On the occasion of Ferrari’s 800th grand prix, Tony Fernandes made sure the Italian team’s celebratory champagne tasted sour.
After proving the strongest of the three new teams in 2010, the Lotus team boss stared mockingly at the qualifying timesheets in Turkey and recalled the pre-season words of Luca di Montezemolo.
The Ferrari president had derided the new teams, accusing them of reducing F1 to little more than a glorified junior series.
But Lotus is now closing on the tail of the established teams, including Force India whose Tonio Liuzzi was just 1.2 seconds clear of Jarno Trulli at Istanbul Park.
And “The team who has done 7 races (is) 2.4 seconds slower than the team who has done 800 races. Wonder if Luca still thinks we are rubbish,” Fernandes wrote on his Twitter.
Ferrari began the season with one of the favoured cars, but a worried Fernando Alonso said in Turkey that the F10 is now “far behind” Red Bull and McLaren, outpaced by Mercedes and at risk of falling away from his old team Renault.
“We need to roll our sleeves up even higher,” team boss Stefano Domenicali told Finland’s Turun Sanomat after Alonso suggested the car has not been developed quickly enough.
“In Valencia we will have a strongly updated package,” he promised.