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Montezemolo plays the political card with new Ferrari F1 car
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Montezemolo plays the political card with new Ferrari F1 car
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jan 2011   |  12:04 am GMT  |  76 comments

There’s a very interesting little note on the Ferrari website this evening saying that the new Ferrari F1 car will be designated the F150, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The Italian flag, the “Tricolore” will be more prominent than before.


The 2009 Ferrari was designated the F60, to commemorate Ferrari’s 60 years in the sport, underlining that the team is the only ever present in the 60 year history of the sport. That was a political statement in F1 terms, reminding the FIA, FOM and the new teams who want to have an equal say in the running of FOTA and the sport in general, that Ferrari is the big beast in the jungle, the only one that has a track record stretching back to the very start, which is not to be underestimated. 2009 was a turbulent year in the sport with the threat of a FOTA breakaway, led by Ferrari.

Here Montezemolo, who has been getting involved in national politics lately, making strong statements against Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and even starting his own political movement, “Italia Futura”, is aligning Ferrari with the nation, talking up what it does best at a time when the image of the government is in question, not least by Montezemolo’s allies. Italia Futura, an alliance of business people and intellectuals, talks about a “renaissance” for Italy, a “reconstruction” of a country which is “bogged down”, by the behaviour of Berlusconi.

Now the F1 team is being drawn into this scenario,

“Ferrari is the expression of Italian excellence, talent and creativity” said Montezemolo today. “All the men and women who work with passion and commitment at Maranello share the pride and responsibility that comes with representing our country to the rest of the world and it is with this spirit that we wanted to dedicate the new car to such a historical event, which is of such importance to the entire country.”

One of the key objectives of the final years of former FIAT boss Gianni Agnelli’s life was for Ferrari to make “Made in Italy” a badge of pride internationally as far as automobile manufacturing was concerned, as opposed to a badge of shame as it had become in the 1970s and 80s. The performance of Ferrari in the 1990s and 2000s more than achieved that.

Montezemolo was personally criticised by politicians on Berlusconi’s side after the debacle in Abu Dhabi, where Ferrari lost the championship on a bad pit call. But here Montezemolo is giving it back with interest, by reminding those who seek to criticise him that during his tenure as boss of Ferrari, how much has been achieved and how that achievement – played out in front of a worldwide audience – has benefitted the international prestige of Italy.


The F150 heralds a new step for Ferrari with much of the responsibility on the engineering and strategy side being placed on the shoulders of former McLaren designer Pat Fry.

Fry has a rounded background having engineered David Coulthard, been senior operations engineer and designed McLaren F1 cars. His honeymoon period will be short; the first decisions from testing and the early races will be intensely scrutinised after what happened at the end of 2010. There is little room for error.

Photo: Ferrari

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76comments

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1

Ferrari is F1 in the same way that MV Agusta used to be the World Motorcycle Championship. Great sportspeople don’t want or need a handicap advantage.

2

…my friend Bob thinks the new Ferrari should be titled, again in an attempt to maintain the political theme, the F150-150…..150 years-150 governments. I must say, with all due apologies to our Italian friends, we often find that Bob exaggerates for effect…

3

““It is a natural thing that a racing driver dreams of Ferrari…”

Helmut Marko, RBR.

Just for those who don’t think Ferrari is something special.

4

i cant help wondering what Ford think of the new name, Ford F150 pickup, off the beaten track i know. Would Ford own rights to it name, ie; Porsche wanting to call the 911 the 901 origanlly but being blocked by Peugot.

5

This is all fairly meaningless symbolism over substance. The only significance that the apha-numeric designation will have is if it is not a competetive car. Then you will see the notoriously brutal Italian press comparing it to a Ford Pickup.

The bigger story is how Ferrari is pulling employees from Red Bull.

6

And McLaren….and with them some of their former team technical secrets….

7

I don’t know why people make such a big deal of this. Of course Montezemolo will try to use his Ferrari leadership to boost whatever political chances or preferences he might have. This is nothing compared to the real political side of F1! They can’t leave that aside, this ‘sport’ is all about politics. Almost all decisions in F1 nowadays are political.

8

I don’t mind Ferrari naming their new car F150 but when did Pat Fry become an Italian?

I am concerned about the new teams too. Unless they can catch up and challenge for the win which does not look very likely in the foreseeable future, their prescence in F1 is unnecessary and a hindrance to those going much faster when overtaking is now so difficult. The moveable rear wing however may change all that which remains to be seen.

9

Great to see Paul Di resta confirmed at force India today!

10

Any one remember what Ferrari were like during there unsuccessful stint before the Schumacher era, where they went for a good wee while without a title. Were they as proud as they come across just now?

Vic

11

I have been watching Formule one for more than 30 years; even more… and I was always a Ferrari fan ! In good and bad times but I they were always a team to deal with. I remember Alesi fighting like a lion on the qualifying at Monza : superb racing ! I supported Giles Villeneuve, René Arnoux, Niki Lauda, Pironi, Alain Prost, Alboreto, Jean Alesi and all the other drivers who drove for Ferrari. Ferrari is a team, just like Mc Laren, that is always there, even when they have a bad season. Of course the time with Michael were top but I always liked to watch them, even when they struggled. There is no team like Ferrari ! I have the same kind of respect for Williams and Mc Laren…

12

Does Monty still think we’re all at the beach when the F1 races are on?

He’s certainly out to lunch 😉

13

James,

Wasn´t Fry responsible for the MP4-24?

