Montezemolo forgives Alonso mistakes
Scuderia Ferrari
Montezemolo forgives Alonso mistakes
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 May 2010   |  12:08 pm GMT  |  80 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has given a series of interviews lately, as Ferrari celebrates 800 Grand Prix starts and the most recent one is in today’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

In the interview he deals with Alonso’s recent mistakes, hints at some possible changes in the team and says that Ferrari wants to go back to using its Fiorano test track. He also reveals that Ferrari has saved 30% this year compared to its budget of two years ago before the teams got serious on cost cutting.

On the subject of Alonso he says that he’s delighted with him both on and off the track, “He has team spirit, he’s conscientious and has attachment to the team.”

Asked about the series of mistakes Alonso has made, most recently the practice accident in Monaco, which wrecked his chances of victory, Montezemolo says, “I only consider the Monaco one, where he was being over confident,” he says. “He wanted to test the limits, thinking about the pole and he made a mistake. The jump start in China was down to tension. But we are in good shape for the world championship. It’s still open.”

There have been a lot of rumours lately about the management of the F1 team, in particular the technical management, with suggestions that this side could soon be strengthened. Montezemolo’s answer seems coded here and suggests that some new names could be coming in on the technical or operational side to inject some discipline. he says that he has no plans to change, “the highest levels, no. But at the middle levels we leave the door open for the arrival of some new professionalism. It’s a stimulus.”

As for the future, Montezemolo talks about the current discussions regarding getting rid of Fridays during Grand Prix weekends. It’s been discussed many times before. The promoters don’t like it because it cuts down their opportunities to gain revenue but the teams feel that the complete testing ban has possibly been a wrong route.

Ferrari gave up the most when it signed up to the testing ban as it owned both the Fiorano test track next door to the F1 factory and Mugello, a demanding circuit in Tuscany.

“”We need tests to experiment, especially those of us who transfer technology from road to car. We want to go back to using Fiorano in which we have invested a lot. We are constructors, not people who race for a hobby.”

There is only a brief mention of Felipe Massa, who has come back from injury this season, but who has not been performing as well as expected. His place at the team appears under threat. Montezemolo usually throws out some encouraging noises in this kind of situation, support for his driver followed by a call to action. He says that for Massa to keep his place next season he should continue to work with the same spirit, thinking of himself and the team.” It’s hard to draw too many conclusions from this, other than that Ferrari doesn’t want to talk about Massa’s position at the moment. Remember that at the start of the year there was all the talk of Alonso and Massa being required to work for the team and not themselves.

Fourth place at Monaco was a confidence building result for Massa, but tempered by the fact that the team was targeting pole position and the win and felt it had the car to do it – or at least beat everyone except Webber.

I’ll post separately on Massa and his task this weekend.

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God I wish everyone would get off their high horses and stop talking about Raikkonen as though he was this incredible driver.

He won the 2007 WDC, whether by luck or by some secret meeting between Mclaren and the FIA stating that they would be excluded from the Constructors for cheating but had to give the Drivers to Ferrari. It wss all too contrived to be real…

Massa consistently beat Kimi, not this crap about about one year one driver, the next give respect to the other.

Also, at the end of 2006, Ron Dennis said in an interview, how happy he was that Kimi was going to Ferrari. Ron Dennis being a man who hated Ferrari, so imagine what he actually meant. Kimi on his day was brilliant. Then again, Coulthard on his day was, so was Barrichello.

Massa beat Schumi sometimes, this a Schumacher who had gone past his peak of 2002. He beat Kimi over 08 and 09.

Alonso is a different driver, Massa hasn’t got a prayer.


I’m just bit wondering – why there are no questions about Massa’s performance. Sorry but Alonso with jump starts, drive throughs, crashed cars and so on is is ahead of him in the championship.

build, Melbourne, Australia

To me what is interesting is what was not said about Massa’s drive in Monaco, it was a solid effort … but.

Webber always does well in Monaco.


