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Montezemola exit story flying at Monza

2014-09-06 14:25

ON WAY OUT? Rumours are running wild that Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo (above) will step down as president. Image: AFP

MONZA, Italy - Rumours are gathering steam by the hour that Luca di Montezemolo's regular visit to Monza on Saturday will be his last as Ferrari president.

Germany's Bild newspaper said the Italian was at loggerheads with officials over key policy directions.

Italy's Autosprint reports that he looks set to be accompanied to the Italian GP here for qualifying by Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat and Chrysler chief who is tipped as Montezemolo's successor

JUST LIES?

Initially on Friday (Sept 5 2014) the visiting Flavio Briatore - a guest this weekend of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone - played down the Montezemolo rumours as "lies".

But he then had to acknowledge that the speculation was echoing around the paddock with "increasing insistence". He was quoted by Autosprint as saying:

"We are used to identifying Montezemolo with Ferrari so it would be a big change, but it's not as though if Montezemolo leaves Maranello, Ferrari will simply get better. If he really is leaving, I think it will be his choice and for his own personal reasons.

"Marchionne in his place? I don't know how it can be done when he is already working 22 hours a day.”

Meanwhile, after it emerged recently that Briatore would chair a new “popularity working group” in F1, the former Renault chief on Friday said reports of his return to the grid were ultimately wide of the mark.

"I'm too much of a genius to be an F1 consultant," he smiled.  "They don't deserve me. Let them make a mess of it themselves."

Finally, Briatore commented on speculation surrounding his protege Fernando Alonso's future as he was asked if the Spaniard should stick with Ferrari or move elsewhere.

"I don't know, I don't know," he was quoted as saying by Spanish daily AS. "I really don't know," he insisted, when pressed.  "It's true, I am not clear what he should do. He wants to win and he must win."

He then aimed a barb at the Maranello team, amid rumours Ferrari is setting up the 2016 entrant Haas as a sort of Ferrari ‘B team’.

"It's not necessary," Briatore said, "as the Ferrari we see is already 'Ferrari B'."

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