Ferrari struggling to make an impact
Niki Lauda has always had a way with withering put-downs, and this week he turned his attention to Ferrari, the team he won two world titles for in the 1970s.
The Austrian legend said the team's disastrous start to the 2009 Formula 1 season was a return to their "spaghetti culture".
Lauda could not have found a more insulting turn of phrase had he worked at it for a month.
And team principal Stefano Domenicali's response here at Bahrain this weekend left no doubt that Lauda's words had hit Ferrari where it hurts.
"I take it very personally," Domenicali said, "when people suggest that because we're Italian we can't make anything work properly."
What was so stinging about Lauda's remark was that it tapped so sharply into the traditional image of pre-Schumacher Ferrari.
In Michael Schumacher's days, the team - marshalled by their ruthless French sporting director Jean Todt and their brilliant British technical director Ross Brawn -evolved into the most efficient winning machine in F1 history.
But before that, Ferrari's image was of a team led more by its heart than its head, of an outfit that ran as if they were waving their arms around a lot and shouting - which sometimes they were.
When Schumacher retired, and Todt and Brawn left the team, people in F1 wondered whether Ferrari would revert to their old ways.
Many have looked at Ferrari's disastrous start to the season - and some of the things that happened in 2008 - and concluded that that is indeed what has happened.
There were the pit-stop mistakes made in the title climax last year - most strikingly when Felipe Massa was released from his first stop in Singapore with the fuel hose still attached to his car.
And then there was the decision to fit extreme wet tyres to Kimi Raikkonen's car when the track was still bone dry in Malaysia this season - a decision that was rumoured to have been Schumacher's.
On top of that, Ferrari have struggled with a car that is up to scratch in neither performance nor reliability, and the end result is no points and last place in the constructors' championship.
It is Ferrari's worst start to a season since 1981 - when they were emerging from one of their "spaghetti" periods - and the impression is very much of a team in crisis.
Domenicali is very much aware of that and his public utterances make great play of the need to stay calm and work through Ferrari's problems in a logical manner.
"It is very important to control the emotion of the people," he said, "because the pressure is very high and we have to make sure the people are working well but in a rational way and I have to keep the pressure on my shoulder."
That pressure will be higher than ever here in Bahrain, as Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is flying in for the race on Sunday.
If they can iron out the mistakes, there is no obvious reason why Ferrari cannot at least get some points on the board at Sakhir.
But a win still looks some way away.
Reliability has been slipping for a while, but until this year the team never wanted for performance, even when things were going wrong.
But this year Ferrari have designed their first 'dog' since 1996 - Schumacher's first year with the team, and before the Brawn regime took hold.
The problems seem to stem partly from their decision to commit heavily to the Kers power-boost and energy recovery system.
This gives the teams using it a boost of 80bhp for up to 6.7 seconds a lap - which, according to Ferrari, adds up to a performance increase of up to 0.4secs.
But for all the teams that are using the system, packaging it has been difficult, and suggestions are emerging that fitting it into the car makes it fundamentally slower than one designed without the inherent handicaps of Kers.
The system, which recovers energy during braking in a battery and re-applies it during acceleration, is heavy and it restricts the engineers' ability to tune the car's handling by moving ballast around.
Ferrari - who, with McLaren, Renault and BMW, are one of four teams to have the option of using the system - have positioned their Kers under their fuel tank - and that means the weight of the fuel is higher in the car than would be ideal.
Renault's is in the same position, but if they take it out - as they did in China - they can lower the fuel in the car.
But the Ferrari is built in such a way that even if they remove the Kers, the fuel stays in the same place. So that removes one way they could potentially chase performance.
The other obvious one is to exploit the controversial 'double-decker' diffuser which was declared legal before the Chinese Grand Prix, and which has been used to such great effect by pace-setters Brawn.
Domenicali says Ferrari will have their first version of the diffuser at the next race in Spain.
It is unlikely to mean an overnight jump to the front of the grid, but it should at least be the start of Ferrari's recovery.
There has been talk of Ferrari giving up on 2009 if there is not a marked improvement when the revised car appears in Barcelona.
Domenicali has told BBC Sport here that there was "no way" Ferrari could consider such an approach.
But whether they want to or not might become immaterial. If things do not improve soon, they may have no choice.