In a recent interview (excerpts from which you can read below), Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo pointed to some perceived inconsistencies in rulings made by FIA officials this season and called for "strong changes." Among those controversies was a drive-through penalty handed to Felipe Massa at the season-closing Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend, his last for the Scuderia. Massa was reprimanded for cutting across the white line that marks the exit from the pit lane, the penalty for which dropped him from fourth place in the race to seventh, and cost Ferrari its second place in the final standings for the constructors' championship – and with it a good $10 million in prize money. Montezemolo characterized the penalty as "disproportionate and unjust".
The Ferrari chief also pointed to penalties handed to Mercedes as either too harsh or not harsh enough, calling for greater consistency in FIA rulings and implying that more permanent race stewards be appointed instead of alternating race to race.
As for his own team, Montezemolo is looking forward to Kimi Raikkonen's return and hopes his team can give both him and Fernando Alonso – who has finished second to Sebastian Vettel three out of the past four seasons – a better car that can beat the Red Bull next season.
Maranello, 26 November –Luca di Montezemolo gives an overview of the Formula 1 season that's just ended. At 8pm tonight (CET,) an interview the Ferrari President gave to RAI Uno's reporter Marco Franzelli will be broadcast. Here are a few samples of what he had to say, divided into the different topics.
"Definitely a year to forget, a disappointing season. There were three main reasons and they're clearly marked in my mind. The first was an inability to develop the car in the second half of the season: I want explanations as to why, because if we don't understand the reasons, then that's not good. The second is the tyres, although I'm not looking to make excuses. We built a car to work with certain tyres, with which we proved to be very competitive. Then the tyres were changed, definitely proving to be a disadvantage for us and an advantage for others. Furthermore, there was an interpretation of the rules from one team, which one has to say was a bit strange and which incurred a punishment that, to say the least, had a touch of the Pontius Pilate about it.
"As for the first reason, we will discuss that among ourselves, regarding the second, we will talk about it in the most suitable places.
"Finally, we missed Massa's points for the Constructors' championship. Now we must find out exactly what happened this year and work better towards the next one."
Little political weight?
"This story has been doing the rounds since I worked with Enzo Ferrari in the Seventies. We have reached an agreement with Ecclestone and the FIA and we are the only team with the right of veto: more political weight than that is impossible! We are aware of our strength in Formula 1, which without us, would be completely different. Having said that, it's true that weight also comes from having a winning car and that was lacking. The rest is all gossip."
Massa's penalty in Interlagos
"I think it was disproportionate and unjust, as was Hamilton's. If Felipe had stayed in fourth place, we would have been second in the Constructors' championship. Every so often, the gentlemen who come to the races to act as Stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic. One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money and for the drivers who risk their lives."
"He is right to be proud of second place: he had a great season. We must give him a quicker car and he will get the most out of it. Eight out of ten, instead of ten? My eight is worth a ten because it's a score I give as an incentive: I hope to give it him next year and to give an eight, at least, to the team. For next year I would like to present him with a car that's even better than Red Bull. Let's not forget we know how to do that: one only has to think of the five year period from 2000 to 2004 and the wins in 2007 and 2008. I thank him for all his efforts and the determination he showed this year and for the fact he would have been prepared to let Massa get onto the podium last Sunday back in Brazil, as it testifies to the nice atmosphere in our team.
"Newey isn't his opponent: there are the drivers, starting with Vettel, then Hamilton and Rosberg, who has improved a lot, and there's Raikkonen who will be trying to win, which will give us a boost and should bring the points we were missing this year."
The Alonso-Raikkonen pairing
"Whoever has the honour and responsibility of driving for Ferrari must think of the team first and foremost and not of himself. None of our drivers could ever hurt the other one. Alonso is maybe the strongest race driver I've ever met, even if it is always difficult to make comparisons with the past. We have taken Raikkonen back for his experience, for what he has done over the past two years and because he is much loved inside and outside the team. I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm that greeted the news of his return, again both internally and externally. I am sure they will help one another."
"Better than Senna? Ecclestone says what suits him but there is no doubt he is a great driver. He is a serious young man who has won a lot and therefore he deserves respect. I congratulate him and Red Bull. Vettel at Ferrari? Who knows what the future holds? But for now, drivers are definitely not a problem for us."
"Our aim is to build a car capable of winning. We have carried out a very extensive reorganisation and highly regarded engineers such as Allison have joined us or returned to us. There will be the new regulations which will give more importance to some areas, such as the engine, where we are very competent. We have good cause to be optimistic and all the ingredients to win are in place. We have come within a whisker of success too often and now we must win, I just hope there are no unclear aspects that could have an influence on things. Avoiding mistakes? That will apply to everyone."
Todt and Ecclestone
"Todt will be reconfirmed and I expect strong changes, because for too many years the Federation has always been the same and, as in everything, a change is required. Having said that, a strong sporting authority is always a priority for Ferrari. Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I'm happy he still has the desire to do so..."