Op-Ed: Hey, Luca D, pick on someone your own size

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It appears that last week’s bashing of the new Formula 1 teams by Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo didn’t have the impact he wanted.

Because he’s at it, again, essentially saying some of the new teams — probably HRT in particular — shouldn’t even be allowed on the grid.

Here’s his translated quotes, courtesy of Autosport via Gazzetta dello Sport:

“Cars who perform at GP2-level should not be allowed to participate in F1 races because they are supposed to race on Sunday mornings,” di Montezemolo was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Our car’s race pace was good enough for victory. Let’s hope that, in the future, there won’t be mistakes in pushing a button nor in lapping cars that put us at a disadvantage, because we’ve already gone through that.”

You might recall that Luca said about the same thing about a week ago:

“There is a need to have competitive teams,” he said. “F1 is like soccer. It needs heroes and it needs big teams. You cannot equalise everything. We need to avoid having too many small teams because it means too many compromises.”

Di Montezemolo revealed that he favoured running a third car, or giving an identical Ferrari to another team to run.

“Giving this car to a good young driver or Valentino Rossi would be better than a team being four seconds behind,” he said.

Of course, as is clear from the above, since his first little diatribe some of the backmarkers got in Fernando Alonso’s way during the Canadian Grand Prix. And before Fernando could wave his hand, Lewis Hamilton and then Jenson Button had zipped by.

Luca, come here for a second. Just between you and me:

That’s racing, idiot! The unexpected is going to happen, especially at a circuit like Canada.

Oh, but wait. On such a short track, coming up on the slower cars wasn’t unexpected, or at least it shouldn’t have been. Maybe your engineers in the paddock should have been paying more attention to where all the cars were on the track. (And maybe less on the TV tuned into the World Cup.)

Whine, whine, whine. “Our race pace was good enough for victory.” Oh, “other cars on the grid-corrected,” you would have won, huh?


It strikes me as just way too easy for Ferrari — the biggest, baddest (this season, in more ways than one) team around — to take cheap shots at the Lotuses, Virgins and HRTs of the field. I suppose it is fortunate that that blown engine in the Sauber didn’t affect Fernando or Felipe Massa’s race, huh? How would Luca have handled that? (Reminder: Sauber has Ferrari engines.)

Look, I get that Ferrari’s down, and for a second year in a row. And I get that the savior, Alonso, has missed breaking points and crashed into walls, messing up his season. And I get that the teams that are beating Ferrari are powered either by a Mercedes engine or, heaven forbid, a Renault.

I also get — though apparently Luca doesn’t — that those are the teams where Ferrari should be turning its attention, not whining and crying about these new teams, which are struggling — make no mistake, they are — but also are closing in on the back of the “old teams.”

In other words: Ferrari should be picking on someone its own size. McLaren, let’s say. Or Red Bull. Or even Renault and Mercedes.

Rant done. But can I throw out one other item. We’re still waiting on a tire deal for 2011, and the latest word is that the bigger teams (and the FIA) are favoring Michelin, while the smaller teams want to work with Pirelli, which has offered a cheaper deal.

I wonder if that’s playing into Luca’s statements, at all.


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