Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo (right)

Some racing teams are just that – racing teams – and nothing more. Ferrari, however, serves as a national symbol. When things are going well, it serves them as such. But when things go badly... as you can see from this story, people in high places can turn on them rather quickly.

Reports surrounding the condemnation of Ferrari's unfortunate performance in this past weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the team lost the title that seemed to be theirs for the taking, are running rampant around Italy. Some cabinet ministers are even calling on Ferrari chief Luca Cordero di Montezemolo to resign.

The calls, which were denounced by Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne among others, seem to lead further credence to longstanding rumors that Montezemolo could go into politics. A popular and influential national figure, Montezemolo is descended from Italian aristocracy whose family tree includes admirals, generals and cardinals. A former head of business lobby group Confindustria and of the Italian Olympic Committee, Montezemolo recently stepped down as chairman of the Fiat group, fueling speculation of his imminent move into politics.

The latest reports place Montezemolo leading a coalition in opposition to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose moral credibility has come into question of late and from whose cabinet the calls for Montezemolo's resignation have reportedly emanated.

[Source: The Canadian Press | Image: Tiziani Fabi/AFP/Getty]