Despite the disappointment of losing the Drivers' World Championship at the final corner of the race in Brazil on Sunday, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was pleased to reach the milestone of the marque's 16th Constructors' championship, and an eighth in ten years. Speaking following the dramatic race yesterday, di Montezemolo focused on the positives of 2008.
“Ferrari's winning its 16th Constructors' World title since its foundation is an important milestone not only because it is the fruit of the work put in by the team and the drivers throughout the entire Championship, but also because we will once again be able to put the World Champion symbol on our Grand Tourers,” began the Italian. “Winning for the eighth time in 10 years - a feat unequalled at world level in any other team sport - proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what an extraordinary group we are.”
Luca paid tribute to the Ferrari team for their efforts over the course of the season, and for securing the constructors' championship, despite numerous changes of the past few seasons. 2008 also marked Stefano Domenicali's first year as Team Principal. “We won thanks to a team that has undergone many profound changes over the last two years, changes that have brought on many young people from inside the Company. There were mistakes and difficult times but we responded to both by remaining united and refusing to give in. For that I thank GES Director Stefano Domenicali and his entire team of collaborators.”
On the drivers' side of things, di Montezemolo was quick to offer his thoughts to Massa, having seen the drivers' championship slide away seconds after crossing the finish line. The Italian also praised his maturity and sportsmanship. “We have two great drivers in Felipe and Kimi also, and they deserve all our compliments for a job well done. Felipe in particular is in my thoughts as he crossed the finish line yesterday as world champion only to see the title slip through his fingers a few seconds later. I can only imagine how painful that moment must have been for him. However, I would like to give him my very special compliments, not only for dominating the running out there on the track in front of his fans, proving he is worthy indeed of the world title, but also for his maturity and sportsmanship off the track. He's a great champion and a great man.”
In conclusion, Di Montezemolo also congratulated F1's newest and youngest world champion, believing that the title was well deserved, however slim the margin of victory. “Lastly, I would like to send my congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, the youngest ever world champion in the history of Formula 1. He was a very powerful rival indeed and his win, close though it was, was well deserved. He'll have the number 1 on his car next season, but he can rest assured of one thing: we'll be doing our very best to put it back on a Ferrari.”
“In all my years in Formula 1, I haven't seen such an incredibly exciting finish to a championship,” said Luca. “I always said that we'd be fighting until the last corner of the last Grand Prix and that's exactly what happened at the end of a brilliantly tense competition.”