Montezemolo at "Wrooom": "Ferrari is going through amazing times"
Madonna di Campiglio, 14 January -- Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was the guest of honour today at the twenty first edition of "Wrooom." He arrived at the Fiat Chalet this afternoon, just before one, providing his first opportunity of 2011 to meet the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers, starting with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, with whom he had a private conversation, before meeting the media who have been taking part in the event.
"We are going through amazing times as a company and shortly we will be declaring our 2010 results, which are extremely positive," revealed Montezemolo. -- "In fact today, our Managing Director, Amedeo Felisa is in Shanghai where, at a spectacular event, we celebrated our 999th Ferrari sale in China. In North America, we have beaten our previous sales record and all the signs point to 2011 going very well indeed."
"Vital to make a good start in 2011"
Naturally, Formula 1 was the main dish of the day in the meeting Luca di Montezemolo had with journalists in the Fiat Chalet. "Believe me, I often still wake up at night thinking of the race in Abu Dhabi, so it goes without saying that we must absolutely look to the future," said the Ferrari President. "We are working very hard on the new car. As Domenicali and I told you back in December, there has been no revolution within our organisation, just a few adjustments aimed at improving the way the team is run."
Montezemolo immediately set out an objective: "We must make a good start, both in terms of reliability and, above all, on the performance front. Last year, we lost the championship in a first half that found us failing to live up to our expectations. I think this will be a very interesting championship: there are a few question marks regarding the new rules and therefore we will have to wait and see how competitive are our rivals."
To those who brought up Alonso's prediction that Schumacher could potentially be his biggest rival, Montezemolo had this to say: "I think we must wait for the first few races, but these tales are good for the media and the fans. Alonso says Michael, Felipe says Hamilton, maybe Michael will favour Vettel, so there's nothing new under the sun! But, Michael is still close to my heart and part of Ferrari's history and I have no doubt he is still a fantastic driver. His team-mate out-paced him last year? So, sure, there's also Rosberg. In fact, I expect three teams, maybe even four to be fighting it out at the top in 2011. Of the new generation of drivers, he is in there as indeed is Vettel. But the hierarchy will be established on the stopwatch. Having said that, one problem we don't have is on the driver front: I know who is the best in the world, but I'm not saying... :)!
"Formula 1 must be the pinnacle"
In his meeting with journalists at "Wrooom," Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo covered every aspect of the current state of play of Formula 1 and its future. On speculation regarding talks aimed at renewing the Concorde Agreement, Montezemolo's thoughts were as follows: "I expect Formula 1 will remain as the highest expression of technology, of motor sport and in terms of the spectacle. There needs to be constructive dialogue between the International Federation, the commercial rights holder and the teams. These latter have to be competitive, must be able to invest and to maintain themselves at a high level. On top of that, you need stability in the regulations so that the teams can plan their investments and in order for the public to understand what is going on. I do not believe in the budget cap or cost control, which are always impossible to verify: reduction in costs comes through regulation changes, both on the technical and sporting front, without forgetting the links to industrial production and technical innovation for the motor industry of the future, because we want cars, not rockets."
"FOTA can have a future"
In his chat with the media, Luca di Montezemolo also spoke in very plain terms about the current situation at FOTA. "If the teams know how to remain united and work in constructive fashion, as part of the virtuoso triangle alongside the FIA and the commercial rights holder, than this organisation has a future. When I was president, it was a different more difficult time, whereas now the atmosphere is calmer. The fact remains that Formula 1 has to be the highest level of this sport therefore there cannot be too big a gap between the big and small teams in terms of how competitive they are."
As to allegations that Red Bull overspent on its budget and on comments made by Helmut Marko, the Ferrari President had this to say. "I have heard these stories, but I don't know if they are true. If they turn out to be correct, then it shows that our long held view that we are against an artificial cap is the right one: it is impossible to run checks when for example, there are companies involved which can manufacture in various countries. Plus there are always polemical situations in Formula. I am pleased to see that, after the Brawn comet and its titles which, might I say came with some technical "drug taking" we then had another team taking both titles last year, one that is maybe not yet in the habit of winning: it's part of the game and its great, but maybe when others have won 10% of what Ferrari has won, then they can also have their say."
The meeting could not end without a nod to the idea of staging a Grand Prix in Rome. "I said it at the Christmas dinner with the Italian media: the teams' view is not to exceed a certain number of races per year: already the season goes on forever," said Montezemolo. "The preference is to have Grands Prix in new countries in important markets, first off in the United States, rather than have two races in Germany, Spain, or eventually Italy. Therefore, Ecclestone's letter is not a failure for Rome, but the awareness that there is a desire to have just one Grand Prix in Italy. Alternating it with Monza? We would need to see if that suits Ecclestone, if the conditions are right, if the two cities can agree, while not forgetting that Monza is a permanent circuit that is part of the history of Formula 1."
Montezemolo meets Rossi at "Wrooom"
Before leaving the Fiat Chalet and heading down the mountain, the Ferrari President met Valentino Rossi, who was a participant at "Wrooom" for the first time this year. "Vale in Ferrari red? I don't think so and I'm happy to see Massa and Alonso in red," Montezemolo had said previously, " just as I would be happy to see Valentino once again having fun in a Formula 1 car when the occasion arises. However, I think that his aim lies in winning with an Italian motorcycle and therefore not in our sport: I believe he has evaluated his situation well and that he is right."
The rumble of Formula 1 shakes Campiglio
Getting the traditional racing underway on the frozen lake at Madonna di Campiglio was the sound of an F60 driven by Luca Badoer. This was the Wrooom 2011 tribute to celebrate an amazing thirteen year career as test driver for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Jumping on stage after a few hot laps on the polished surface of the ice, Badoer thanked Maurizio Arrivabene of Philip Morris International: "It is thanks to him that I drove a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time at Zandvoort in 1995 and now for the last time here at Wrooom."
The car featured a special livery with the Wrooom logo on the engine cover, as Badoer did five laps in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Pirelli, now the sole supplier to Formula 1 until the end of 2013, had produced some special tyres for the Ferrari to tackle the ice, fitting 4.5 millimetre studs to this season's rain tyres to provide the necessary grip on the icy surface.
Alonso does the double on ice
The curtain has come down on the twenty first edition of "Wrooom," the fantastic Philip Morris International event which brought together Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the Ducati Marlboro team and the specialist Formula 1 and Moto GP media on the beautiful slopes of Madonna di Campiglio. The final act saw Fernando Alonso do the double in the traditional race on the frozen lake, which also featured the drivers and riders from the two teams and was kicked off by Luca Badoer saying his final farewell after his long career as the Scuderia's test driver. He drove an F60 fitted with special studded tyres and the Wrooom logo on the engine cover. The first race in go-karts saw the Spanish driver beat team-mate Felipe Massa and the American Ducati Marlboro rider, Nicky Hayden. Behind them came the Maranello team's new test driver, Jules Bianchi, Valentino Rossi and the Ferrari men, Marc Gene and Giancarlo Fisichella. The finishing order was used to set the grid for the second race in Fiat 500s, when Alonso comfortably managed to keep the lead, even when the Safety Car came out with five laps to go, ahead of Hayden and Rossi.
In the closing press meeting this evening comes the celebrations for the ski race held this morning, which saw victory go to Giancarlo Fisichella.