawn by his side.

    But still the first point is valid. Alonso seeks too much the publicity road.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Schumacher started complaining when he was at Mercedes. Drivers moaning to the media about bad cars oddly happens to all of them when they have a bad car. If Alonso had the car advantages and everything Schumacher enjoyed I think we’d hear less complaints.

      1. kent says:

        and Fernando would be a 4 or 5 time WC.

      2. justafan says:

        Schumacher was faster, that’s why he won 7 titles.

      3. ReadySetGoGoGo says:

        +100 to JMV. Indeed, very stoic in all his competitive career.

        To AuraF1: funny you say that. I cannot remember one complaint about his mercedes? please do reference the quote…….

        re ferrari days, funny how you say he had “advantages”… I cant remember any advantage between 96-99, yet he raced and did not complain. Nor did he complain from 2005-2006 when Mclaren and Renault had incredible cars and michelin played the tyre war tricks right back at bridgestone.

        yet our friend Alonso is in his 5th at Ferrari and he has simply failed to build a team around him with all his moaning.

    2. Grant H says:

      Schumacher had magic tyres!

  6. jmv says:

    OT James: is it true that Alonso blocked Hulkenberg to Ferrari?

    1. Crusty says:

      I believe he did block Hulk replacing him, yes.

    2. Ahmed says:

      Probably not… If he were to block anyone it would be lewis or vettel

      1. kent says:

        or kimi!

      2. justafan says:

        Why Kimi?

    3. Yago says:

      Of course not.

  7. Paige says:

    While LdM is putting all of the focus on waxing poetic about Alonso and apologizing to the nation of Spain for not giving him a more competitive car, here comes Kimi back today to beat Alonso in Q2 and Q3 in a straight qualifying fight.

    It just goes to show: nothing- not the criticism of the media, not the politics of Ferrari, and not the blase cheap shots delivered in the media by Alonso to try to bury a teammate at his lowest point- ever phases Kimi.

    Alonso better not get comfortable with how the first four races have gone. Kimi has not forgotten how to drive, and he is not tenths off of Alonso. When he gets the front end turning even 90% to his liking, he’ll grab the last 10% and give Alonso everything that he can handle.

    The Ferrari teammate battle is far from over.

    1. Luis Pastilla says:

      It was all 3 sessions, not 2 and 3 only:

      Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:28.308 1:27.335 1:27.104
      Fernando AlonsoFerrari 1:28.329 1:27.602 1:27.140

      1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        Luis, I’m sure you did not see the previous 04 races so, here it goes:

        Q3: Alo 04 x Kim 01
        Races: Alo 04 x Kim 00

        Today, Q1 Alo was on hards Kim on softs.

        Have a nice day!!!

        P.S.: Even Massa has beaten Alo on qualis once in a while. In fact Kimi is doing worse than Massa.

      2. Pete says:

        …..Who was Ferrari’s last World Champion?????

      3. rad_g says:

        James Hunt wannabe

    2. Vin S says:

      Nice one, and very true! All this Alonso Hype for 5 Years at Top Team Ferrari without success is really getting irritating now.

      Seriously, Kimi was let go for Alonso in 2010 with the reasoning that “Alonso is better at Car Development & leadership”.

      Where is the car development, where is the leadership. And to top it all, Kimi beats him in a straight fight within 5 Races of joining a team Alonso’s been at for 5 Years.

      Do the math, If Kimi gets the car to where he wants from now on, it’ll only going to get tough for Alonso.

      1. IgMI says:

        As a Kimi fan I cannot say that I don’t like this kind of comments, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet: “One swallow does not a summer make.”

        While I suffer through his slow start I thoroughly enjoy his apolitical approach to racing, fairness on the racetrack, and cherish his successes. I do not put him on any kind of pedestal as I don’t think that is what he would like. A refreshment and a quiet chat about something irrelevant might be something he would enjoy more. As would I, now that I think about it.

      2. Gorgo says:

        Thanks igmi,
        this is one the very best comments I have read recently in relation to Kimi :)

      3. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        “Kimi beats him in a straight fight within 5 Races of joining a team Alonso’s been at for 5 Years”.