I think with the current situation at Ferrari concerning Massa, I get the impression that Ferrari might do a deal with Sauber to be the sister team of Ferrari so that Massa can go to Sauber while still being a part of Ferrari. Massa can go there to develop a good solid car and be a mentor to Kobayashi and help him develop into a star. Back at Ferrari, they are going to do something which is very uncharacteristic of them, selecting a rookie driver. I am talking about Bianchi, who on paper in my view is a future world champion. The only problem is him partnering Alonso. We saw a similar circumstance when Ron Dennis drafted Hamilton for 2007 to partner Alonso and we knew what happened there. So what do you think James about this possibility as I think Bianchi could be just as good as Hamilton, maybe slightly better?


Ferrari’s deliberations have a feudal air. LdM “forgives” Alonso. Holy Father, forgive me, for I haven’t put the car on the front row. Kimi must be laughing his backside off.


James, thanks for the article.

Nice idea for Ferrari to have once again a kind of “Nart” team.


Like Alonso or hate him. There’s too much postings on his past which gets real boring. Problem is Alonso must not make any mistake, as he’s considered to be on the best list drivers. Any or even minor mistakes will bring out the nay-sayers by the droves. But take note that he’s only 3 points off the leaders. That speaks volumes for the errors and this is his first year in Ferrari. Friday is round the corner, it’s new day.


I just hope Kimi gets back to F1. F1 is loosing a lot without him.


Slightly off-topic, but if I may suggest James a topic for a future post, it would be interesting to hear Andrea Stella’s (Alonso’s race engineer) comments regarding Alonso as well, especially considering that he was there already when Michael was at Ferrari, and also served as Kimi’s race engineer. Given that Michael is back and there still is a huge interest in Kimi too, it would be nice to hear how someone, who closely knows all three and how they race, compares them to each other.

Any chance for such an interview?

Prof Bolshaviks

It would only be useful when all three are off the payroll.


That would be great!


They had quotes from Stella in a blog recently here on this site. Still blaming Kimi for the bad car. From the way they talk it is amazing Ferrari survived Kimi at all. 🙂 They are somehow incapable of looking at him objectively and praise & thank him for all he did for them.

In autosport in 12/09 LdM said, “All our car architecture – the dimensions of the gearbox, everything – was based on a different interpretation of the rules and, also, we were pushing very hard until the last corner of the last race of ‘08,” he said. Autosport 12/21/09 Ferrari: Alonso can turn team around. “Montezemolo was quoted as saying in Gazetta dello Sport. “I was afraid that Massa wouldn’t recover. After his crash we have focused on the 2010 car. Kimi “my judgment on him is positive. At another point he LdM said that “he (Kimi) is an amazingly talented guy.”

Michael Schumacher, as Ferrari’s highly paid consultant, told Ferrari to build the car around Massa. I have read that MS did not develop the car, Rubens did. When he left MS was no longer winning. Massa, their 1st driver in 2008 & 2009, wasn’t responsible for developing the car…?

Plus, Kimi was relegated to being the 2nd driver in 2008 & 2009. In an article by Dieter Rencken and Matt Beer on Jan. 13, 2010 entitled Ferrari: Alonso Can Defeat Schumacher, Stefano Domenicali said that “In the case of Felipe and Kimi [Raikkonen], in one year one driver was ahead of the other, in the second year the opposite happened, and so there was a form of respect.” I can’t imagine how Ferrari thought this would help motivate Kimi…?

It would have been fair for Ferrari to turn that around for the last year of Kimi’s contract, 2010. I believe that if Kimi had been the 1st again in 2008 Kimi could have won the WDC, again. I do not think that he could have won in 2009. The car was a real turkey. It would have been honorable for Ferrari, to show ‘form of respect’ for Kimi for his last contract year, 2010, by returning him to being their 1st driver.

After Massa wrecked, Ferrari quit developing the car. Kimi was then back as 1st driver and had 4 podium finishes in a row, including a win; or Ferrari would have laid a large goose egg for the year. In Brazil, when Kovalinen left his pit early to get ahead of Kimi, the gas line was still connected, threw gas everywhere, it caught fire and Kimi spent the rest of the race with gas in his eyes. He could have blinded himself. But..that is not good enough for Ferrari. He is the one out. Santander money talks.

How do you deliberately trash someone’s career, & then slander them & then continue slandering them…?!?! Stella, Ferrari, must be absolutely terrified that Kimi will be back in a competitive car next year.


