Massa and Alonso star at Ferrari World Finals
16 November, 2009
Ferrari celebrates in Valencia
On Sunday the whole world of Ferrari went onto Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit to celebrate the end of the motorsport season together with the fans of the Prancing Horse. Included in the “who is who” of Ferrari were their two 2010 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. At its debut on the Spanish track, the 16th edition of this traditional event usually connected to the home race tracks, the F430 taking part in the Italian, European and North American series of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli went onto the track to fight for the world title, while the historical cars from the Shell Historic Challenge held this season’s conclusive race. Apart from the exciting final stages of the motorsport season the spectators could follow the free practice sessions of the historical cars maintained by the F1 Clienti department in Maranello and the Ferrari FXX part of the development programme bearing the same name.
Show with a bonus: Alonso’s debut at Ferrari
Fernando Alonso’s first time at a Ferrari event was carried by the great enthusiasm from the fans present at the Ricardo Tormo di Cheste circuit near Valencia. Under an almost summery sun more than 17,000 spectators came on the conclusive day to watch the Finali Mondiali, the traditional event of the Prancing Horse held since 1994 at the end of the motorsport season.
Today was the first day when the whole 2010 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro came together: next to Alonso there were Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Marc Gené and Luca Badoer. Fernando’s public debut as a Ferrarista started with an entertaining episode. When the Spanish driver, on board of a Ferrari California with his future teammate Felipe and driven by Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, tried to get as close to the grandstands in turn 1 as possible, the car got stuck in the gravel of the run-off area. Therefore the spectators got a good view and enough time to greet their local hero. The trio was “rescued” by the second California on the track, driven
by the President of the Comunità Valenciana, Fernando Camps, with Valencia’s mayor Rita Barberà on board. Once the three guests had been collected the light blue car drove back to the box and the passengers went for a walk onto the track along the main straight. “This is a very important day for me, because here I can understand what the world of Ferrari is really like,” Fernando told the spectators. “In 2010 I hope to fight for the World Title together with Felipe and that all the fans can be proud of us and our professionalism.”
Special day for Felipe Massa
If it was Fernando Alonso’s first participation in the Finali Mondiali Ferrari, it wasn’t Felipe Massa’s debut, but it definitely was a special day for him. The Brazilian driver, was back behind the wheel of “his” single-seater, the F60 he had to leave after his accident in Budapest on 25 July. It wasn’t the first time Felipe sat behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car since his accident. He drove several laps in Fiorano on 12 October, but this was just an appetiser. Today he was driving
in front of the Ferrari fans, which had a special flair to it. “I am very happy to be here, that I can work with the team,” sais Felipe. “It’s true that I’ve been with them in Sao Paulo and in Abu Dhabi, but driving is really extraordinary! Today I also want to thank all the fans, who were really close to me over the last months. The messages I received were wonderful. Lets hope that we can give our fans some satisfaction in 2010: Fernando and I rally want to be the best couple in Formula 1.”
Felipe drove around 20 laps, first with his teammates Gené, Fisichella and Badoer and later on, after a couple of pit stops, alone, before finishing with a parade together with the other Formula 1 single-seaters and the F430 GTs from the AF Corse and Risi Competizione team, the winners of the Constructor’s and Teams’ titles in the FIA GT and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans respectively
“It was fantastic and I am so happy. Although I could drive just a little, I really
enjoyed being here,” the Brazilian driver said at the end of the show. “I am very motivated: this today for me is like victory. It was just like before the accident at the Hungaroring.”
“Felipe has an incredible taste for victory,” Rob Smedley, his track engineer, who today was in charge at the symbolic Scuderia pitwall, added. “This is another small step ahead in the preparations for his return to racing. The lap times? I didn’t pay attention to them.”
Felipe immediately ran off to the airport, where he got on of a plane taking him back to Sao Paulo, where his wife Raffaela is waiting for him, while engaged in her very own Grand Prix, which will end very soon – this or next week – with the birth of a son, who will bear his father’s name.
Montezemolo: “Felipe and Fernando, the best drivers in F1″
A satisfied Luca di Montezemolo left the Ricardo Tormo di Cheste circuit near Valencia at the end of the show by the Formula 1 single-seaters, the final act at the Finali Mondiali. “I am very satisfied by this day. We were warmheartedly received by the fans and there were numerous clients, who didn’t want to miss this event, coming here from all over the world,” the Ferrari Chairman said. “Things like this make us proud to be part of the Ferrari family, a group of incredible people, who build dream cars and who never give up.”
Naturally Montezemolo made some reference to the next Formula 1 season: “For me Felipe and Fernando are the best drivers couple in Formula 1. I am convinced that they both will be very motivated and will want to win. I am not worried about having two Latin drivers, which may be for the first time in our history. They both know very well that first of all they are racing for Ferrari and not for themselves. I enjoy reminding you that here we have a real team spirit; not just in words but in reality: an example is the relationship we have with a person like Michael Schumacher, who this year didn’t hesitate to be available to help the team in a difficult moment.”