Luca di Montezemolo has used his traditional post-victory speech to Ferrari’s F1 employees to stress to the team the need to stay realistic over its competitiveness and respond to the impressive step forward made by Red Bull in Valencia.
Fernando Alonso’s latest against-the-odds victory of the season last weekend, and retirements for his main two title rivals, meant the Spaniard opened up nearly the points equivalent of a race victory at the top of the drivers’ championship despite Ferrari still not having the fastest car. The Italian outfit’s president, however, is not losing sight of the bigger picture and admits he is “worried” about how things might have developed by the time of the summer break in August, particular in wake of lap-time improvements rival Red Bull found with its latest package of updates.
The world champion team focused on wholesale improvements to the rear of the RB8 to improve stability and, although pleased by his team’s second victory of the season, Montezemolo acknowledged that while “today we have a competitive car, but to win, we must do even more.”
“I am worried and all of us should be,”Montezemolo said in Maranello on Wednesday. “Yes, I am worried, because I expect three very tough races at Silverstone, Hockenheim and Budapest and because we have seen that Red Bull is very strong, having had four tenths in hand over everyone in qualifying and in the race it was flying away, at least until the Safety Car. If we want to achieve our goals then we must make a step forward.”
Amid calling for rounds of applauses from the staff for Alonso – about who Montezemolo said “rarely have I seen him make so many overtaking moves and show such extraordinary determination” and Ferrari’s consistently impressive pit-stop record this season, the Italian also singled out special praise for team principal Stefano Domenicali for the way the Italian has steered the team through the difficulties of the very early races of the season.
“Stefano Domenicali has never shirked his responsibilities, even acting as a lightning conductor for all the criticism, protecting his people, while at the same time knowing how to demand the maximum effort, how to build a team and look to the future in a positive way and with the right sense of realism. He deserves it,” Montezemolo added.