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Montezemolo's future in doubt?

THERE has been a lot of idle gossip in Italy in recent days about the future of Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo after the Tuttosport newspaper in Italy - one of the few not controlled by the Agnelli Family, which owns Ferrari - ran a story suggesting that Montezemolo will be replaced by Antonio Giraudo the managing-director of the Juventus football team, which is also owned by the Agnellis.

The story has been officially denied by Fiat which, by some curious Italian logic, is being read to mean that it is true. Normally Fiat does not react to stories which are false and only denies those which later turn out to be true.

Montezemolo has been in charge of Ferrari since the end of 1991 and in that time has made the car company very successful and has led the Formula 1 operation to a competitive level, although the team has still not managed to win the World Championship.

The stories from Italy suggest that Montezemolo is being linked to the organization of the Winter Olympic Games at Sestriere in 2002 if the bid is successful. Montezemolo is the logical man to take that job as he organized the soccer World Cup in Italy in 1990. It is unlikely that Montezemolo will be replaced until the end of the season - if at all. A move is much more likely if Ferrari wins the World Championship as there will be little left for Luca to achieve if he can make the team a winner in F1 again.

It should be remembered, however, that Montezemolo is also in charge of other Fiat car companies, notably Maserati and there continue to be suggestions that the next major sporting project for Fiat will be a Maserati campaign at Indianapolis.

In South America we heard some vague stories of a Ferrari Indycar program but we believe that a Maserati deal is much more likely.

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