Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have taken time out from their preparations for the Hungarian Grand Prix to experience first-hand the devastation the two deadly earthquakes in northern Italy earlier this year had on the lives of local people.
In May two large earthquakes inside the space of 10 days hit the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, of which Ferrari’s Maranello base is situated, killing 23 people, leaving thousands homeless and destroying both historic buildings and businesses to the estimated cost of £3.83bn in damage.
Two months on from the disasters, 13,000 people continue to live in tented camps and emergency accommodation and Alonso and Massa today visited one such camp in Cavezzo in the area of Bassa Modenese, as well as the ‘red zone’ in Mirandola where many historic buildings and monuments were destroyed.
Ferrari, whose headquarters are located less than 50km away from the where the earthquakes hit, has already raised £1.4 million through an online auction for the disaster fund and Alonso today the families present at the camp: “We felt the need to come to see you in such a difficult time for you because, even if we are physically nearby, we are also with you in our thoughts. We want to make you feel the support of the drivers and everyone at Ferrari because we are with you and you shouldn’t forget that.”
The two drivers then got to see the direct physical impact of the earthquakes in the town of Mirandola, one of the hardest hit locations, where the historic centre which contained buildings dating back to the 15th century remains cordoned off for the local people.
Massa said: “To see what has happened with our own eyes is very moving. “Here time has stood still but it must get back going again as soon as possible.”