…everything stays the same at Maranello. There is a contract for the Brazilian driver and Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo says that this will be respected. There is no reason for anything to change. Unless… things change.
Montezemolo is still being tipped as the man most likely to be called upon when (rather than if) Silvio Berlusconi’s government finally collapses. In the course of the week, in addition to a string of legal actions against the Prime Minister, confidence in the Italian economy has taken a dive after the Italian parliament voted through a $67 billion austerity programme, with cuts in education, health care and the funding of regional governments. Pensions are being cut, government salaries frozen and taxes being increased. The hope is that the measures will stop Italy sliding into a debt crisis similar to that in Greece.
Italy has vast debts, amounting to a startling 120 per cent of the country’s annual gross domestic product and the finance minister Giulio Tremonti is insisting that the cuts are necessary to avoid the debt getting out of control. One of the primary problems is that the government is not collecting as much tax as it should be collecting, given the population as large numbers of people are failing to declare their income correctly. The country also suffers from not being competitive and the government has not done much to reform the system. Unemployment is high.
Montezemolo has a great reputation for getting things done and he has been carefully nurturing the concept that Italians must be united to solve the country’s problems. Although he says he does not want to go into politics, the signs are that he will. And what happens at Ferrari after that?
As previously reported, one of the ideas is to have Agnelli Family heir Lapo Elkann take over as chairman, with Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne keeping an eye on what is going on. That could lead to changes that would affect the racing team.
It may end up that nothing happens to the team for 2012 but Felipe Massa’s contract is up at the end of next year and it is highly unlikely that he will be retained again, based on the results he has achieved in the last two years.