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AUGUST 25, 2003

Italy unhappy with Ferrari performance after Hungary

The Italian press has criticized Ferrari after a poor showing in this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix as Michael Schumacher placed eighth and Rubens Barrichello crashed out.

"Thank God for (Fernando) Alonso," said Italy's leading newspaper Corriere della Sera. "He took victory and precious points away from Raikkonen and Montoya letting Schumacher stay in the lead in the drivers championship."

Another top Italian newspaper, daily La Repubblica proclaimed in a front-page editorial, "Let's tell the truth: it was painful."

"We saw Barrichello losing the wheel and crashing as if he were driving a Trabant. And Schumacher paddling as if he were shipwrecked," it continued.

There are still three races left this season but it will not be easy for Schumacher to clinch a record sixth title with only a one point lead over Montoya and two points over Raikkonen. Now, as Ferrari watched their lead in the Constructors Championship slip out of their fingers, Italian critics say it is time to stop making excuses and finally sort out their technical problems.

"They'll tell us it was the tires... well, just go to the tire man and change them. They'll tell us others have made enormous progress but not why Ferrari are resembling a bus," La Repubblica said.

"The best squad in the world has the men to react. Let's just hope now that they can find the car," Corriere said.

With the upcoming Italian Grand Prix in Monza on September 14, Ferrari now knows they will not be able to avoid the wrath of the unhappy fans without results.