Luca di Montezemolo has hit back at suggestions he was ousted as Ferrari president because of the Italian team's struggles. "A lack of results?" the 67-year-old, who was replaced by Fiat's Sergio Marchionne on Monday, reportedly told Italian television Rai on Wednesday.
"Remember that since 1999 we won 14 titles in 15 years. Fortunately or unfortunately, sport is not an exact science, and in formula one there are cycles. Ours was very long. In the last years we are the team that won the most. In 2008 and in 2010 and 2012 we lost the championship in the last race. The most disappointing was the last one, but that's sport."
"Renault had its cycle for two years, we're coming out of Red Bull's and into Mercedes'. Now Ferrari opens a new cycle with a lot of work and investment, taking into account that today's cars are hybrids," he said.
Montezemolo said the most disappointing thing about his departure was the manner in which it took place. "I've always had a very strong relationship with the Agnelli family," he said, "and I think I did something important in 2004, when I agreed to be chairman of Fiat in extremely dramatic circumstances."
"Perhaps a 'thank you' in the least would have been expected. I do not hide that I was not very pleased about how, but it is part of life and it is right that it is the owner who can make decisions," Montezemolo added.
He explained that his removal as president was related to parent group Fiat-Chrysler's debut on the New York stock exchange. "Everything happened a little fast in relation to the listing of Fiat-Chrysler on the American stock exchange," said Montezemolo, "which happened two days ago. There was a need to have Ferrari in a large group and I think this accelerated time a little."
Finally, Montezemolo commented on the accident suffered recently by the critically injured Jules Bianchi. "We have made tremendous progress with safety. Unfortunately some accidents still happen as was the case with Jules Bianchi, our boy, but the tractor should not have been there," he said. (GMM)