Friday in Monaco is traditionally a rest day, with practice taking place on Thursday and Saturday. However, the competitive nature of Formula 1 means that in the modern era, today has been pretty much a normal working one for all the teams, albeit...
Friday in Monaco is traditionally a rest day, with practice taking place on Thursday and Saturday. However, the competitive nature of Formula 1 means that in the modern era, today has been pretty much a normal working one for all the teams, albeit with slightly less pressure. For the drivers it is a time to relax a bit and fulfil obligations for sponsors, who always bring their most important guests to this prestigious race.
Making the most of the opportunity to talk to people without the background noise of racing engines was Luca di Montezemolo. The Ferrari President made his first visit of the 2003 season to a grand prix today, arriving in the Principality around noon. He arrived in the paddock sitting on the back of a scooter; the best way to beat the traffic here.
Montezemolo naturally went to meet the team personnel, congratulating them on yesterday's performance which saw Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello set the two fastest times in the first qualifying session. The President then met Sir Christopher Gent, the President and CEO of team sponsor Vodafone.
He next had separate meetings with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, with whom he has always enjoyed the best of relationships. The subject of their discussions consisted of a frank exchange of views on the future of the sport of Formula 1. Speaking to some of the F1 media later in the day, Montezemolo singled out a couple of concerns over the new sporting regulations.
"It seems to go against accepted practice that the cars now spend so much time in parc ferme," he began. "For reasons of competitiveness and especially for safety, the mechanics should be allowed to do their work." Montezemolo also questioned the new points system. "Schumacher has won three races and yet Raikkonen still leads the championship even though he has only won one. In my opinion, winning in such a tough sport should carry a bigger reward."
Asked for a thought on the season so far for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the President described it as "positive." He was particularly pleased that the transition from F2002 to F2003-GA had gone smoothly. "The new car has always won, has always taken pole and has always set the race fastest lap," he pointed out.
Looking at the new rules in more general terms; rules which have been seen in some areas as designed to combat Ferrari's supremacy or "the boring formula" as it was known, Montezemolo was ironic when making his point. "For sure there has been plenty of spectacle this year and we did the right thing in not winning to create more interest," he quipped. "But now, if you will permit me, our objective is to make the races boring again!"