Time for reflection and good wishes at Maranello
13 December, 2009
The traditional Christmas lunch for all Scuderia Ferrari personnel, which again this year was held in the Logistica building, next to the Fiorano track. It was also an opportunity for the Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo to look back over the past season.
“This has been a very bad year, not up to Ferrari’s usual standard,” were his opening words. “There were several reasons, but we have a history and a culture of not looking for excuses. None of us is happy with the ways things went: we were hardly ever competitive enough to fight for the win and that is not our style. However, every one of us has the will and the ability to react and get back, not just to being very competitive, but also to winning. The symbol of our desire to fight back is really Felipe, who knew how to deal with a very difficult and dramatic situation and all of us can take that as our example next year.
It has also been a bad year outside the sport, because we do not just live in our own little world. We had to make decisions, some of them painful, but we have continued to invest in the future of the company because we firmly believe that this time of crisis can be turned into an opportunity for growth. We have to look to the future with confidence, but without ever forgetting our roots, such as Enzo Ferrari himself, because we must always remember where we came from. I am happy to be here with you, because this is an important opportunity to talk to all of you and not just those who are under the spotlight, because what gives Ferrari its strength are the people and the pride they take in being part of this company, the pleasure they get from working here and the way they get upset when we don’t win!”
Montezemolo also thanked the drivers who were present – from Giancarlo Fisichella for his great efforts and “for having clearly shown just how uncompetitive was the F60,” to Luca Badoer who, “without any thought for himself, threw himself at the task of standing in for Felipe, without being able to prepare himself properly,” to Marc Gene, “for the intelligence he demonstrated, for his work both on and off the track, with our owners,” and those who were absent, like Kimi Raikkonen. “I’m sorry he’s not here today,” said Montezemolo, referring to the Finnish driver. “All the same, I wish to thank him on behalf of all of us for what he achieved in his three years with Ferrari. He staked his place in our history by winning the title in his first season, which was partly thanks to help from Felipe, to whom he repaid the compliment the following year. And in this difficult season just gone, he managed to score our only win of the year. I wish him the very best for the future.”
There was a special mention for someone who had been part of Ferrari’s history for the past sixteen years who, for the first time since 1993, was not present at this event, namely Jean Todt. “We can look forward with confidence to changes in Formula 1, because today, steering the FIA, we have a competent person that we all like a lot. I wish to take this opportunity to give him, on behalf of all of us, our very best wishes.”
Montezemolo also spoke of the near future for the Scuderia: “We will have a car that meets the Ferrari standard, thanks to all your efforts and the support of our partners. They too have played a vital role, in bringing both commercial backing, as is the case with Philip Morris, who have been with us for such a long period, in both the good and the bad times, and those excellent companies who give us technical support, such as Shell, with whom we have won at every level. We will have a great driver pairing: we know Felipe well and we know how much he wants to make up for this year. Fernando Alonso joins Ferrari at the best possible time for him and for the team. We will have a strong and determined team, which has proved it can react when the going gets tough, made up of skilled people who really want to win again. I thank you in advance for your efforts, while the congratulations will have to wait for next year!”
Montezemolo ended by speaking in his capacity as President of Telethon, given that the lunch and the television marathon on RAI was taking place at the same time. “Ferrari has always had links to research into muscular dystrophy because Dino, our founder’s first son, died of this terrible illness. Today, Telethon is supporting medical research into similar genetic disorders and I am pleased to announce that, in the name of Ferrari, I will be making a donation to support Telethon and I invite you to do the same, as solidarity has always been a trait of the men and women in our company.”
Meanwhile it will be a special Christmas for Felipe Massa, his first as a father. Felipe arrived in Maranello to join the team for the traditional exchange of good wishes which precede the end of year festivities and he chose this occasion to address everyone in the Gestione Sportiva. “I want to thank each one of you for your support after the accident,” said Felipe. “What happened to me this year was unbelievable and I took so much strength from you to recover as quickly as possible. The heartfelt warmth I felt from Ferrari is something I will never ever forget as long as I live. I assure you that my determination to get back on track and to win has never been this strong!”