Berthold Bouman, F1 Correspondent
During the traditional Christmas lunch at Maranello, Italy, Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo celebrated his 20 years as Ferrari President. The 64-year old Montezemolo was appointed President in November 1991 by the late Fiat Chairman Gianni Agnelli.
Over a 1,000 guests were present at Maranello to mark the occasion, and watched a film dedicated to two decades of what Montezemolo described as ‘good times and the more difficult moments’.
After the movie an emotional Montezemolo commented, “It’s the best present I could get. My life is here and, after my family, this company is the most important thing to me. There are people I want to thank for the help they have given me over all these years.”
And he continued, “Some are here with us today, such as Piero Ferrari, Amadeo Felisa and Mario Mairano. Others are no longer with us, such as the “Avvocato” Agnelli: I owe him so much, both on a personal level and professionally and, seeing some of these images again, I can’t help but think of how close he was to Ferrari through the many difficult years.”
When Montezemolo started as Ferrari President, he made it his personal mission to win the Formula One Championship again, as the team had been struggling since the death of Enzo Ferrari in 1988, the last driver to win the Drivers’ Championship for Ferrari was South African Jody Scheckter who took the title in 1979.
All the ingredients are in place to start winning again
At the end of the 1990’s Montezemolo lured Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher to the team and from that moment on Scudria Ferrari was a winning team again, winning five successive championships from 2000 until 2004.
About Todt, now FIA President, Montezemolo said, “I cannot forget the great job he did with us and with Michael Schumacher, who won like no one else has ever done in the history of Ferrari and with whom we went through many dramatic and amazing moments.”
2011 has been a difficult season for Ferrari, but Montezemolo is confident his team will be fighting for the championship again next year. “We cannot be happy with the way this year went and there is a great desire to redeem ourselves, because results don’t come on their own, they are not delivered by a stork: it will take hard work from every one of you,” he said to the audience present at Maranello
“I want to be optimistic, because I can see the concentration and the attention to detail which characterises the efforts being made by Domenicali and his people, by Fry, Marmorini, Lanzone and Tombazis,” added Montezemolo. “All the ingredients are in place to start winning again.”
He again had a special message for Felipe Massa, who has had a hard time after his accident in Hungary in 2009, and has had problems finding his winning form again. “Felipe knows next year is very important for him, but it is up to us to give him a competitive car. If we manage it, then I am sure we will rediscover the Felipe who delivered so much and who could be quicker than Michael and Kimi.”
He praised Fernando Alonso for his win at Silverstone this year, “Fernando has had an amazing season, even though he did not have a competitive car and he made us all happy at Silverstone, with an emblematic victory, given it came at the same circuit and in the same month in which, sixty years ago, Ferrari took its first ever Formula One win.”
And he concluded his speech saying, “My job is to provide the best possible conditions for you to do yours: I expect a big effort from you and a great desire to do well. Winning depends on us, not on others. I cannot wait to once again share good times with all of you.”