OCTOBER 4, 1999
Ferrari stands by Todt and Brawn
THE Ferrari debacle at the European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring - and the performance in recent races of the Ferrari F399 in the hands of Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo - has led the livelier elements of the Italian media to call for the resignation of the team's sporting and technical directors Jean Todt and Ross Brawn.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo held a two and a half hour meeting with senior staff at Maranello after the Nurburgring flop. We hear that Montezemolo warned that the company could not afford such public humiliation. We hear that Brawn took responsibility for the pitlane confusion over strategy which left Irvine a lap down on the leaders. The only consolation is that McLaren also made bad mistakes and Mika Hakkinen was also nearly a lap behind at the end.
Montezemolo has repeatedly stood by Todt since the Frenchman joined the team from Peugeot in July 1993, but after six unsuccessful seasons Montezemolo must begin to question the situation - if only to protect his own job.
He does have one very strong argument in favor of continuing to support Todt. There is currently no obvious candidate to replace the Frenchman and any change would mean a shake-up which would mean at least two more years before Ferrari would be in a position to win the World Championship.
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