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Xmas at Ferrari

NEWS STORY
15/12/2013

We've all been there, The long, long, long Christmas lunch has finally come to an end. Everyone is stuffed to the gills with chicken and a little light-headed having enjoyed a glass too many. Your eyelids are heavy and all you want to do is plonk yourself down in front of the TV and quietly nod off. Then, someone goes and spoils it all by insisting on making a speech... it's no exception at Maranello.

Following yesterday's traditional lunch, president Luca di Montezemolo slowly rose to his feet...

"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," he told the assembled team members. "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," he continued, "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."

Turning his attention to the team's 2013 drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, he continued: "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.

"It will do Felipe good to get out from Ferrari," said the Italian. "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 and ended with a standing ovation. There was much applause also for Alonso and 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 Brazilian Grand Prix.

"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 the clearly emotional Brazilian. "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."

"I look on you as my big brother," he continued, turning towards Stefano Domenicali. "I thank you for everything you have done for me and for the opportunities you and the President have given me."

Finally he turned to Alonso, smiled and joked about the 'he is quicker than you' incident during 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."

"It's never easy coming second, but we must look ahead." admitted Alonso. "Everyone always expects a lot from us. 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!"

Due to spend much of today (Sunday) on the simulator, let's hope 'Fer' didn't imbibe too much yesterday.

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