Montezemolo: “Ferrari doesn’t give up”

Maranello, 15 October – We’ll never give up. No one at Ferrari has any intention of easing off the pace after Fernando Alonso lost the lead of the drivers’ championship despite the team’s good performance yesterday at Yeongam. This morning at Maranello you can almost breathe in the desire to get back to the battle, starting with President Montezemolo.

“Ferrari doesn’t give up and we will fight to the end,” Montezemolo told and a live broadcast on Italy’s Rai radio. “We have the best team: yesterday too, the work on track was perfect. We also have the best driver in Fernando Alonso and I’m happy to see Felipe Massa back at a high level: tomorrow I will meet him at Maranello, we will have a chance to talk about his future and then I will take a decision.”

Before he sees the Brazilian driver, the President will meet Stefano Domenicali and Pat Fry, who already made it back to the offices of the Scuderia this morning. On the agenda is the programme of development on the F2012 for the last four races of the season. “We are a few tenths off the pace of the best, above all in qualifying,” added Montezemolo. “We must try to have a front-row car because otherwise, starting further back, it makes life much harder and you are at greater risk of getting caught up in accidents. To have a quicker car we must work day and night in a methodical and determined fashion.”

He continued: “It’s a very open championship: a few grands prix ago it was McLaren who seemed unbeatable, now it’s the turn of the Red Bull while we are still up there in the fight. Pay attention as the situation is changing really fast this year. Certainly we are left with major regret about the 30-odd points lost with the two accidents in Spa and Suzuka. If we had those today we would still have a 24-point advantage and we would be having a completely different debate. But over so many years at Ferrari I have seen everything: world championships lost at the last minute like we saw with Fernando in 2010 – or even after the finishing line itself, like with Felipe in 2008. But we have also won when no one would ever have imagined it possible, such as Kimi’s title in 2007.”

Montezemolo praised Felipe’s recent good run: “You can see from the constructors’ championship that he has returned to the levels that we used to know well. I expect a lot from him and his capacity to take points from our rivals.”

As for the long-term future, Montezemolo replied thus to those who were asking about the chances of seeing Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel wearing red: “Today the problem is not with drivers. 2014 is still to come but I don’t want to have two roosters in the same henhouse, rather two drivers who race for Ferrari and not for themselves. I don’t want problems and rivalries, which we didn’t have between Schumacher and Irvine, between Schumacher and Barrichello, between Alonso and Massa or Massa and Schumi or Massa and Raikkonen. As for Newey, I can say that he is very good at his job but we also managed to win eight constructors’ titles in the last 13 championships without him: I have huge faith in our own engineers.”

While the Team Principal, the Technical Director and the two drivers have already returned to Europe – be it at Maranello, Monaco or Oviedo – the team left Mokpo this morning in a coach heading for Incheon Airport, where the flight back to Italy left at lunchtime. The long journey to the Far East is over but there will be very few days for everyone to spend with their families. As early as next Saturday, the departures will begin again en route for India, the host of the fourth-last round of this thrilling Formula 1 World Championship.

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