Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insists that the Italian team made the right decision in retaining Felipe Massa for another season, despite his poor first half of the 2012 season.
Montezemolo insisted that there was no one available for 2013 who could have done a better job.
“The Brazilian improved a great deal in the second half,” he said at a media event in Italy. “In fact in the first part, it seemed he’d gone on a round the world holiday! Joking apart, I think the decision to reconfirm his position was the right one. If we had changed, then one would need to take on someone who would make a difference, and I can’t say I noticed many drivers around who would be quicker than Felipe.
“Also, we did not want to change the balance and the good atmosphere within the team. Domenicali and I told ourselves it was best to wait and I think that the facts proved us right. Towards the end, when Felipe was even faster than Fernando a couple of times, the points he scored played a vital part in securing our place in the Constructors’ championship.”
Regarding the championship as a whole, Montezemolo said there were positives and negatives.
“You can see the glass as half full or half empty, but clearly there is great regret. Because the outcome went down to the wire, because after that first lap in Brazil, maybe things could have turned out differently, because Fernando went on holiday at the start of the summer break with a 40 point lead over his closest challenger and because, when it came to collisions we were forced to retire, while others kept going as if nothing had happened. However, the biggest regret is that we did not have a car that was quick enough to win the World Championship.
“On the glass half full side, we had amazing reliability which allowed us to come second in the Constructors’ championship, despite the fact McLaren was quicker than us, and despite the fact that, in the first half of the season, we pretty much only had Alonso’s points to count on.
“There were those great starts and pit stops and the fact Fernando had an extraordinary season, the best since he has been in Formula 1. Next year, let’s hope we can say it was our best season, given that we want to give him and Felipe a car that’s competitive right from the start.”