Just forty-eight hours after the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo found himself facing the dreaded Italian media.
In the wake of the team's failure not only to halt Red Bull, previously mocked by Montezemolo as an energy drink manufacturer, but to hold on to the runner-up spot, the Italian media is unlikely to be in a forgiving mood in terms of what is seen as the nation's team.
Tonight, saw Montezemolo being questioned by RAI Uno's reporter Marco Franzelli, the Ferrari president covering a number of topics.
Asked about 2013, he was quick to admit that it was... "Definitely a year to forget, a disappointing season. There were three main reasons and they're clearly marked in my mind. The first was an inability to develop the car in the second half of the season: I want explanations as to why, because if we don't understand the reasons, then that's not good. The second is the tyres, although I'm not looking to make excuses. We built a car to work with certain tyres, with which we proved to be very competitive. Then the tyres were changed, definitely proving to be a disadvantage for us and an advantage for others. Furthermore, there was an interpretation of the rules from one team, which one has to say was a bit strange and which incurred a punishment that, to say the least, had a touch of the Pontius Pilate about it.
"As for the first reason, we will discuss that among ourselves, regarding the second, we will talk about it in the most suitable places.
"Finally, we missed Massa's points for the Constructors' championship. Now we must find out exactly what happened this year and work better towards the next one."
Asked about Ferrari's political clout, something many within and outside the sport, are uneasy with, he said: "This story has been doing the rounds since I worked with Enzo Ferrari in the Seventies. We have reached an agreement with Ecclestone and the FIA and we are the only team with the right of veto: more political weight than that is impossible! We are aware of our strength in Formula 1, which without us, would be completely different. Having said that, it's true that weight also comes from having a winning car and that was lacking. The rest is all gossip."
And with that in mind, he was asked about the sport's 'rulers', (FIA president) Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone.
"Todt will be reconfirmed and I expect strong changes, because for too many years the Federation has always been the same and, as in everything, a change is required," he said. "Having said that, a strong sporting authority is always a priority for Ferrari. Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I'm happy he still has the desire to do so…"
On Felipe Massa's penalty at Interlagos, Montezemolo remained just as feisty... "I think it was disproportionate and unjust, as was Hamilton's," he said. "If Felipe had stayed in fourth place, we would have been second in the Constructors' championship. Every so often, the gentlemen who come to the races to act as Stewards make decisions that are a bit ridiculous and anachronistic. One needs to be careful that we maintain credibility, for the work of the teams that invest money and for the drivers who risk their lives."
Though he had to be content with runner-up in the championship, 155 points adrift of Sebastian Vettel, for many Fernando Alonso remains the stand-out driver. Montezemolo agrees.
"He is right to be proud of second place: he had a great season. We must give him a quicker car and he will get the most out of it. Eight out of ten, instead of ten? My eight is worth a ten because it's a score I give as an incentive: I hope to give it him next year and to give an eight, at least, to the team. For next year I would like to present him with a car that's even better than Red Bull. Let's not forget we know how to do that: one only has to think of the five year period from 2000 to 2004 and the wins in 2007 and 2008. I thank him for all his efforts and the determination he showed this year and for the fact he would have been prepared to let Massa get onto the podium last Sunday back in Brazil, as it testifies to the nice atmosphere in our team.
"Newey isn't his opponent," he continued, "there are the drivers, starting with Vettel, then Hamilton and Rosberg, who has improved a lot, and there's Raikkonen who will be trying to win, which will give us a boost and should bring the points we were missing this year."
Speaking of which, despite the warnings of others, Montezemolo envisages no problem with his fire and ice(man) partnership in 2014.