Luca Badoer has hit out at the negative press coverage directed at him during his tenure in the Ferrari race seat – claiming that it influenced the Italian team’s decision to drop him after only two races.
Ferrari’s long-term test driver returned to Formula One at the European Grand Prix in place of the injured Felipe Massa. However the Italian failed to shine in both Valencia and Spa, circulating at the back of the field. This led to a barrage of criticism from members of the Formula One media who questioned Badoer’s ability to be competitive, especially with a lack of testing opportunities.
As a result, Badoer insists that Ferrari would have allowed him to race in next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, had it not been for the influence that the press had on the team’s decision.
“Those who write don’t understand how much harm they can cause,” Badoer was quoted as saying by Gazzetta Sportiva. “The media played a fundamental role in the decision to replace me.”
The Italian is adamant that he could have continued to improve had Ferrari allowed him to race in Monza and claims that he has no regrets in reflection of his time as Ferrari’s race driver.
“I realised my dream,” Badoer explained. “I will always be able to tell my kids I raced two races for Ferrari. Maranello had faith in me. I only have one regret – from the third grand prix I would have done better.
“There was no agreement on how many races I would do. I thought I had time to improve. And these rules stop a reserve driver from testing and make him a victim – it happens only in Formula 1.”
Badoer also admitted that his replacement, Giancarlo Fisichella, will likely fare better than him in the Ferrari F60.
“Giancarlo is a quick driver,” he said. “I am happy for him, he has achieved his dream of driving a Ferrari and he will do better than me because he has been racing for years in F1 and knows the 2009 cars well. He can quickly aim for results.”
In the wake of Ferrari’s announcement, the team also revealed that Fisichella would remain at Ferrari for 2010, as the official test and reserve driver. Despite this, Badoer says that he expects to also remain with the team next year, in some capacity.
“My intention is to stay,” he said. “I am finished with races but my relationship with Ferrari continues.”