Ferrari’s family Christmas gets underway Montezemolo: “I am proud of this team”
Maranello, 11 December – The Maranello company’s Christmas weekend got underway today with the traditional Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro lunch. Tomorrow comes the Kids Christmas, the event laid on for all the Red’s employees and their families. The lunch took place in the Logistics pavilion and was attended by around seven hundred men and women from the Scuderia, including Stefano Domenicali and the full complement of drivers – from Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, to the test drivers, Marc Gene, Luca Badoer, Jules Bianchi and Giancarlo Fisichella – as well as representatives from all the sponsors and suppliers.
Along with seasonal toasts and the giving of gifts, the event was also an opportunity for a final look back at an extremely intense season, as well as taking a peek into the upcoming one, which now beckons. As usual, this task fell to President Luca di Montezemolo. “It has been an amazing year, split into three stages,” he began. “A brilliant start in Bahrain, which made it seem we could win a lot, a big disappointment in the run up to the mid-point of the season, when our car could not match the pace of the best; great satisfaction in a fightback that took us into the lead going into the final race. We know how it ended and there is no point in denying it was very disappointing. But we were aware, indeed we still are, that we gave it our best shot and also that all year long, one car was quicker than ours, sometimes emphatically so.”
However, Montezemolo did not hide his satisfaction at seeing Ferrari back at the top again in Formula 1. “From 1997 up until now, there have been only two years, 2005 and 2009, when we were not in the fight for the title. In the other years, we won one or both titles, or we lost at the last round. Sure, it would have been nice to win this year, especially with a team made up of so many people, starting with Stefano Domenicali, who started their working lives and grew up at Ferrari, but it did not turn out that way. We are well aware of what we must now do in preparation for next year. Immediately, from the very first race, we have to have a car capable of winning: these are critical weeks, in which so much is in the balance and so it needs determination, creativity, a desire to innovate, for everyone to improve in their own jobs so that they set their own personal pole positions. Also, we must maintain our sense of being a group with that will to react that has always characterised us, which could be seen in the eyes, swollen with tears, of so many people in the Abu Dhabi garage after the race. We managed to get out of difficult moments by always sticking together. These are not just the usual words at Christmas time: I am really proud of you, of what you have done and of what you will do. My thanks go to each and every one of you and also to our commercial and technical partners, from Philip Morris to Shell, to Santander and to all the others, without whose support we would never have become what we are today. A special thanks goes to Bridgestone, who we leave, at least in Formula 1 terms, after eleven fantastic years which resulted in fourteen world titles, made up of Drivers’ and Constructors.’”
Montezemolo also had something to say about the two drivers, Alonso and Massa: Fernando had an amazing season, fitting in really well to our family. He showed incredible character, especially when there were those who reckoned he was mad to say he would be in the running for the title right up to Abu Dhabi, when he was a very long way off the leader. Felipe had a complicated season, but he will be able to get back to the level that saw him back in 2008 which is not exactly a long time ago, become world champion, albeit for just a few seconds.”
For one driver, today’s lunch had a special significance: at the end of this year, Luca Badoer relinquishes the role of test driver for the Scuderia, which he has filled for the past thirteen seasons. “Luca has been a key element in so much of our success, thanks to a job that is so vital, even if carried out far from the limelight, consisting of thousands of kilometres, suggestions and ideas,” said Montezemolo. “I wish to thank him for what he has done and how he did it, because he deserves praise for carrying out this role with great discretion, as well as turning down race drives with other teams to stay as part of our family.” Badoer was presented with two special gifts: a sculpture made of parts of every Ferrari single-seater he has driven and a Fiat 500 Tributo Ferrari.