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Formula 1: Schumi comeback thanks to Montezemolo

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B During the official presentation, not a word was said about Michael Schumacher. Luca di Montezemolo directed it. Questions were not allowed until later, during the official press conference. And then it came from an ambush, the question the president would have wanted to avoid. The allusion to the driver who won five world titles with the Scuderia.

'Schumacher,' says Montezemolo, looking down, 'is now driving for a different team. He is one of many opponents.' Ferrari and Schumi, that was once upon a time. 'Let's look to the future'. It sounded like a request.

Montezemolo kindled fire at Schumacher

But the highest-ranking Ferrari employee couldn't get away with it that easily. Montezemolo wanted at least a little laurel for himself. 'I only rekindled his fire with my offer to Schumacher to replace the injured Massa.' In other words: Without me, Schumacher would not be in an Mercedes sit. That is exactly the point that bothers the Ferrari boss.

You can tell from small marginal notes like this: 'If we had been allowed to use a third car, Schumacher would now drive for us.' It gets worse. The renegade ex-champion is already making commercials for his new employer, quite unabashedly in a red Mercedes SLS that is for Ferrari is definitely an opponent on the street, even if nobody in Maranello sees it that way. 'If Michael were to drive our third car,' says Montezemolo about the challenge from Stuttgart, 'then the red car in the commercial would be a Ferrari and not a Mercedes.'

Ferrari not with Mercedes to compare

That sounds like hurt pride. After the retirement of Honda, BMW and Toyota and the partial withdrawal of Renault, Mercedes is the last real manufacturer to measure up to Ferrari on the race track, but since Schumacher's change of front, the judgment has been clouded by emotions. You don't really want to be on a par with the Swabians.

'I'm happy that Mercedes is even more committed to Formula 1,' asserts Montezemolo, 'and it's good that it isthere is a team called Mercedes. But with all due respect for Mercedes, we cannot be compared with one another. Ferrari is in Formula 1 without a break in its 61st year. We built up our team with our own resources and did not take over another team. '

Massa sticks to Schumacher

Felipe Massa sees the story more relaxed as his top boss. When someone brings up the subject of loyalty in the hope that the Brazilian might criticize his former colleague for deserting, he has come to the wrong address with Massa: 'Michael is a prime example of loyalty. He couldn't drive the Ferrari because the back of his neck didn't play along, and now that he's healthy again, there is no space with us. That's why he drives elsewhere. '

Obviously there is still an unresolved bill. Ferrari will have to settle it on the racetrack. This is another reason why it is so important for Ferrari to get back on the winning road.

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