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2014-09-09 08:53

TIME FOR CHANGE: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has accepted the harsh reality that the once-powerful Italian team is in a new era. Image: AFP // Giuseppe Cacace

MARANELLO, Italy - All signs continue to point towards a major change of direction at crisis-struck Ferrari.

Although long-time president Luca di Montezemolo played down the waves of speculation at Monza his likely successor Sergio Marchionne issued a series of highly critical statements about the 67-year-old during the 2014 Monza F1 GP weekend.

Italy's specialist Autosprint published an image of Marchionne being driven in a Maserati road car leaving the area of Montezemolo's office within the factory grounds at Maranello on Monday (Sept 8 2014).


Even the formerly combative Montezemolo now seems resigned to departing as Marchionne - chairman of Ferrari's 90% owner Fiat Chrysler - looks to pull back the current separation between the Ferrari and the Fiat-Chrysler empire.

Montezemolo reportedly told close associates, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper: "Ferrari is now American. That is the end of an era."

Also undergoing a major change of direction, albeit amid less headline-grabbing controversy, is the reigning Formula 1 champion team Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo has requested No.1 status for the rest of his 2014 title campaign against the dominant but warring Mercedes drivers; for now boss Christian Horner is unwilling to cede that.


But it is tough times for the team's reigning quadruple F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, said now to be seriously considering a big-money offer to lead the new McLaren-Honda campaign. In an interview with the German at Monza, F1's official website asked Vettel about the "impression" he gave at Spa-Francorchamps "that the team is no longer fully behind you".

Vettel denied that but the very same impression returned with force at Monza. In a friendly interview with Spanish TV immediately after the 2014 Italian GP Vettel reportedly said: "It seems that Spanish television sometimes has more faith in me than does my own team."

Red Bull official Helmut Marko played down the remark: "That was just the first emotion that came out of him. He was naturally disappointed that his team mate beat him, although in qualifying he was better than Ricciardo.

"I think it was a very normal reaction."

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