x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

'Circus' track irks Ferrari

The Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo pours scorn on the Singapore Grand Prix track and use of a safety car.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa speeds away after the pit crew failed to remove the fuel hose during a pit stop at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa speeds away after the pit crew failed to remove the fuel hose during a pit stop at the Singapore Grand Prix.

MILAN // The Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has poured scorn on Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, saying the "circus" track and the use of the safety car had been humiliating for the sport. Formula One's first night race drew rave reviews from the participants and onlookers, including the sport's chief Bernie Ecclestone, but was one to forget for the Italian team.

The Brazilian title contender Felipe Massa had his race ruined by a bungled pit stop while the faltering world champion Kimi Raikkonen crashed near the end. "When we race on tracks which should be used for the circus, anything can happen including the spectacle of the safety car," Montezemolo said. "All this is humiliating for F1 and it is an aspect I want to talk about with the other teams in the next few weeks."

Singapore saw two safety car interventions, the first of which turned the race upside down and contributed to the Spaniard Fernando Alonso's unexpected victory for Renault. Montezemolo, appointed this month as the first chairman of the Formula One Teams Association, said before the race that street circuits and the lack of overtaking opportunities were not the right way forward for the sport. Ferrari's failure to score any points in Singapore meant McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, third behind the winner Fernando Alonso, extended his championship lead over Massa to seven points with three races left.

The Finn Raikkonen is out of contention but Montezemolo still sounded confident. "We have the best Ferrari, Massa is the best. I expect Raikkonen to show he is the world champion in the remaining races, to help Massa, to race for the good of the team and to finish in front of the McLarens," he said. The team president also backed the mechanics who gave Massa the green light during a pit stop despite the fuel hose still being attached to the car as he sped away.

"We have extraordinary mechanics who on other occasions have swung results our way. "We must stay close to each other because Ferrari are always world champions and are still in the running to win," Montezemolo added. * Reuters