Ferrari held its traditional pre-Christmas gathering at Maranello for the employees of the company and its president Luca di Montezemolo presented outgoing driver Felipe Massa with a 2008 engine, which almost carried him to the world championship that year.
He thanked the team for all its hard work, but laced it with a warning, that the failure to develop the car after a strong start to the season, must not happen again, it was not, he said,
“The sort of season we would have wished for, especially after a positive start, that we all hoped would continue. In part, that was definitely down to some external factors, but it was mainly down to us not bringing the necessary updates to the track, a mistake we must not repeat.”
“I for one am definitely sick of coming second: we have the ability, the competence and the spirit to return to the top step of the podium. Each one of you must work with great determination and take pole position in your own jobs: that’s what’s I’m asking of all of you.”
With all the signs being clear, despite protestations to the contrary, that Fernando Alonso and his team have fallen out of love with each other this year, reaching its zenith with the public “ear tweaking” administered by Montezemolo in July, followed soon after by the hiring of Kimi Raikkonen, against the Spaniard’s wishes, the president inevitably had a word for his errant lead driver,
“Over the past few years, Fernando has given his all and he deserves to have a competitive car with which he can win a World Championship with the Reds. I can understand his occasional moments of frustration, which we all share, but I am sure he is well aware what Ferrari represents and because of that, he will be even keener to give it his best shot.”
Some marriages can survive moments of fiery disagreement, kiss and make up. One of the key questions of 2014 is whether Alonso’s marriage with Ferrari is one such.