14

That is correct – he did the 20, 22 and 24

15

Any one of the teams could leave F1 and the series and fans would cope. It’s true. Yes, we’d miss them from time to time, and hark back to the good ol’ days, but things would carry on. It was an end of an era when Senna died, when Schumacher left, but people soon move on. Nobody still mourns BMW, Brabham or Tyrrell.

16

Sadly, I’m not aware of a sane person that’s involved in politics. Ferrari will definitely lose some credits from me if Montezemolo dive into that river.

17

Isn’t this a risky move by Montezemolo? He is, at least, sailing very close to the winds of “political neutrality” enshrined in the sport. One need only think back to Turkey 2006.

18

I was thinking exactly the same thing. Jerez will never be raced at again after their little politcal stunt on the podium in 1997.

19

Let us not forget that without FIAT (Fabricanti Italiano Automobili de Torino) we would not had had the chase around the rooftop test circuit of the Lingotto factory in The Italian Job. (The proper one with doors blown off!)

The old factory was an exhibition venue for a couple of years before and during the building of the new one next door. (during the building they dug up one of our WW2 unexploded bombs and the exhibition was suddenly closed for the day with no explanation) As one looked up past the decoration and hastily whitewashed concrete beams, the elongated helix of the ramp up to the roof track could be seen, it was very tempting.

20

I look forward to seeing the new F1 cars this year.

I dont personally like politics in F1, but whatever Ferrari wish to do is their call. Will be interesting to see the colour scheme if the flag will be more visible.

It does always stagger me when people make comments like F1 is basically whichever series Ferrari choose.

Certainly I agree in recent times, and in the past they have had periods of success, but as an F1 fan I’ve never thought F1 would not exist without them.

F1 for me is about racing, and good engineering challenges.

I’m not for one moment saying the Ferrari brand is not good for F1, but I think F1 is strong enough without it.

And what would Ferrari do if they just left F1? Indycar? One make series?

To make a great alternative, they’d have to take the best teams with them.

21

Funny isn’t it… “the expression of Italian excellence”, full of British – or Aussie -engineers on the most relevant positions, whose cars are driven by an Spaniard and a Brazilian. Btw, having had the most succesful years under the management of a French and with a German driver…

It sounds ridiculous to me in these days to talk about the nationality of a team. Of course Ferrari was born in Italy, and it’s probably one of the first brands that comes to mind when you think of Italy. But nowadays the F1 teams are perfectly international companies, bringing us a worldwide competition that reaches an audience near to 580 million people from everywhere. Montezemolo is right to show his success leading the Scuderia if he wants to sell himself, but it’s funny to place here that “Italian” statement.

As Marty McSuperFly wrote above, we don’t need politics on F1.

22

Have a look at the website of Ferrari and you’ll see that there are plenty of Italian people on relevant positions ! They have a new video…

23

I have huge respect for Ferrari and everything that was achieved by Mr Ferrari and his successors, both with road cars and on the track.

However in F1 you are only as good as you’re current car and 6o years of history don’t count for much on the 2011 grid.

It’s not right that Ferrari gets an automatic share of the revenue that is so much larger than other teams ( particularly Williams and McLaren ) but it would equally not be fair for new teams coming in to get an equal share of the pot.

We could go on and discuss sportsmanship and tactics which reached an all time low under John Todt and Ross Brawn with Michael Schumacher behind the wheel.

We saw evidence that this is still a live issue last year and Ferrari certainly go racing in a different way to most of the teams with their emphasis on their lead driver. I don’t like it but that’s Ferrari for you.

F1 without the team would be a much less exciting sport but not a fatally flawed one.

Montezemelo is a political animal to his fingertips so we should hardly be surprised that he’s using Ferrari to aid his political ambitions. Dangerous, but in the world of Italian politics, inevitable.

24

I don’t understand why Ferrari continue to demand a greater say in the modern era. This is supposed to be a sport and it is only fair if all teams are equal. I do think Ferrari’s power is totally overplayed, in the early 90s they were of hardly any consequence to the sport.

25

Good luck to Luca and his Italia Futura. Anything is better than Berlusconi.

26

If Italy is bogged down by Berlusconi, it’s because he treats the country as his fiefdom. All of the “Ferrari’s IS F1” talk is because LdM/Ferrari expect the FIA, and F1, to defer to them in the same way. Describing yourself as the embodiment of all desirable attributes is older than history. Berlusconi and the Agnellis used to agree on a lot of things that were to their mutual benefit, but that was before his political ascendancy. Hands up all of those who think Italy will benefit measurably from the expedient of the LdM Old Boy Network replacing the Berlusconi Old Boy Network?

27

Interesting to know what Ferrari means to a country. I met an Italian the other day and we talked about this. He said “Well, you know we had beautiful cars like Lambo, Ferrari etc..and we are proud of it but at the end of the day it was the German and Spanish who did the job. So personally, I am more supportive towards Valentino Rossi”

28

“So personally, I am more supportive towards Valentino Rossi” who’s going to drive an Italian bike for the first time on 2011…

29

Leave the politics alone Monty. Nobody cares and it just makes Ferrari and FIA look even more corrupt in the eyes of the rest of the world. And fire Alonso already.

30

I really hope he run’s for president. He would be great for Italy and they really need to move on. When I was in Italy I could not believe how backwards it was compared to the rest of Western Europe. I think it is almost sad how things are there with all the corruption and mafia its a lot like Russia. It would great to see a modern Italy instead of what they have today. As I’m sure there are a lot more company’s like Ferrari for the world to enjoy. Good luck and have a happy F150.

31

You would think that Ferrari would do enough research to avoid naming their car after the most popular vehicle in their biggest market. How long until the “handles like a truck” jokes begin?

32

right about now I guess… 😉

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