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Sun, 31 January, 2010I prompted Schumacher return - Montezemolo

  • Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari President. Ferrari F10 launch. Maranello, Italy. Thursday 28 January 2010. © Ferrari.
  • Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) FOTA Chairman speaks at the podium. Formula One Teams Association press conference. Geneva, Switzerland. Thursday 5 March 2009. © FOTA.
  • Luca di Montezemolo (ITA) Ferrari President. Ferrari F2008 shakedown test. Fiorano, Italy. Monday 7 January 2008. © Ferrari.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has acknowledged that he was the original architect in Michael Schumacher's highly-publicised F1 return this year, having pushed for the German champion to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari last summer. A neck injury subsequently ruled Schumacher out of that particular return, but just over four months later he announced he would drive for Mercedes GP in 2010, ending his 14-year association with the Italian marque.

“I like Schumacher and I'm this misdeed's author,” di Montezemolo admitted at a press conference during the launch of Ferrari's F10. “It was me who woke his desire to come back to racing and honestly I never thought I'd see him in a car that wasn't a Ferrari. He's a competitor, an opponent, like many others. I'm not worried about the possibility that he might have taken material from our development.”

Nevertheless, di Montezemolo was delighted to have secured the services of Fernando Alonso, having originally targetted him for 2007, as an alternative to Kimi Räikkönen. “When Ferrari decided in 2005 to take Räikkönen the alternative was Alonso, who now finds himself in a fundamental moment of his life. He's matured, young and strong; he has won two World Championships, one in 2005 and one in 2006, beating us 100%.

“We don't have any problem as far as our drivers are concerned. We have Massa, who is back with further enthusiasm, we have Alonso I just told you about and then we have Fisichella as the third driver and two very experienced test drivers: Marc Gene and Luca Badoer.”

Continuing on the subject of drivers, di Montezemolo didn't rule out the possibility of MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi joining the team in the future, believing that the Italian is a future F1 champion. “He's a friend and an undisputed champion, from Emilia-Romagna, a great fan of Formula 1 and engines, and also a potential Formula 1 Champion. If there was the possibility in 2011 and he wanted to do it and had the possibility for testing and adapting to F1, then why not?”

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