Domenicali: Put Briatore, Piquet and Ralf to pasture
Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali says that Ralf Schumacher, Nelsinho Piquet and Flavio Briatore should remain figures of the past rather than the present or future.
“I prefer to look to the future and find new talent,” he told Italian newspaper La Stampa. “F1 should not reduce itself to a world of nostalgia. It's not right that Piquet should be allowed to return after what he did, and Briatore will not be back in the same role; people don't like re-heated soup – he will have to find another opportunity.”
“My role requires me to remain rational,” Domenicali reasoned. “If for just one second I had considered myself to be the cause of the problems, I would have acted accordingly. We mustn't forget that in 2005 – which isn't a century ago – Ferrari had won five consecutive world championships, and I was amongst the group that achieved that.
“Fernando was last here in mid-December, and since then he has called every day to see if the car is showing the same performance in the simulations as we had expected. That's how it should be; a world champion should have a competitive car at his disposal, otherwise he will not be able to show his full potential. His arrival has really inspired the workforce.
“Felipe's last tests a week ago were positive. At the end of January he will undergo the FIA's medical examinations, and the drama of the accident has been replaced by the joy of the birth of [his new son] Felipinho – 2009 is truly a year he will never forget.
“In Michael's head the spark had been re-lit, and he wanted to take on a new sporting challenge. Ferrari would never have stood in his way. His results prove that he is a huge champion, and his return is great news for F1 – it will increase interest in the sport, attract new fans and boost the spectacle.
“I was astonished to receive so many letters from 'disappointed' tifosi, to use a euphemism – but the Italian Grand Prix is a long time away yet, and I'm convinced that Ferrari's fans will still welcome him there, because the past cannot be erased. We're very sad – it's pointless trying to deny that – but now we are working to be ahead of him on the track!”