Having finished outside the top-two for the third successive season, it fell to Luca di Montezemolo to rally his Ferrari troops as the Italian team reflects on 2011 and looks ahead to 2012.
Yesterday saw the Ferrari team's Christmas lunch when all the men and women who work on the racing side of the Maranello company, gathered in the Logistics building, along with the drivers and representatives from sponsors and suppliers.
In total, there were over a thousand people present, and all eager to mark not only the festive season but Montezemolo's twenty years as Ferrari president. The occasion was celebrated with a film that told the story of these past two decades, its good times and the more difficult moments.
“It’s the best present I could get,” said Montezemolo when the film ended. “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. 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. Others still have chosen to move on, such as Jean Todt: 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.”
His words were punctuated by applause and there was further appreciation when Stefano Domenicali recalled the memory of the late Pasquale Danza, described by the Team Principal as a symbol of the passion and dedication that drives the people who work at Ferrari.
The Christmas festivities provided an opportunity for the usual look back at the year just ended, but more importantly, a look ahead to the future. “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,” said Montezemolo. “Work is going on in all areas to improve: from the design of the new car, to the simulation work, from preparing for the pit stops, to the starts and so on. 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, it will come from the ability to be perfect, to start from pole position and that ability is the strength of this company. Behind amazing products there are amazing men and women.
“All the ingredients are in place to start winning again,” he continued. “Great things are also expected from our drivers for next season. 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. 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 1 win. What I like about our drivers is their ability to work with the team: I knew that about Felipe and it was a pleasant surprise to find out the same applied to Fernando. I don’t like drivers who turn up at the track with their briefcase and do not share in the daily life of the team: they are not Ferrari people.
“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,” he concluded. “Winning depends on us, not on others. We have all we need, starting with the suppliers and exceptional partners such as Philip Morris, Santander and Shell, to name just the main ones. I cannot wait to once again share good times with all of you.”
Today is another important day in the life of Ferrari, for the Fiorano track will be the scene of the party for the families of all the employees.