Maranello, 20 December –Some traditions never go out of fashion. The Christmas dinner which President Luca di Montezemolo hosts for the Italian media who regularly cover Formula 1 is an essential part of the end of year, especially as it features all that is best in terms of traditional Italian cuisine. At the table set around an F138 at the Fiorano circuit, Montezemolo gave his usual assessment of the state of motor sport as a whole.
“It’s obvious I’m not happy with the way things went,” said the President. “However, it’s also true that we are the only team in the world for whom it’s seen as a tragedy to come second, which seems something of an exaggeration to me. Clearly, we now need to win and we’ve had enough of finishing second. However, it was a great season for us in GT racing, where we won all over the world. These wins are also very important on a commercial level, because these series put us even closer to our customers. It was nice to beat marques like Porsche and Aston Martin, despite the fact we were at a disadvantage because of the regulations. On the subject of this class of racing, I would repeat that, even if it is a fascinating challenge, the Le Mans 24 Hours is not an immediate objective for us: maybe we can talk about it again in three or four years.”
2013 was also a year of change on the driver front, with Felipe Massa leaving at the end of the season to make way for the return of Kimi Raikkonen. “Felipe was a real Ferrari man and together, we went through some marvellous times,” said Montezemolo. “I think we took the right decision, both for him and for us. Too late? I don’t know, but I’m sure that in his new team he will have new motivation and I hope he gets the satisfaction he deserves. I am pleased I followed Domenicali’s recommendations regarding Kimi: when I met him, I saw he was on great form and extremely motivated and I was pleased to see how warmly he was received both inside and outside the team. I think the pairing we have, along with that at Mercedes, is the strongest in the 2014 championship.”
The constant factor in this is Fernando Alonso. “He is the strongest of all and there are no problems with him,” continued Montezemolo. “He was right to get mad, as we have to give him a competitive car, something we didn’t do in the second half of the season.”