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16 Nov 2010

Ferrari have hit back at criticism from Italian politicians over the team's 2010 Formula 1 title failure.

Roberto Calderoli, a minister from the far-right Northern League party, has called for the team's president Luca di Montezemolo to quit.

Calderoli claimed a "demented strategy" cost driver Fernando Alonso the title.

But Di Montezemolo said: "When he achieves 1% of what Ferrari has done for Italy in terms of industry and sport, then he'll deserve an answer."

Alonso went into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix eight points clear at the top of the drivers' championship, but he was called in for a strategic early pit-stop and was unable to catch the leaders.

The Spaniard ended the race in seventh and finished four points behind Sebastian Vettel, who won around the Yas Marina circuit, in the final drivers' championship table.

"It's very easy to see the best strategy after the race," said Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 champion.

"But this is sport, this is motor racing. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

Piero Ferrari, son of the carmaker's late founder Enzo, said he was "astonished and saddened" by certain statements made after Sunday's race.

"It has never happened in my entire life at Ferrari that politicians intervened during good and bad moments in our life in motorsport, and I want it to stay like this," he said.

"But if we want to have a look at how much Ferrari has done for Italy's image around the world, then I can only say that it is definitely much more than certain politics have done."

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said the team had made a strategic mistake in bringing Alonso in for an early pit-stop shortly after Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.

Both dropped down the order and became stuck behind other drivers who had also already pitted.

However, Domenicali said one such mistake should not define a strong season for the team.

"It's like when you get to the final of the football World Cup and it goes to penalties: if you manage to put away all five spot kicks you're a hero - if you miss one you're a donkey," he said.

"It's easy to curse those who miss their penalty on the last day of the championship but, perhaps, someone else let in a calamitous goal at the first match of the season.

"The points are always worth the same, whether it's the beginning or the end of the season."

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