DESPITE THE FACT THAT LUCA CONTINUES TO PUSH FOR NEW BLOOD AT THE TOP OF THE FOM CIRCUS
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo plans to remain in charge of the Italian Formula One team even if he decides to run for a seat in the Italian Parliament.
Di Montezemolo has not yet made his plans clear but is gathering support for Prime Minister Mario Monti for another term in office.
The Ferrari boss, who met Monti before Thursday’s annual end-of-season address, acknowledged Thursday that it would be hard to combine the two roles, but said it’s possible.
“I did it when I was President of Fiat and (Italian employers’ federation) Confindustria,” he said. “The first three tears were really hard, I don’t know how I did it. But I managed to. For me, Ferrari remains fundamental.”
Ferrari had a disappointing end to this season as Fernando Alonso lost out on the title to Sebastian Vettel in the last race, while the Italian outfit also finished second to Red Bull in the constructors’ championships.
“There is the regret that we lost the title in the last race,” Di Montezemolo said. “That we let slip an advantage that was over 50 points in August.
“However, the biggest regret is we did not have a car that was quick enough to win the title. So now we have to interpret the rules in a more aggressive and extreme manner. We have to be less conservative.”
Alonso has described 2012 as his best season after managing to keep Ferrari in the hunt despite having a less competitive car than McLaren or Red Bull.
Although the Spaniard did not win a race after the German GP in July, he was consistent the rest of the year, reaching the podium in seven of the final eight races.
“Alonso had an extraordinary season,” Di Montezemolo said. “Fernando called it his best season, let’s hope that next year he can say that it is our best season, not only his. We want to give him and Felipe (Massa) a car that’s competitive right from the start. Again this season we were contenders. We must start from this positive point.
“On the glass half full side, we had amazing reliability which allowed us to come second in the constructors’ championship despite the fact McLaren was quicker than us and despite the fact that, in the first half of the season, we pretty much only had Alonso’s points to count on.”
Massa hasn’t won a race since a life-threatening accident at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2009 and it looked as if his contract would not be renewed following a dismal start to the season.
However, the Brazilian showed signs of a return to form in the second half of the season.
“The Brazilian improved a great deal in the second half. In the first part it seemed he’d gone on a round-the-world holiday!” Di Montezemolo said. “Joking apart, 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.
“Also, we did not want to change the balance and the good atmosphere within the team. (Team principal Stefano) Domenicali and I told ourselves it was best to wait and I think the facts proved us right. Towards the end, when Felipe was even faster than Fernando a couple of times.”