Maranello, 14 December – It was a very special Christmas lunch for Felipe Massa, as he bid farewell to the Scuderia with which he has shared over ten years of his racing and personal life, having enjoyed a close link to this team and so many of its people over the years. “We started together so many years ago and I want to thank all of you, mechanics, engineers, everyone who works at the track and behind the scenes in Maranello,” said an emotional Felipe. “Each one of you has always given me so much support, especially in the most difficult moments and I will never forget what Ferrari did for me when I had my accident in 2009. It’s in these circumstances that one understands what it means to be really loved and the atmosphere at Ferrari and the unique feeling of being part of the family is something I will miss a lot.”
There was also a special thanks for the Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali: “I look on you as my big brother,” continued Felipe. “I thank you for everything you have done for me and for the opportunities you and the President have given me.” Finally Felipe had an affectionate word for his friend and team-mate Fernando Alonso, joking about the incident in the 2010 German Grand Prix. “Thanks also to you Fer, we will meet again on track and this time I will try not to let you through.”
Felipe will now head home to Brazil to join his family before embarking on his new adventure in Formula 1. He will be taking with him a gift from President Montezemolo, namely the engine from the F2008 that took him within touching distance of the world title in 2008.
Maranello, 14 December – “It’s never easy coming second, but we must look ahead.” These were Fernando Alonso’s words of exhortation in a brief speech to all the staff of the Gestione Sportiva at the traditional Christmas lunch.
“Everyone always expects a lot from us,” he continued, speaking to his number one fans.
“Next year, we will try to do better and I know you are working very hard. There are new rules and extra work for all of you, but you can count on maximum effort from us in terms of our physical and mental preparation to be in 100% shape in March for the opening race. We face an important time ahead and so, Forza Ferrari!” After a day on the simulator yesterday, Fernando will spend the night in Maranello, before another day of virtual driving tomorrow, as he continues to familiarise himself with the new procedures and to spend more time sharing ideas with his engineers.
BRUNICO CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS SWITCHED ON IN MARANELLO
Maranello, 14 December – The Christmas links between Ferrari and Brunico continue, as for the fifth consecutive year the South Tyrol town has presented the Maranello company with a big and beautiful Christmas tree, which is illuminated by over ten thousand low-energy bulbs. The tree is over twenty metres high and has been placed right in front of the company restaurant, Il Podio.
Taking part in the switching on ceremony was a delegation from Brunico made up, among others from the provincial council of Bolzano, Christian Tschurtschenthaler, Stefan Rubner, president of Rubner Holding, the manager of the woollen mill Moesmer Brunico Walter Niedermaire and by Robert Hillebrand, director of ASPIAG. On the Ferrari side were the President, Luca di Montezemolo, the vice president, Piero Ferrari, the director of the Scuderia Stefano Domenicali and the drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, the latter just back from time spent training at high altitude on the wonderful slopes of the South Tyrol mountains.
FERRARI FAMILY CHRISTMAS
Maranello, 14 December – Good wishes, reflections and good resolutions. As Christmas draws near, all families come together to exchange good wishes, look back at what’s happened and think about plans for the following year and the big Scuderia Family is no exception to this rule.
The traditional Christmas lunch took place today, bringing together within the logistics pavilion, all the Scuderia employees, the drivers and representatives of the team’s technical and commercial partners. On stage were the two principal players of the racing year, the F138, which for the nineteenth time in twenty years made it to a podium finish in the Constructors’ Championship and the 458 GTE, which brought home a trio of titles – Drivers’, Teams’ and Constructors’ – in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The key moment, as always at this event, was the speech from president Luca di Montezemolo. “As ever, I am very happy to have everyone gathered here today, because within this building are many of the Ferrari men and women and I will never tire of saying how you are the true asset of our wonderful company. I want to thank all of you for the effort you have put in, even if there is disappointment at not having had the sort of season we would have wished for, especially after a positive start, that we all hoped would continue. In part, that was definitely down to some external factors, but it was mainly down to us not bringing the necessary updates to the track, a mistake we must not repeat. Domenicali deserves the credit for having given it his all and it’s thanks to his work and that of his colleagues that we are making progress with the tools and technology which will help us return to winning ways. I for one am definitely sick of coming second: we have the ability, the competence and the spirit to return to the top step of the podium. Each one of you must work with great determination and take pole position in your own jobs: that’s what’s I’m asking of all of you.”
In looking back at the year that’s coming to an end, Montezemolo mentioned the important achievements in the GT Championships. “Once again this year, we have had great results in the world of GT racing. I wish to congratulate Amato Ferrari and his AF Corse team: Ferrari winning a championship with a Ferrari is a nice happenstance. I think everyone at Corse Cliente, the drivers and especially the new World Champion, Gimmi Bruni.
Continued development in the GT world and the technology transfer to road cars has always been an integral part of our activity. We have won with the 458 GTE, but I also quite like the idea of racing at Le Mans in the highest category: who knows, maybe one day we can return and win, say thanks and come home. Maybe we should give it some serious consideration…
Finally, Montezemolo had words of thanks for the two race drivers. “Over the past few years, Fernando has given his all and he deserves to have a competitive car with which he can win a World Championship with the Reds. I can understand his occasional moments of frustration, which we all share, but I am sure he is well aware what Ferrari represents and because of that, he will be even keener to give it his best shot.” There was also a special and emotional word for Felipe Massa. “It will do Felipe good to get out from Ferrari,” said Montezemolo. “He will be back with new motivation, like footballers who change teams for a while before returning to their own. The doors of this company will always be open to a man and a driver of his quality. His name is linked to Ferrari I want to thank him for his contribution over the eight years he spent with us.”
The speech was interrupted by a long round of applause, ending with a standing ovation. There was much applause for Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa too. Montezemolo presented the Brazilian with an engine from the F2008, while Felipe wanted Montezemolo to have the special helmet dedicated to Ferrari, which he wore in the last Brazilian Grand Prix.
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