A strong chance Massa will leave Ferrari if Nicolas Todt gets his F1 team up and running…


Luca said kimi would find his mojo. IMHO alonso has a lot of work to do, error prone, stirring things with the team mate. Team spirit? More like team poison!! I assume Luca will be inviting back nigel stephny since he hired alonso the thief.

Alberto Dietz

PP, FL and W, Richard. Maybe Luca is coming back to his senses now that Nigel is currently on stage in Modena. I look forward to his singing being appreciated this time, as those two super licenses should have gone for good in September 2007.

Jose Arellano

they just let go kimi instead of massa because of the accident massa had.. but it would very very cool to have alonso and kimi in ferrari..


Ferrari will be begging to get Kimi back, before not too long. He’s an elite driver, fastest of all in raw speed and far away from politics, lies and mischief.



What part of politics, lies and mischief doesn’t = Ferrari.

Happily it also = Alonso so it should be a happy marriage.



Typical for Ferrari to demand changes when they are lacking, which would not benefit the others.

It’s like ‘you all are going to accept this change which will only benefit us, because we are FerrarIA’.

The FIA already has helped them more than any other team this season, they should give up these schemes already.


Never been a Massa fan, but I dis-like Alonso, so I hope he rocks his ass!


Hey guys.

What are the odds that Ferrari US be on the

F1 grid in 2011?.

My bet, London to a Brick on.

Any offers.


Alonso seems to be putting Massa in his back pocket. He needs to respond and come up with some 2008 performances. If not then Kubica will be coming in 2011.


Reports say the Ferrari is being developed for Alonso’s driving style. No team mate can adjust himself to that.

See what’s happening at Mercedes. First Rosberg is faster…Mercedes changes the car for Schumacher…Rosberg is suddenly slower than Schumacher.

Ferrari is doing the same because they wanted Alonso as 1st driver from the beginning and cannot afford for Massa to beat Alonso (Santander won’t like it either). This is how dirty the F1 is.

Massa is out next season, so give him a car that will be just enough to take a shot at the contructors title, but not enough to beat Alonso in the process.


For the past 2 years the cars have been built around Massa as Schumi, as a highly paid consultant, told them too. This year the car is being built around Alonso.


Why can’t you except that Alonso is a supremely fast driver?! These are excuses. Massa needs to dig deeper to beat Alonso. Turkey is where Massa has made his mark in the past. Let’s see how it works for him.


Marz, now you mention the magic word to understand the power balance inside Ferrari: Santander. But with the spanish banks going quickly down the tube I am not sure Santander (or HRT, by the way) will be able to keep such a high profile in 2011.

I don’t believe Santander have the power who decide who wins inside Ferrari, but yes, they have the power to ‘help’ Ferrari giving Alonso a car developed for him. The question is: for how long?


Excellent response, I liked that.


I wouldn’t mind if Massa was left out. Alonso and Kimi would make the best team. I couldn’t belive it when I heard that last year they’re letting Kimi go and not Massa.


Even Ferrari would struggle to justify the wage bill for Kimi AND Alonso. Wouldn’t they…?


Well, they are already paying that bill + Massa’s!


Yet somehow they manage to pay all three, Alonso, Massa and Kimi, this year.


and that is why they could not accept budget cuts .. they wanted to be able to retain some dead wood on the payroll


I don’t find it surprising that Alonso is beating Massa, Massa didn’t suddenly find ½ a second when Michael left, it was more Kimi blew hot and cold and therefore flattered Massa, now Massa is up against someone who is considered to be the best all-rounder there is and Massa is probably one of the most one dimensional drivers there is, the outcome is not surprising.

Also Fisi took Massa to pieces at Sauber and on average Fisi wasn’t that close to Alonso at Renault, so again its no shock Massa is miles away from Alonso.



Ferarri always seem to have thought Massa better than he actually is.


Drivers like Alonso always go for the limit . Remember Schumacher in 96 in Ferrari ? There was some difficult moments , including a first lap in the rain in Monaco . Alonso is always in the spotlight , because he’s doing things . Can you imagine Massa recovering in Australia or in China in same way ? But imagine Hamilton or Schumacher doing that . Yes , they can .


The situation with Alonso is either a glass half full or half empty, depending on how it is looked at.

