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Ferrari: Horner as F1 CEO? Ha!

2013-11-28 09:22

BERNIE’S HEIR TO F1? Bernie Ecclestone tips Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner (above). Ferrari however has laughed off the suggestion. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has dismissed as a joke the suggestion that Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner could replace Bernie Ecclestone as F1's chief executive officer.

Ecclestone (83) is facing legal challenges over a 2005 business deal. He said at the 2013 Brazil GP that he would like Horner to take over as the sport's CEO.

'HE ENJOYS MAKING JOKES'

Ecclestone said: "Christian would be ideal."

Horner, who has led Red Bull and driver Sebastian Vettel to four successive Constructors' and Drivers' Championships, played down suggestion that he would replace Ecclestone

Montezemolo said: "Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he enjoys making jokes and I'm happy he still has the desire to do so."

FERRARI FAILURE

Montezemolo addressed Ferrari's failures in the 2013 season that saw the sport's oldest and most successful team finish third in a championship dominated by Red Bull.

He denied that Ferrari had lost any of its political clout, highlighting that it had a historic right of veto.
"More political weight than that is impossible," he said on the Ferrari website.

Montezemolo said 2013 had been "a year to forget" and demanded answers as to why the team had failed to develop its cars in the second half of the season when Vettel won a record nine races in a row.

He criticised the Interlagos race stewards for a drive-through penalty, imposed on Ferrari's departing driver Felipe Massa, that cost the team a chance to leapfrog Mercedes in the championship.

Montezemolo said: "Every so often the gentlemen who come to the races to act as stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic.

"One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money and for the drivers who risk their lives."

Massa was penalised for crossing a white line at the pits-lane entry with all four wheels, a transgression that drivers were warned about before the race by the sport's governing body.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn said that his drivers had reported Massa was consistently breaking the rules.

KIMI RETURNS

Montezemolo hailed Fernando Alonso, overall Drivers' Championship runner-up, for a great season but only gave him eight out of 10 rather than a maximum score. Alonso will be partnered with Kimi Raikkonen in 2014.

Montezemolo warned both drivers that the team always came first, however, even if double champion Alonso was possibly the strongest racer he had ever met.

Montezemolo said: "None of our drivers could ever hurt the other. I am sure they will help one another."

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