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Montezemolo still has Abu Dhabi nightmares

ESPNF1 Staff
January 14, 2011 « Head Korean GP official ousted by board | »
Luca di Montezemolo turned up at Ferrari's Wroom event on Friday © Getty Images

Luca di Montezemolo says Ferrari has learned from the mistakes it made in 2010, but admitted he is still disturbed by the way his team lost the championship.

Fernando Alonso's chances of winning the title were dashed at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when a botched tyre strategy dropped him down the field. Since the incident Ferrari has rearranged its technical staff, bringing Pat Fry in to replace head race engineer Chris Dyer.

"Believe me, I often still wake up at night thinking of the race in Abu Dhabi, so it goes without saying that we must absolutely look to the future," he said at Ferrari's media event Wrooom. "We are working very hard on the new car. As [team principal Stefano]Domenicali and I told you back in December, there has been no revolution within our organisation, just a few adjustments aimed at improving the way the team is run."

However, Ferrari has consistently pointed out that its 2010 defeat was also a result of a slump in form during the first half of the season. Montezemolo said the team was entirely focused on making a better start to the championship this year.

"We must make a good start, both in terms of reliability and, above all, on the performance front," he added. "Last year, we lost the championship in a first half that found us failing to live up to our expectations. I think this will be a very interesting championship: there are a few question marks regarding the new rules and therefore we will have to wait and see how competitive are our rivals."

On Thursday Alonso named ex-Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher as his toughest competitor in 2011, but Montezemolo is expecting a close fight between all the drivers at the top teams.

"I think we must wait for the first few races, but these tales are good for the media and the fans," he said. "Alonso says Michael, Felipe says Hamilton, maybe Michael will favour Vettel, so there's nothing new under the sun! But, Michael is still close to my heart and part of Ferrari's history and I have no doubt he is still a fantastic driver. His team-mate out-paced him last year so, sure, there's also Rosberg. In fact, I expect three teams, maybe even four to be fighting it out at the top in 2011. Of the new generation of drivers, he is in there as indeed is Vettel. But the hierarchy will be established on the stopwatch.

He added: "Having said that, one problem we don't have is on the driver front: I know who is the best in the world, but I'm not saying."