Crisis meeting at Maranello

Ferrari spent Tuesday in a 'crisis meeting' at Maranello, the German 'Bild' newspaper claims. The reason, of course, is obvious. Even the most trivial glance at the motor sport section of any publication will tell you that the Prancing Horse is in trouble.

Michael Schumacher's mood is a dim one ahead of his favorite circuit, Spa Francorchamps. ''I always have special feelings when this race comes around,'' the German said.

''But I have to admit that our recent performances are dampening my enthusiasm. I don't have the impression we will do all that well at Spa.''

The Italian crisis was felt right in the hip pocket of the Monza organizers. Early estimates put the grand prix ticket decline at around 15 per cent, but the final count shows that 30 per cent less Italians rolled through the gates. And that's not all. An enormous 2.7 million less Italians than last year tuned into the Italian GP TV coverage.

Perhaps also discussed at the Ferrari meeting was the pressing issue of 'continuity' beyond next year. It is not inconceivable that the team could lose Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt in one swift stroke.

''Ferrari will move forwards,'' Todt – asked about Kimi Raikkonen, Valentino Rossi and the future – replied. He added: ''When we need new people — drivers, engineers, team principal — we try to find the best.''

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