It is certainly better to be 3rd in the championship with a few mistakes here and there than down to 5th or 6th with “flawless” driving.

When you risk it all, you win some and you lose some. Especially when Redbull makes it impossible to qualify higher than 3rd.


Yep. Lot of sense there, Joe.


I agree. Best summary so far.

Mistakes or not, essentially it is the final champoinship points that counts. Alonso might have made some mistakes, but he did salvage most of them.


They do always seem to want to change the rules to suit themselves don’t they? Then they act as if it’s in the interests of everyone.


a) Schumacher wanted to make a come after Massa’s accident but couldn’t at that time, so suddenly it made sense that teams can run a third car.

b) Ferrari call KERS a flop in F1, (basically because they didn’t have theirs properly ready in time) and now they have it on a road car are pushing like crazy to reintroduce it early.

c) Alonso crashes in practice at Monaco, so suddenly it makes sense that 3rd cars are allowed again ‘for the fans’.

d) Unbeknown to others in F1, Ferrari had the (unfair) privilege of a technical veto. But then when they’re against the FIA, uniting with the other teams under FOTA was the best thing since sliced bread and Mosely became the devil.

e) And now?…. Ferrari need to catch up with Red Bull and so testing should be reintroduced. I wonder if he’d be pushing for testing if they were a second in front of everyone else.

Of course all teams fight for their own interests, and i don’t blame Ferrari for this respect. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if something bad happens to a Ferrari on a Sunday, by Monday morning they’re saying the rules need to be changed in the interests of the sport.


Ferrari’s KERS was at least on par with McLarens, they used it through out the season. The majority of teams didn’t want KERs expect BMW….who then didn’t use it all.

A third car is better than to have cars which can’t go the full race distance. The other teams have known about Ferrari and Williams’ financial agreement with FOM. And it was Ferrari’s veto that prevented F1 from disintegrating.

But don’t worry Ferrari will be out of F1 in 2012, so you won’t have to deal with these Italians again!


To join Toyota in the WRC? I wish it was the WRC of the old days … memories of Peugeot, Toyota Celica and Lancia!


1) I didn’t say the Ferrari’s KERS was no good, I said it wasn’t properly ready in time – check out the news leading up to the 2009 season.

2) You’re wrong about only BMW wanting KERS, they were perhaps the most keen, but not the only ones.

3) Whether or not a 3rd car is a good idea is beside the point. My point is that Ferrari always want to change things the second something bad happens to them. They said it’s because it’s not fair for the fans not to see a leading driver in qualifying. I wonder whether they’d feel the same if it had been Hamilton or Webber crashed out in practice? It wasn’t exactly good for the fans at Indy 05 when Ferrari wouldn’t allow track changes to be allowed. I agreed with them there – why should they allow alterations for the other teams. But they can’t have it both ways and say 3rd cars should be allowed just because Alonso makes an error in practice.

4) I didn’t mention financial agreements, just the veto. How did the veto stop F1 disintegrating? Are you now saying then that without the veto F1 will disintegrate? Let me know how long it’ll take and I’ll ween myself off F1 in time.

5) As Martin Collyer says; let’s hear a bit more about Ferrari leaving F1.

Martin Collyer

“…Ferrari will be out of F1 in 2012…”

Please explain a bit more Richard.


Autosport reports about the same Gazzetta interview that Montezemolo did mention Massa:

‘Di Montezemolo has also offered words of encouragement for Felipe Massa – who he insists will be re-signed by Ferrari if he continues to deliver.

When asked what Massa needed to do for a new deal, di Montezemolo said: “Carry on working with the same spirit while taking care of himself and the team.”‘


that translates like,

play second to alonso, and don’t be too far from him on pace. Be a ferrari ambassador, and if we don’t find anyone much better than you, we might keep you.


A little off topic but if Massa doesn’t beat Alonso in Turkey then he won’t be staying at Ferrari. Istanbul is probably Massa’s best track so if he can’t do the business there he has no hope.


Getting rid of Friday sessions is an intriguing option. Those drivers who are better at coping with a car that is not setup properly with benefit compared with those who require the set up to be right. Also those teams with a car that is general easy to drive and needs less in the way of setup, possibly this years Mclaren, will do better as they can be competitive from the off for the weekend.

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