There has been quite a bit of chatter in Italy in the past couple of weeks about Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo considering running for office backed by his “Italia Futura” group of leading Italian industrialists, entrepreneurs and thinkers.
But Montezemolo says it’s not the right moment to enter the Italian political scene and that he does not want to leave Ferrari.
The members of Italia Futura are urging him to seize the moment and come to the rescue of the country. He however appears to be pushing back on this, saying, that he will not go into politics, at least not at this time.
At the same time he says that “I feel the need to do something for my country. And I believe that like me there are many Italians who what to improve a country which deserves more. Italia Futura was born for this.”
But at the moment, it is just a movement, a forum for new ideas and discussions about the country Italy should be.
Having presided over the rebirth of Ferrari as an F1 team and as a profitable car manufacturer Montezemolo is synonymous with making “Made in Italy” something to be proud of in terms of quality manufacturing and technology. He was also the head of the organising committee of the Italia 90 World Cup, which was a huge success. But will he stake that reputation in the bear pit of Italian politics?
I’ve been looking into this story over the last few days and it seems that time is the commodity Montezemolo feels he is short of. To have a proper run at it he needs more time to build his powerbase and assemble a political party, as he would need to do if he were to challenge in an election with a chance of getting a majority or at least a coalition with one other party. His strategists are concerned that if he were to go for it now, he’d end up in another messy Italian coalition government of the kind which they have seen plenty of in the past.
There is no doubt that Montezemolo has been talking a lot about his vision for Italy and about what is wrong with the country at the moment, calling for change and flexing his political muscles recently and that is one of the reasons why he was attacked by a minister, Roberto Calderoli, who is part of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition, after Ferrari’s failure to win the F1 championship in Abu Dhabi. Calderoli tried to cause maximum embarrassment for Montezemolo, calling for his resignation.
In today’s La Repubblica newspaper, Berlusconi’s comment on Montezemolo was, “Some people talk and others get things done. We get things done.”
Berlusconi wants Montezemolo to get into the political arena aligned to a political party, so he can take him on at the ballot box. He feels it’s not fair for him to attack the government from the outside with no stake in the process, which is what is happening at the moment. Montezemolo does not have a party, only a movement, Italia Futura, which talks about a “renaissance” for Italy, a “reconstruction” of a country which is “bogged down”.
But Montezemolo keeps saying that he does not want to get into politics and that he does not want to leave Ferrari, so you have to take what he says at face value.
According to my best sources in Italy, for the moment, there is nothing to suggest that he is about to change his role.
Montezemolo this week officially opened the Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi accompanied by Felipe Massa and a bearded Fernando Alonso.