Italian papers have a pop at Ferrari

Italy has not taken kindly to the downturn in fortunes for the previously all-conquering Ferrari team. Following their worst race of the season in the Hungarian Grand Prix, the national media delighted in finding creative ways to criticise the marque.

Italian papers have a pop at Ferrari

Michael Schumacher was eighth in Budapest, and without a very good excuse for it. Rubens Barrichello crashed out at high speed with a curious mechanical failure that was untypical of the famously reliable Ferrari cars.

"Let's tell the truth: it was painful," cried the daily La Repubblica in a front-page editorial. "We saw Barrichello losing the wheel and crashing as if he were driving a Trabant. And Schumacher was paddling as if he were shipwrecked"

"Ferrari, it can't get any worse," said La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The Ferrari team has taken a major, humiliating blow, right on the circuit that last year celebrated their prowess."

The Gazetto may be reminded of Budapest 1999, when Ferrari, without the injured Schumacher, had one of their most disastrous showings ever, Mika Salo qualifying 18th. The team thus began a four-race win drought, but still won the constructors' title.

Italy's leading newspaper Corriere della Sera wrote: "Thank God for (Fernando) Alonso. He took victory and precious points away from Raikkonen and Montoya letting Schumacher stay in the lead in the Drivers' Championship."

"The best squad in the world has the men to react. Let's just hope now that they can find the car," added Corriere, a little more helpfully.

"They'll tell us it was the tyres...well, just go to the tyre man and change them. They'll tell us others have made enormous progress but not why Ferrari are resembling a bus," said La Repubblica.

Ferrari is of course contractually bound to use Bridgestone products this season. These are not expected to be the tyre of choice in the next two rounds, but may yet be stronger than Michelin in Japan. Intensive testing will begin once again this week, as the summer testing ban is now over.

"Ferrari is nowhere, Schumacher never in the race," said the TuttoSport newspaper. "The Ferrari team went to Budapest knowing they needed to play defence, but they looked like they went on the ring like a worn-out boxer. Schumacher being lapped by Alonso was like an open-handed slap on a swollen cheek."

The next race is at Monza, and it is not unthinkable that the Ferraris may be greeted with boos and jeers by their 'loyal' home fans. There can be no better place for the Scuderia to bounce back to form.

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