        Hahahaha…

        Kimi was beaten by Alonso BY A SECOND several times this season. You did not see that, right???

        Now that Kimi finishes less than a tenth ahead, he is crushing Alonso.

        Very funny. Very funny.

        Waiting for your comments tomorrow after the race.

      4. justafan says:

        When they traded Kimi foe Alonso, they thought they got someone with the Schumaresque car development & leadership skills. That was probably their biggest error. However we don’t know how much of a motivator for the move the Santander money was.

    3. Carbonated says:

      Wow, RAI beats ALO by a whopping 0.04 seconds in qualifying and you think ALO is doomed??

      Remember, points are awarded on SUNDAY not Saturday.

      Better to wait to see if RAI can consistently beat ALO before burying. The season is still young.

      1. Gorgo says:

        certainly ALO is not doomed, and Kimi said that beating ALO in qualy means nothing. But the way Ferrari screwed Kimi in the race is not very clever. Having unhappy employee is not the way to go forward. ALO or Kimi do not have any chance to win championship this year so why not let them race…

  8. Ahmad says:

    I very much doubt Ferrari has the technical depth to catch or match Merc or RBR, third is the best they could achieve this season. So good luck to LDM to control Alonso’s frustration, especially if/when Hamilton gets his second title…

  9. janis1207 says:

    It was said, back in Schumi/Todt/Brawn/Byrne/Martinelli days di Montezemolo’s presence in the garage during the race was considered to bring bad luck.
    I wonder if that has changed now :)

    1. HP says:

      haha you beat me to it. although, back then everything was pretty much in ferrari garage so LdM presence was as a distraction, thats not the case now. but he does silly things to get media’s attention.

      1. HP says:

        pretty much perfect**

  10. Arshad says:

    The way things work in an F1 season Scuderia is way behind and catching up seems like a distant dream. Soon we will hear that they are now focusing on 2015. Even as a champion driver where will Alonso consider going keeping in view performance of drivers e.g. Ricardo et al at RBR and that of teams like McLaren and others. Another beginning of a sad ending for a great driver like Alonso.

    1. MOON says:

      certainly yes…

  11. AuraF1 says:

    I saw Sky reporting the Ferrari will go after Adrian Newey year after year until he caves and signs up rumours. Genuine or a desperate attempt to keep Alonso from leaving?

    1. James Allen says:

      I would not rule out Newey going to Ferrari at some point. He “gets” Ferrari – he owns and drives the cars, even races their GTs – he understands what Ferrari means

      He would need to be persuaded that the right structure is in place to make it worth his while being there and that would be hard for them to prove – he’d insist that he is able to work with his people, not have people foisted on him. It’s not so easy to fire people in Italy etc

      1. HP says:

        James, are you hinting something? Is Newey going to Ferrari next year?

      2. James Allen says:

        No, not at all.

        I’m saying I wouldn’t rule it out at some stage, but the circumstances will he hard to achieve for Ferrari

      3. MOON says:

        i would second that, but the question is how long will James take as he is considered as one of the best visionary resource in F1.

  12. Vin S says:

    RAIKKONEN BREAKS ALONSO’S DECADE LONG RUN IN BARCELONA

    http://www.f1pulse.com/news/2014051021/raikkonen-breaks-alonsos-decade-long-run-in-barcelona

    I guess Alonso can leave Ferrari now & it might actually be a blessing in disguise.

    Money (Santander) cannot buy one success.

    1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

      Are you serious??? 8-)

      Q3: Alo 04 x Kim 01
      Races: Alo 04 x Kim 00

      Kimi so far is doing worst than Massa.
      Well, that makes sense since Kimi was beaten BY MASSA!!!

      1. Carbonated says:

        Excellent response – I agree.

