Montezemolo defends Ferrari in flag controversy

Ferrari has run into a huge controversy in India after displaying the flag of the Italian navy on the nose of its cars.

The flag relates to an incident earlier this year when two Indian fishermen were killed by the navy – who were protecting a cargo ship – after apparently being mistaken for pirates. Two Italian sailors have subsequently faced criminal action in India, and there has been some tension between the countries over the matter.

Ferrari said on its website that it was displaying the flag in relation to the two sailors, and a storm of protest has resulted, with the matter figuring strongly in TV news bulletins.

Meanwhile New Delhi’s foreign affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said “using sports events to promote entirely unrelated causes is contrary to the spirit of sports.”

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali attempted to play down the matter when quizzed in an FIA press conference: “There was a press release that was done two days ago, so if you want any clarification of that, our press office is absolutely very pleased to answer to your question. But if you look behind in the past we’ve done a lot of initiatives, but there’s nothing that I want to get into very specifically, because it’s not really the place where I should do it.”

However later a statement from company president Luca di Montezemolo reported by news agency ANSA said: “We only want to make a small contribution, with great respect for the Indian authorities, so that a solution might be found through dialogue.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Montezemolo defends Ferrari in flag controversy

  1. Too much talk about simple diplomatic move. How is that any different than stories ran in media every day?

    Yes, it is being carried out through sport, but what’s wrong with that? “Never mix sport and politics” – Why not? If sport is meant to bring people together, than initiating a dialogue (or even highlighting an event – I didn’t know about it) shouldn’t be bad.

  2. Mick

    I think Ferrari’s comments on the situation have been very measured & considerate of potential tension and they should be praised for that….but I do think they may be in breach of FIA regulations on political statements & the flag in its current form is unlikely to be on the car by race day.

  3. A bad move from movers and shakers from Maranello. It’s a bit like the Turkish GP podium scandal. F1 should stay away from this stuff, I couldn’t believe it when I first read the story dis morning.

    I think it’s OK to play with the national theme, as many teams and drivers do in terms of livery or helmet design, but making political statements – c’mon. That’s pretty low, I’ve lost a bit of respect for Ferrari, not that I had much anyway.

    Best leave it to politicians to sort out any kind of political mess.

    On a side note: Alonso’s tattoo is terrible, while Hammo’s new helmet looks like a seagull dropped its stomack contents on that Arai product. And what’s with LH singing praises of Schum and Mercedes, big shoes to fill? Has he got gas or wot? Trying to shake off that McLaren image, it’ll stay on regardless.

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