Luca di Montezemolo worries Ferrari’s current woes are not a ‘short-term crisis’

Michelle Foster
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc retires from the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc retires from the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Three races into a season in which Ferrari have not featured on the podium, never mind won a race, former president Luca di Montezemolo has warned this is not a crisis that will be resolved in the short term.

Ferrari went into the 2023 promising their Tifosi a title tilt with an SF-23 that would be “unprecedented in terms of speed”. But to date they haven’t even made it onto the podium.

Off the pace at the Australian Grand Prix weekend where Carlos Sainz was fifth on the grid and Charles Leclerc P7, Ferrari failed to score a single point with the Spaniard penalised late in the race while Leclerc was off into the gravel on the opening lap.

Sainz was gutted to lose out on what would’ve been a fourth-placed finish, potentially a podium, had it not gone wrong for him at the second restart when he tagged Fernando Alonso.

But had he made it onto the podium that would’ve been because of the red flag bunching up the field, not his Ferrari’s pace as he was well behind Alonso when the race was neutralised.

Di Montezemolo admits seeing Ferrari not only failing to fight for wins but falling out of the top three hurts.

“It’s a knife in my wound,” quotes him as having told Piazzapulita on La7.

“Ferrari together with my family is the most important thing in my life. I have been around for 25 years in two periods.

“It’s painful for me, I’m sorry to see them like this.

“I don’t think it’s a short-term crisis, it’s a question of rebuilding and we need to bring together the best technicians”. recommends

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The Italian knows what’s required to build a successful Ferrari team, di Montezemolo putting together the dream team of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne.

That package won five World titles from 2000 to 2004, Schumacher’s first title ending the Scuderia’s 21-year draught.

When Schumacher retired at the end of 2006, Ferrari brought in Kimi Raikkonen with the Finn winning the 2007 title. That, still to this day, is Ferrari’s most recent success.

“I brought in Todt, Domenicali, Brawn and Byrne, Schumacher came later,” said di Montezemolo. “There was also a serious crisis at first, but a team was built.

“But even if you start bringing in some technicians of different nationalities, you also have to change the culture in the company in the areas where it is needed.”

The Italian had another go at Ferrari’s top brass, criticising Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna’s pre-season proclamation about a car of “unprecedented speed”.

“I found the triumphalist speeches in the presentation wrong,” said di Montezemolo, “I was expecting a car that evolved from last year.”

Ferrari are fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 26 points, 97 behind runaway championship leaders Red Bull.