Ferrari “can’t afford to keep getting beaten” – Montezemolo

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has spoken of his frustration at the team’s lack of championship trophies in recent seasons – and his desire to see that change next year.

“Looking to 2014, I would say however that we can no longer afford to be the contender beaten in a photo-finish. I can’t wait to be winning again. The time is now, believe me.”

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport Montezemolo said team principal Stefano Domenicali was “first to advocate the choice of Kimi [Raikkonen]” as team mate to Fernando Alonso next year.

“What I ask of Raikkonen is wins, a consistent performance level and podiums and Alonso will be the first to benefit,” said Montezemolo.

“I am pleased he is back with us and the Ferrari staff greeted the news enthusiastically, as they had good memories of him.”

Montezemolo stressed that Alonso was kept in the loop about his choice of team mate and revealed they were reluctant to take a less experienced driver because of the extent of the regulation changes coming next year:

“Fernando was always in the picture regarding the choice of Raikkonen, taken partly because the alternative, that of employing a youngster, in what will be a complex 2014 season, did not inspire confidence.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”