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Ferrari hit crossroads, and miss out on top-ten shootout

Formula One’s most famous and successful team, the Scuderia Ferrari, will reach the end of their 60th season in the world championship in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – but without a driver in the top ten of the starting grid.

For the Italians, who have brought a total of six past and present drivers with them to the spectacular Yas Marina circuit, it is an irony that their two competing drivers were both out-qualified by Sebastien Buemi.

The Swiss rookie, completing his first season in the sport, took 10th place on the grid for the Ferrari-engined Toro Rosso team -- on his 21st birthday. It was the third time in a row that the youngster had made it through to the final section of qualifying.

While the 2007 champion, Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who departs the team after Sunday’s race, explained that 11th on the grid was the best he could do with Ferrari’s current car, Buemi had every reason to be satisfied.
“I was hoping to do better,” he said, in a paddock which contained no fewer than six Ferrari drivers of recent times: Raikkonen, his current team-mate Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, the great multi-champion German Michael Schumacher, Brazilian Felipe Massa, who is recovering from injury, and reserve drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer.

Also in attendance in the Ferrari garage and on the pit wall this weekend has been Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has led the team to many past glories.

At the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he was present to support the team and also promote a new theme park, Ferrari World, built alongside the Yas Marina track.

Ferrari World is a development as spectacular as the circuit built alongside it, but on Saturday the famous old team were unable to produce an on-track show to match their great traditions. This is the first season since 1993 in which Ferrari has failed to score a single pole position.

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