Interview: Montezemolo Blasts Qualifying

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo blasted Formula One's 'ridiculous' qualifying system on Sunday while expressing confidence that his misfiring Champions were back on the winning track

Interview: Montezemolo Blasts Qualifying

"Sometimes I laugh because you remember (how people said) 'Oh, we have to change the rules because Ferrari's competitivity can destroy Formula One'," he told Reuters at the San Marino Grand Prix.

"The rules are worse than before, the interest is less than before and this has nothing to do with Ferrari domination.

"I read the newspaper on Sunday morning without knowing who is on pole position. This is ridiculous," he said.

"We have to look ahead, trying to avoid too many divisions and go back with qualifying with all the cars together without hoping that maybe one car is under the rain while another is without rain.

"I don't like to play football in the rain with tennis shoes."

Ferrari's seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher, third fastest in Saturday's first session, qualified 13th on Sunday after locking up and skidding wide on a damp track.

The starting grid is decided on times aggregated from the two sessions with the new Sunday morning qualifying increasingly disliked by broadcasters and teams.

Schumacher has made his worst start to a season after scoring just two points in three races while Ferrari, winners of 15 of the 18 races last year, arrived at a circuit named after founder Enzo and son Dino with 10 points to Championship leaders Renault's 36.

Renault won in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain.

Ferrari Recovering

Montezemolo said he believed Ferrari, constructors' Champions for the past six years, had put their early season problems behind them and would again be a force to be reckoned with.

"Ferrari is back, is competitive and is strong so we will look ahead with optimism," he said.

"You know it's normal, even human, that after six years you can have a moment, if it is a moment, of less competitivity.

"I have to make my compliments to Renault because they've done three good races but I will never forget that Ferrari has done six long seasons one after the other.

"Ferrari is again very, very competitive and I think in the next races in the season Ferrari will play a crucial role again," added Montezemolo.

Imola is normally a temple to Ferrari, with rows of red-shirted fans waving flags. Schumacher has won there five times in the last six years but there have been plenty of empty seats this time.

Montezemolo criticised the state of Formula One at last year's Italian Grand Prix at Monza and he said he had not changed his position.

"I criticised the rules, the qualifying, the price of the tickets and I think that today is the same situation," he said.

"My son can fly with a girlfriend to the Caribbean for half the price of a weekend with one car racing on Saturday. I said in Monza this is ridiculous and it still is."

At Monza, Montezemolo also called for teams to get a far greater slice of Formula One's revenues.

Since then Ferrari have joined commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the governing FIA in extending unilaterally the sport's existing commercial agreement from the end of 2007 to 2012.

They have been shunned by other manufacturers planning their own series from 2008 and rival teams who want an agreement to restrict testing during the season.

"What I said in Monza is exactly the same today, I said that we needed a bigger cake for the teams and we have found an agreement with Bernie regarding the money," said Montezemolo.

"I hope that everybody else can do the same."

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