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Ferrari wants third car option in 2010

Ferrari wants third car option in 2010 - F1 | ITV Sport

Ferrari wants third car option in 2010

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 12:01

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that the Italian squad is pushing for teams to run three cars in the 2010 season.

On the same day that Michael Schumacher confirmed he had been forced to cancel his Formula 1 comeback plans with the team because of a neck injury, Montezemolo gave an interview to Italian newspaper La Stampa in which he elaborated on the reasons for his original decision to draft in the 40-year-old legend.

Describing the seven-time world champion as still having the racing abilities from “another planet”, the Ferrari president said he would also have been happy to see Schumacher return in 2010 should Ferrari get its wish and three-car teams be allowed.

Asked why he had turned to the retired Schumacher to stand in for the injured Felipe Massa, Montezemolo replied: “Well we're talking about Michael Schumacher.

“He is 40 years old, but he's still from another planet.

“I prefer the champion, even if matured, to the mediocre driver, even if he's young. Our circus [sport] needed some great input.

“We're continuing to fight until every team has the right to start with three cars in the next season (and one I'd have handed over to Michael with pleasure)."

Montezemolo also appeared to reignite Ferrari’s criticism of the quality of new independent teams entering the sport, saying he would always prefer three cars from the same manufacturer to a trio of “whatevers”.

“I prefer three McLaren and three Renault to three 'whatevers'," he added. "With BMW gone, there's not much to say but lots to do.”

Schumacher’s sensational announcement two weeks ago that, pending the successful passing of fitness tests, he would come out of retirement for the final seven races of the season had created a huge surge of excitement both inside and outside of the sport ahead of next week’s European Grand Prix.

However after medical checks on Monday evening showed the German’s neck, which he injured in a motorcycle accident in February, would not withstand the intense strain put on it by a return to F1 competition, Montezemolo admits he is disappointed the dream comeback won’t be realised – but conceded Schumacher simply couldn’t put his long-term health at risk.

“They [doctors] found something that still didn't work. So it's better not to insist,” he said.

“We wouldn't do that at all. He had the small motorcycle accident in February and on the first laps at Mugello he felt that something was wrong. You shouldn't joke with your health.”

And showing how determined Schumacher was to return to the race track, Montezemolo added: “He answered with such an enthusiasm to my request; the enthusiasm of a boy and not of a retired champion.

“He lost four kilos; same weight as in October 2006 when he raced for the last time in Brazil. You can imagine how he took it.”

Schumacher's decision has led Ferrari to turn to long-serving test driver Luca Badoer to fill in for Massa for at least the Valencia race.

Montezemolo says Badoer, who has been at the team 11 years without previously competing in a race, has now been handed a golden chance to prove himself in a competitive environment.

"Faith in Luca Badoer, who's one of us," he said.

"Destiny has given him a unique possibility now he has to make the best out of it. We will support him with all we've got."
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