Feb.20 (GMM) The Italian press has pointed the finger at Vitaly Petrov's "rubles" as Jarno Trulli races out of Formula One.
With Vitantonio Liuzzi replaced at HRT by Narain Karthikeyan, and veteran Trulli ousted at Caterham by Petrov, F1 history enters a new phase as Italy no longer has a single driver on the grid.
"If you look," said former Grand Prix winner Riccardo Patrese to La Stampa, "the drivers coming in now are from central America and the East."
The unsponsored Trulli, 37, said he still wants to race but also has his wine and hotel businesses to keep him busy.
"More than anything else, apart from the results, I am proud to have been able to fulfil my dream of racing in F1 for many years and stay on the grid on my own power, without anybody's help," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Switzerland's Blick newspaper points out that no fewer than 81 Italian drivers have raced in the modern F1 championship.
And Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio reminded that in 1989, no fewer than 16 drivers in the field were Italian.
Drivers coming in now are from central America and the East
Some Italian fans are pointing the finger at Ferrari, annoyed that the famous marque has not signed a full-time Italian race driver for many years.
And why Felipe Massa? "Because we believe in him," an official of the Maranello based team is quoted by Spain's Marca newspaper.
"It's not enough to have an Italian passport to drive for Ferrari," he added.