      2. Gorgo says:

        Just to remind you what’s happened and how Kimi was beaten by Massa…..2008 and after few races and win in Barcelona, Kimi is leading the championship and it looks like 2008 will be Kimi’s year. I put the link below where you can read what exactly happened in the world of Ferrari and how all of a sudden Kimi lost the pace. Long article but crucial to understand what was going on
        http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

        And this article is even more interesting to understand what has happened in 2008
        http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

        Still think that Kimi was beaten by Massa? Kimi and Massa can not be even compared, Massa is in the completely different league. Even against Botas, Massa is already struggling and it will get worse towards the end of the season…

  13. Richard says:

    Fernando has been given lots of media attention this Grand Prix, whether that is because it is his home Grand Prix or because he is going to make a move away from Ferrari…

    1. justafan says:

      He has a contract till 16.

      1. Richard says:

        Contracts doesn’t mean shit. We know that since he left McLaren.

  14. Grant H says:

    Im sorry modern ferrari are a hopeless team who cant build a dominating car. RB, macca and merc have all proved they can, until such time ferrari have a big shake up there is no hope, only reason they came close in 12 was because alonso had a amazing season, last year we had endless wind tunnel corelation excuses whats the excuse now, they need to start again

  15. Klaas says:

    I’m getting Fed up with F1 at the moment! After dull and utterly boring seasons like 2011 and the 2nd part of 2013, we were all eagerly waiting for 2014. It would throw up the formbook they said, it will produce exciting racing they said! The only Thing I like about F1 2014 is that we have a different winner besides Vettel! Ok, it has altered the formbook a bit, but we are watching non races where one car is Miles faster than anyone, Jeez It’s depressing to see such a big advantage! The last 13 races have been won by 3 different drivers, how depressing is that? We want to see a competition, not a who’s the best of the rest show! No wonder the Americans hate it, it’s boring as hell!!! F1 has fallen deep in my humble opinion and I didn’t even mention the fact that most of the Cars are UGLY as hell, sound horrible and are WAY TOO SLOW!!! Yeah 2014, it’s a cracker, wait for it, letdown!!!!

  16. AlexD says:

    Ferrari is 2 sec off the pace at the moment…..they are moving backwards. Again, it looks like development is not working. Massa said that when he was in Ferrari, most of the time upgrades did not work which is not the case in Williams.

  17. Crom says:

    James, the insight this kind of reporting from Tabatha gives is fantastic, we’re not seeing this depth of journalism anywhere else. Please keep it up, it really gives a much more of a feel for what the reality is on the ground, a more rounded view of F1, instead of the distanced regurgitation of press releases and soundbites, which is what most online F1 reporting seems to be these days.
    Many thanks.

    1. Tabatha Valls says:

      Many thanks for your kind message Crom, much appreciated. I’m glad you are enjoying it!

  18. Agent Orange says:

    I’m in my early 40’s and whilst I can remember tiny bits of Hunt and Lauda F1 truly started for me with Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Rene Arnoux and Piquet etc. in the late 70’s. Since that time what has Ferrari achieved? They were nothing and produced awful cars until Brawn and Schumacher turned up. When they left normal service was resumed. People have come, people have gone since the late 70’s but one person remains – LdM.

    Been a long time coming but surely about time people questioned LdM because in my life time, bar Schumacher era, Ferrari can be remembered for producing great road cars but awful F1 cars.

  19. Snowy says:

    James, you continue to incorrectly use di Montezemolo as Luca’s surname rather than simply Montezemolo. Look at the headline in the first excerpt from the foreign press where they use the correct name.

    I saw Peter Windsor a while ago express dismay at the now ubiquitous use of the name Luca di Montezemolo. He recalled an earlier time when the Ferrari boss was referred to as simply Luca Montezemolo. He’d even questioned Montezemolo about the practice and the man himself said he had no idea why it should have changed either – it wasn’t something he had encouraged nor preferred. Indeed, as it states in his Wikipedia entry – “His surname is actually “Cordero di Montezemolo” and the correct usage is either that full surname or just Montezemolo (omitting the “di”).” Not that Wikipedia can always be completely trusted, but this entry is referenced and it does back up the rest of the story.

    It would be great to see his name used correctly despite what the rest of the herd seem to do.

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