Maranello, 15 December – The Scuderia’s Christmas lunch is always a special date on the calendar for the men and women who work in Maranello.
Everyone comes together, from President Montezemolo to the drivers, from Stefano Domenicali and all the engineers and staff of the Gestione Sportiva to representatives from sponsors and suppliers, just like a real, big family to wish each other well and to have a final look back at the season just ended.
A lot of gifts – apart from the partners, there was recognition for the FDA drivers, as well as those who won so many GT races with the 458 Italia and drivers like Gene, Rigon and Bianchi, who contributed so much behind the scenes to the work of the Scuderia – and a lot of good wishes, but the most important remarks came from the race drivers and, naturally enough, Montezemolo.
“This has been a very difficult year for me, especially at the start, when we couldn’t find the right way to move forward with our car,” said Felipe Massa, who got a warm and affectionate round of applause from those present.
Now I am more motivated than ever: the second part of the season was like a training session for next year. In 2013, I really want to come back to this event to celebrate something even better together with all of you!”
“I wish to thank all of you and our partners for what you do for us drivers who race all over the world flying the Ferrari flag,” added Fernando Alonso, who received a well deserved ovation for what has been an amazing season.
“In particular, I want to thank those who work at the race track, spending so much time away from their families and those in Maranello who gave their all to improving the car, working day and night to put us in a position to fight for the world titles.
The most heartfelt thanks came from the President, aimed at everyone but mainly at those who are never in the glare of the spotlight.
“You are our most valuable asset, representing our present and our future: without you there would be no Ferrari, neither today nor in the past,” said Montezemolo. “I wish to congratulate you for what you have done, starting with our reliability record.
To win in Formula 1, one needs to do everything perfectly: we can be pleased with the improvements we have made on the strategy front, at the pit stops and in our race preparation and we must maintain these strong points next year too.
We lacked a car that was quicker than the others and we must reflect carefully on how that happened and come up with a response, because in 2013, the aim, not just for me, but for all of you, is to immediately have a car that’s capable of winning.
While going over the championship just ended, Montezemolo could not avoid mentioning incidents that weighed heavily on Fernando’s season, such as the accidents immediately after the start in Spa and Suzuka, but he also invited everyone present to offer up a round of applause to the world champion, Sebastian Vettel, because “one most always congratulate the winner, because he didn’t do it by chance and because we also hope that next year, someone else will be doing the same for us…”
Finally, Montezemolo spoke about the two race drivers. “I don’t know where you went in the first part of the year,” he joked with Felipe, “but I am very pleased you came back, both because it meant we were able to finish ahead of major teams in the Constructors’ classification, but also because it is important for next year.
Fernando had an extraordinary season and I am sorry not to have given him a car that was quick as well as reliable. But I’m sure that if we had come to the final race with just a few more points, including those we lost along the way, what with a collision or two, then with his ability and that of the team, we could just as easily have won: congratulations to Fernando and thanks for what he did for Ferrari!”