Montezemolo: no time for transition

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said on Monday there was no question of a year of transition for the Formula One team despite the retirement of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher and several key technical staff

Montezemolo: no time for transition

"This year is not about transition or anything else but is about winning the world championship," Montezemolo told reporters before testing of the new F2007 racing car on the team's Fiorano track.

"The challengers have changed over the years but Ferrari is always the team to beat," he added.

As well as losing the driving skills of Schumacher, Ferrari will be without technical director Ross Brawn, who is taking a sabbatical while team boss Jean Todt has moved up to become general manager of the company.

Mario Almondo becomes technical director with Stefano Domenicali taking on the role of sporting director while Aldo Costa and Gilles Simon have replaced Paolo Martinelli and Rory Byrne as heads of the chassis and engine teams.

Montezemolo defended the decision to promote from within rather than bring in new faces.

"If we had brought in people from outside we would have risked two errors. Firstly you never know how people will fit in and secondly you risk de-motivating your staff who hope to progress.

"We made the right choices and I hope that will be confirmed by the results," said the Ferrari chief.

Montezemolo said he was confident the pairing of 25-year-old Brazilian Felipe Massa and 27-year-old Finn Kimi Raikkonen would be able to deliver victories in the new season, which start in Australia on March 18.

"We had our eye on Kimi since Magny Cours in 2002 and Michael (Schumacher) agreed with us that he was the best solution. We have two fast young drivers and I am sure that Kimi will have a long history with us," said Montezemolo.

"I hope Kimi can do really well - he is at just the right age and at the right stage in his career to win. He has come to Ferrari at just the right moment and I am sure we will give him the right conditions to win," he said.

Massa is entering his second season as a Ferrari driver after picking up two victories and finishing third in last year's championship.

"He had a strong first season and showed real improvement in the races. The two drivers we have will, as always, start as equals and in the knowledge that they are not racing for themselves but for our team," added Montezemolo.

Ferrari struggled at the start of last season after problems with the car left them well off the pace in the opening races and Montezemolo said it was vital that the car should be competitive from the outset.

"To win the world championship we need reliability, reliability and reliability. It was the absence of reliability at the start of last season that cost us the championship. This time we need reliability right from the first race," he said.

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