Anyone who has followed F1 with the slightest interest will know that Italy take their motor sport seriously and Ferrari represent all that is Italian about the sport. The team and country are one. They live and breathe together in harmony. They share joy in victory and sorrow in defea…well, actually they may not share in defeat.
A few days ago, some politicians in Italy were calling for heads to roll at Maranello…namely president Luca di Montezemolo’s. It seems the country has taken the loss pretty hard and Statesmen have shared their thoughts regarding Ferrari’s “demented strategy” that saw them lose the World Drivers Championship.
Roberto Calderoli, a minister from the Northern League party, was very critical of the team and it left Montezemolo in a defensive mood on Ferrari’s website:
“When the statesman Calderoli will achieve in his life one percent of what Ferrari has done for this country in terms of industry and sports, then he’ll deserve an answer,”
Pierro Ferrari also chimed in saying:
“It has never happened in my entire life at Ferrari that politicians intervened during good and bad moments in our life in motorsport, and I want it to stay like this,” he added.
“But if we want to have a look at how much Ferrari has done for Italy’s image around the world, then I can only say that it is definitely much more than certain politics have done.”
It’s not easy to lose a title by four points and that’s how many Fernando Alonso needed to see his third championship secured. It was not to be. Team boss Stefano Domenicali perhaps said it best in defending Ferrari’s position:
“It’s like when you get to the final of the football World Cup and it goes to penalties: if you manage to put away all five spotkicks you’re a hero — if you miss one you’re a donkey,” he said.
“We will have to know how to accept that sport is a matter of victories and defeats and anyone who works in this field knows that well.
“It’s easy to curse those who miss their penalty on the last day of the championship but, perhaps, someone else let in a calamitous goal at the first match of the season,” added the Italian.
“The points are always worth the same, whether it’s the beginning or the end of the season.”
Domenicali is right, the season wasn’t lost in Abu Dhabi…then again it wasn’t saved either and Ferrari is in the business of winning and defending world titles from the clutches of less savory teams. That clearly didn’t happen and had every chance of being a reality in the minds of the Tifosi.
If you are Ferrari, you have to take the good and bad with being such a huge element in Italian history, culture and politics. I find it a little obtuse to think you could enjoy the passionate rage and dedication of the Italian people, sway with the Italian political system and support from the country’s cultural well-spring and not be held accountable. Sure, politicians calling for resignations are a little much but being called out on dodgy tactical choices is something I should think Ferrari could handle…after all, they did screw up the call and lose the championship.