“I liked this presentation,” was Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo’s opening remark to a crowd of journalists immediately after the F138 launch. “I felt a special atmosphere, right from the start of the morning when I left my home in Bologna. We had not seen fog here for a long time and it reminded me of the 1997 presentation, the year when Ferrari began its winning cycle.
“During the ceremony, I was moved by the tribute to the Avvocato Agnelli, someone who was very important in my life and whom I miss a lot, a man who was of fundamental importance to Ferrari on so many occasions, at the race track and in the factory.
“Apart from my family, Ferrari is the most important thing in my life and every time I walk into the factory, even after all these years, it puts me in a good mood and I continue to get new stimuli and ideas. Today’s presentation went off with good spirit and passion and I’m pleased about that.”
Asked about the technical characteristics of the F138, the President had this to say: “yesterday afternoon, I saw it and I defined it as “hopeful,” because I noted plenty of attention to detail, especially in areas where aerodynamics are key. Why should I hope this car is competitive right from the first race? The answer is threefold. Firstly, because of the obsessively detailed review of the past season, secondly, the major changes to the organisation and work methodology and thirdly, the concentration on just one wind tunnel, which will be important, especially throughout this season. Track testing is not available to us, something many would like to see reintroduced, so we have concentrated more on simulation tools. Bringing an experienced driver like De la Rosa to Maranello is part of this strategy and attention to detail.”
The conversation switched to engines, given that 2013 is the final year for the V8. “A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition and in the name of the F138, we are paying homage to the 8 cylinder engine and the fact this is the last year we will use it. I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with 8 cylinders. But the decision has been taken to build the V6 and if next year, there will be modifications that are in the best interests of Formula 1, then I will even be pleased to see this engine at work and in fact, I’m sure Ferrari is capable of building the strongest V6 in the world.”
Asked why Alonso was not taking part in the first test at Jerez, the President said, “the decision not to run Fernando in the first week at Jerez was dictated by the wish to allow him to stick to a very precise physical training programme. However, for the Barcelona test, attention will switch to performance, which is why Fernando will start then, rather than the first few days.”
As for the wind tunnel, Montezemolo set out the reasons for not using the one in Maranello. “We had our doubts as to the correlation of data from the wind tunnel and the track, therefore we decided to close the Maranello wind tunnel, to update it while concentrating only on the Toyota wind tunnel. This will be important, especially in the coming months for the development of the car. I hope that, after the summer break, the rebuilt wind tunnel will open again here at Ferrari.” As for the idea of Vettel driving for Ferrari, Montezemolo said that it was not possible to have the German teamed with Alonso. As for the third driver, the choice is between De la Rosa and Bianchi and the question is under discussion at the moment.
With the drivers and Domenicali alongside him, the President chose to highlight the importance of the sponsors, such as up market brands like Swiss watchmaker Hublot, the Russian high-tech company Kaspersky and for the first time a Chinese sponsor, Weichai Power. “Our team was becoming Spanish with Gene and De la Rosa and we wanted to increase the presence of the Italian flag at Ferrari to show how important is our country and our roots to us.”