This weekend, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo He gave a long interview to the Sky Sport microphones, where he left several outstanding phrases about the current situation of Ferrari and about some episodes that occurred during his time as head of the Ferrari team.
The 72-year-old Italian businessman spent more than 30 years working in the team that he chaired from the early 90s until 2014 and was the first president who managed to give the team financial security. “I miss the people, the environment … I joined in 1973 as an assistant to Enzo Ferrari. With Niki Lauda we won in 1975, we lost half a point the following year and then we won again. I spent 30 years at Ferrari, therefore half the life of the company and mine. I have won 19 championships with many pilots, between pilots and manufacturersNormally, I really like that environment. “
Montezemolo’s mandate is associated with the name of Michael Schumacher, who had already won two titles in Benetton when he arrived at the red team, where he would obtain five more championships and the nickname of Kaiser of Formula 1. The businessman acknowledged that in 1996 the German was received with skepticism: “It was at the beginning, but I was convinced of what I was doing because the time was right. Two years before we didn’t have the car to win and Michael came after a great job and when he was able to make a difference.
The 72-year-old Italian said that Schumi had made a special request that he ignored at the time, but that time understood that the former pilot was right: “Sebastian Vettel could have made it to Ferrari earlier. Schumacher had tried by all means to convince us to sign him, before his transition from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, but at that time we still saw him as immature and we preferred (Fernando) Alonso “.
“Fernando, excluding certain aspects of character, achieved some great victories with us and lost the title twice in the last race,” he said.
Regarding the German who is now hospitalized under strict supervision of his family, he made no other mention. It is worth remembering that in January 2019, before the Rai Sport microphones, he declared: “Only I know that Michael is fighting, that he has great determination and a wonderful family around him.”
Apparently, Montezemolo did not listen too much to the advice of his relatives, because as he revealed this weekend, he had also been warned about the ability of Lewis Hamilton, today winner of six world championships with Mercedes, five of them consecutive. “I once talked about Hamilton with Lauda, when he said he wanted to take it from McLaren to Mercedes, but we weren’t looking for a driver at the time. The right time never came to bring Lewis in. “
However, the thorn that still hurts the former president of the Ferrari team is not Hamilton. When asked about any repentance, he did not hesitate: “Not having brought Ayrton Senna. He came to my house in Bologna before the Imola accident and told me that he wanted to run with us at all costs and get rid of Williams.. We agreed to speak after Imola, but then it happened … He wanted to come to us and I would have loved to have him. It would have been the icing on the cake, which was then Michael Schumacher who entered the history of Ferrari because nobody did what he did.
On May 1, 1994, during the San Marino Grand Prix, the Brazilian driver lost control of his car at the Tamburello curve and lost his life after crashing into one of the walls. That fatal outcome marked forever the history of Formula 1 since at that time the driver was the greatest figure in world motorsport and is still considered by several experts as the best of all time.
Since the departure of Montezemolo, the Italian brand has not managed to succeed again. Now, he is excited with the addition of Charles Leclerc, who arrived in 2019 and after a year of consolidation he will seek to strike: “He is very strong. We already saw it with Alfa Romeo, where it was very fast and made few mistakes. Now, however, we must ask ourselves if he can live with Vettel. It will be a delicate subject for Binotto (engineer). We must speak clearly to the drivers and explain that they are not running for themselves, but for Ferrari“
The resignation of the Italian businessman will be marked because in the same press conference in which the decision was announced, Sergio Marchionne, who owned 90% of the shares of the Maranello brand and was confirmed as its replacement, assured that the economic successes that his predecessor had achieved were not enough, they also needed titles (The last one had been obtained by Kimi Raikkonen in 2007). “No one is indispensable,” he remarked.
Ferrari has yet to conquer a championship again.