Ferrari President Montezemolo defends decision to keep Massa for 2013
By Berthold Bouman
During the annual Christmas press meeting in Maranello, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo defended his choice to keep Felipe Massa for 2013. “The Brazilian improved a great deal in the second half: in fact in the first part, it seemed he’d gone on a round the world holiday,” Montezemolo said jokingly.
But he added, “Joking apart, I think the decision to reconfirm his position was the right one: if we had changed, then one would need to take on someone who would make a difference and I can’t say I noticed many drivers around who would be quicker than Felipe.” And he is of course right, it would probably take months for another driver to get used to the famous Scuderia Ferrari, and Montezemolo indeed did not have any alternatives.
But, of course, there’s more to it, as Ferrari firmly believes in team spirit, and the Ferrari boss therefore said, “Also, we did not want to change the balance and the good atmosphere within the team. Domenicali and I told ourselves it was best to wait and I think that the facts proved us right. Towards the end, when Felipe was even faster than Fernando a couple of times, the points he scored played a vital part in securing our place in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Felipe Massa played a vital role in the Constructors’ Championship
About championship runner-up Fernando Alonso Montezemolo said, “The Spaniard is a mix of Lauda and Schumacher: like the former, he has the ability to drive every race lap as though it was qualifying, like the latter, he has the intelligence to know when it’s time to push and when it’s time to look after the car.”
But he lamented Alonso’s bad luck, “Fernando went on holiday at the start of the summer break with a 40 point lead over his closest challenger and because, when it came to collisions we were forced to retire, while others kept going as if nothing had happened.” But he also admitted the car was just not fast enough, “The biggest regret is that we did not have a car that was quick enough to win the World Championship.”
And indeed, Ferrari finished second in both championships this year, but they are no quitters, “Once again this season we were contenders. We must start from this positive point,” concluded Montezemolo. “If we succeed and improve our performance then we can be winners!”