A turning point to tackle with a knife between the teeth
Maranello, 29 July – “The Ferrari I saw in yesterday’s race doesn’t sit well with me.” President Montezemolo was very clear when, early in the morning, he opened the meeting with Stefano Domenicali and the Scuderia engineers, the day after a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix, especially on the performance front. The President asked for an immediate upping of the tempo, right from Spa, to start being a contender for victory again, as had been the case up to the Canadian Grand Prix.
As usual, Montezemolo did not mince his words when it came to asking the team to step up a gear. Each one of the engineers present received a “gift” of a knife, along with an invitation – metaphorical up to a point – to put it between their teeth when thinking how to tackle the second half of the season.
This is definitely not the time to start arguing over who was responsible for this or that decision, partly because everything is still possible with nine Grands Prix to go. The points are available and so is the potential to score enough of them to win. Montezemolo is doing his utmost to ensure that the team has all the support and resources it needs, starting with the announcement that James Allison, formerly with Lotus, will join the Maranello team, starting work already on 1st September. However, there is a need to close ranks, without giving in to rash outbursts that, while understandable in the immediate aftermath of a bad result, are no use to anyone.
That was a reference to the latest comments from Fernando Alonso, which did not go down well with Montezemolo, nor with anyone in the team. So, when Montezemolo called the Spaniard this morning to wish him a happy birthday, he also tweaked his ear, reminding him that, “all the great champions who have driven for Ferrari have always been asked to put the interests of the team above their own. This is the moment to stay calm, avoid polemics and show humility and determination in making one’s own contribution, standing alongside the team and its people both at the track and outside it.”
Montezemolo also attended the technical analysis, which went into every detail, leaving no stone unturned, including the subject of the introduction of the new tyres over the course of the last two races, a variable that definitely did not suit the Ferrari. Pirelli’s choice contributed to artificially altering the hierarchy in the field, something that has not pleased the President or the men of the Scuderia. This topic will be the subject of further debate in the near future.