martedì 9 settembre 2014

F1: Ferrari in turmoil after Monza disappointment

Montezemolo's future in doubt, Marchionne blasts recent record

(ANSA) - Rome, September 8 - Ferrari have been engulfed in turmoil after the team's dire form continued at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday and the recent record of Chairman Luca di Montezemolo was publicly criticised by the head of the parent company.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso failed to finish the race at Monza due to mechanical failure and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen came home a lowly ninth. That made for Ferrari's worst performance at their home grand prix since 2005, although at least on that occasion, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello did at least both manage to finish, in 10th and 12th place respectively. Just before Alonso retired, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said he was "enormously annoyed" at the dry spell the team has encountered since it won the constructors' title in 2008.

Marchionne also said that "no one was indispensable", fuelling speculation that Montezemolo could be on his way out after 23 years at the helm of Ferrari, even though the FCA chief said this was not on the agenda at the moment. "Seeing the team like this, not having won anything since 2008, even though we have the best drivers, an exceptional pit crew, great engineers, saddens me," Marchionne said. "The important thing for Ferrari is not just the economic results. Its heart is winning on the track in Formula One and we've been struggling for six years," Marchionne said.

Montezemolo had tried to deflate speculation he would leave Ferrari to take over Alitalia after the airline's tie-up with Etihad, saying he had recently told the company he was willing to stay on until 2016. Montezemolo replaced Stefano Domenicali with Marco Mattiacci as team principal following a poor start to this season and, after several senior engineers were sacked in recent years, some pundits have suggested the only head that can go now is the chairman's. Ferrari have won 14 world titles under Montezemolo, eight constructors' championships and five drivers' championship. The majority of those came when Michael Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles and helped the Italian glamour team to clinch six constructors' championships between 1999 and 2004. The situation is very different now.

Ferrari have not won a race since Fernando Alonso's victory in Spain over a year ago and they have notched just two podium finishes this season. Alonso is fifth in the drivers' table on 121 points, 117 behind leader Nico Rosberg, and the team have slipped to fourth in the constructors' championship on 162, 292 behind pacesetters Mercedes, with six of the season's 19 races to go. 

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