If the tifosi are properly represented on social media, then we can assume few of the red team’s fans are mourning the loss of the ex-Ferrari chairman.
Yet Luca de Montezemolo was the man who dragged Ferrari out of the doldrums in the 1990’s by recruiting Michael Schumacher, Rory Byrne, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt. This ushered in an era of unprecedented dominance of Formula One by any team in the history of the sport.
To an Italian motorsport fan, Luca de M. is the spiritual heir of Enzo Ferrari.
But time and tide wait for no man, and since Malaysia 2015, the tifosi now acknowledge – the King of the Scuderia is dead – long live King Arrivabene.
What a difference a win makes.
But had the SF15-T morphed into the son of Satan – ‘666’ as was leaked by Ferrari personnel during last autumn – maybe the fans of the red team would feel differently. But in the present, Luca will be remembered for his unparalleled achievements – but ‘the now’ – belongs to the charismatic man from Marlborough.
Meanwhile the eloquent and distinguished Montezemolo remains part of the F1 fixtures and fittings following his appointment by CVC to the board of the Formula One Group of companies. And Luca continues to speak his mind, recently calling for CVC to build a team of ‘competence’ around Ecclestone, in order that the sport may be managed better.
Whilst the transition of power in Maranello is now moving along smoothly, the pain associated with ruthless manner in which Luca was betrayed, must still linger.
“Ferrari has been lucky this year”, Luca declares to La Repubblica. Montezemolo reminds us all that this Scuderia racing machine entry, was the fruit of his loins. Il Padrino though does cordially thank his successors. “Marchionne and [Maurizio] Arrivabene have done very well, we should congratulate them, but I honestly think they’ve been lucky”.
It’s not necessary to resort to sentimentality to recognise credit should be noted, where credit is due – and Il Padrino alone recruited the people who designed and built the 2015 Ferrari. Luca had begun a revolution long before Mr. Good Hello slipped out of his smoking jacket and into the red overalls.
The ex-Ferrari president reveals an interesting story from over a year ago, during winter testing in Jerez 2014. He called the recently departed Felipe Massa to congratulate him on securing a drive with the Williams team.
Massa cryptically observed, “Mr. President – the disaster is not just the engine.” Montezemolo states in that instant he knew 2014 was gone. Il Padrino’s response was to call Stefano Domenicali to immediately start the 2015 project.
In true Italian style the coded detail creates a story whose narration has mystical properties, yet the intention is clear. This narrative is rooted in Montezemolo’s need to claim recognition and for self-justification.
Further, Luca is stating, the Ferrari V6 Turbo Hybrid engine was not the problem in 2014.
But there is a touch of the unnecessary to all this raking over old coals; stating the obvious and fighting a battle which has been now lost. This does not represent the Montezemolo we ought to remember.
And by means of comparison, another great man left Formula One in the same year as Luca. But from this man – we’ve heard nothing for over twelve months.
This man knows his legacy speaks for itself.