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Briatore: Montezemolo won’t leave Ferrari

September 5, 2014

MONZA, Italy (AP) — Former Renault manager Flavio Briatore is confident longtime Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is not set to abandon the famous Italian team.

The Formula One paddock in Italy was rife with reports that the 67-year-old Montezemolo is set to quit Ferrari to become chief executive of Italy’s national airline Alitalia.

“They are lies, an incredible fabrication,” Briatore said on his arrival at Monza on Friday to watch practice ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. “I speak to him a lot. There’s no truth to the matter at the moment.

“In the last 10 years Ferrari has won more than anyone under Luca’s extraordinary management. He’s made available all imaginable funds, if then the team doesn’t do well it’s another problem. Ferrari’s image has never been so high, for road cars too. Montezemolo will come to Monza for many more years.”

Montezemolo first joined the Italian team in 1973 as Enzo Ferrari’s assistant, and has been president for nearly 23 years.

Ferrari has seen a slump in results in recent years and last won the constructors title in 2008, while it last claimed the drivers’ championship the previous year, when Kimi Raikkonen emerged triumphant.

Briatore also dismissed speculation Alonso is set to leave Ferrari, saying “he’s been at Ferrari for five years and it’s been five years that people have been talking about his future.”

During his time at F1, Briatore pushed for the sport to deliver more spectacle and at Monza he ridiculed recent rule changes and in particular the switch to the new — quieter — V6 engines.

“I’m too much of a genius to be a Formula One consultant, they don’t deserve me,” Briatore said. “Let them make a mess of it themselves.

“In the past the adoption of these engines would never have happened. Then the engineers took control and decided that it’s “formula no noise.” It’s a real suicide for the sport.”

Briatore also gave his opinion on the intense rivalry between championship leader Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, which intensified after a collision between the two at the Begian Grand Prix.

Rosberg finished second at Spa to extend his lead to 29 points over Hamilton, who forced to retire after the German drove into him on the second lap.

“Hamilton and Rosberg are the only ones who are bringing this Formula One to life,” Briatore said. “If they were more disciplined no one would be able to keep in touch with them, looking at Mercedes’ technical advantage. You can’t have avoidable incidents which put other people’s work at risk, but they are good enough to fight without accidents.

“But for me there has to always be a first driver and a second. One wins the championship and the other helps with the constructors title. After three or four races you realize who is the first, the one with more points. It should be Rosberg in this case.”

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