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Montezemolo hints at retirement

FERRARI president Luca di Montezemolo has hinted that he would like to retire, or at least take a sabbatical, from running the famous Italian car company he took command of in 1992.

The 52-year old has presided over the most successful era of commercial enjoyed by Ferrari's road car operation which now sells almost 4000 of its high performance sports cars each year. He has also put in place the infrastructure which resulted this year in Michael Schumacher becoming the first formula one driver to win a world championship for Ferrari since Jody Scheckter took the title in 1979.

However, those close to the sport are sceptical over these claims, feeling that the high profile Montezemolo x who married this year for the third time - would want to step out of the limelight at a time when Ferrari is riding the crest of its current wave of success.

Di Montezemolo was very much the prot?g? of the company's founder, the late Enzo Ferrari, who died in 1988. Back in 1973 when his formula one team was on the ropes, Ferrari hired Montezemolo to rebuild it and, together with Niki Lauda as number one driver, they duly posted a hat trick of constructors' world championships between 1975 and 77.

Subsequently di Montezemolo ran the Cinzano drinks company, was a director of Juventus and coordinated Italy's hosting of the football world cup in 1990. Brought back into the Ferrari fold by the Agnelli family after the failure of a succession of senior managers, his charismatic personality and shrewd administrative touch has only just started to pay off.

Ferrari insiders reckon that di Montezemolo has plenty more miles on Ferrari's high speed clock yet to travel. Yet even if he did leave, the winning structure he put in place would sustain the team's momentum, certainly for the immediate future.

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