Montezemolo explains reasons for Ferrari malaise

0713-0088Ferrari and FIAT President Luca di Montezemolo has taken the unprecedented step of listing a number of his reasons why his team are not at the front of the grid in 2009.

The Italian, who is widely credited with leading the team’s renaissance from the mid-1990s onwards, principally blamed the rules, complacency and KERS for the problems his team are suffering.

In an interview with the BBC, Montezemolo firstly looked at the rules.

“We have seen very badly written rules. They are what I call grey rules, with different interpretations.

“And if teams that have won the last three world championships, like Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, and important team and car manufacturers like BMW and even Red Bull, have one interpretation, it means that at least the rules are not clear.

So, very unclear rules means different interpretations, which means different cars in the field.”

He went on to discuss the advent of KERS, with which his team has persisted despite doubts over its reliability and usefulness.

“It represents a lot of money. It represents something that has been introduced to have a link between F1 and advanced research for road cars in terms of energy, and in terms of green [technology] and in terms of innovation.

“We have done the Kers immediately, even if it means a lot of money, safety, and reliability and it means to project a completely different car – as McLaren have done and as a lot of other teams have done.

“But we have been surprised to see Kers was just a suggestion, not a [requirement]. And today we are facing a very strange and in my opinion not positive situation.”

Montezemolo linked the use of KERS to the discrepancy he sees between the 2009 competitors.

“We have three different F1 on the grid – we have F1 competition cars with Kers, F1 competition between cars with no Kers and a different floor, and third competitors with no Kers and no floor.

“This is bad, and it is one of the reasons why unfortunately we are not competitive and we are forced to invest time, and extra money in such a difficult moment, to do a heavy modification to our car.

Finally, Montezemolo laid some blame at the door of the team itself. He reinforced the popular perception that Ferrari’s woes are connected with its late-season championship challenge in 2008 and the ensuing drastic rule changes, which precluded a linear approach to 2009.

“Another reason is that we have started to work in a hard way to the new car late,” said Montezemolo.

“And this was a pity, particularly in a year in which the rules have been completely new. It is not, in other words, an evolution of last year’s car, and this is a second reason why we have not been competitive.

“And the last reason is that I feel inside the team there has been a little bit too much of a presumptuous approach.

“Sometimes to put the head down in the ground is useful to looking ahead, but I must say that sometimes having your whole head, feet, everything in the ground, even more underground, is better.”

Montezemolo’s outburst will come as no surprise to the paddock. He is thought to be taking more interest in the management of the team this season, having withdrawn from the front line while the team were enjoying success.