Montezemolo: ‘The championship is in our hands’

2012 F1 season

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo issued a rallying call to Ferrari’s staff in the form of an open letter ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

Montezemolo told his team: “The championship is in our own hands.

“The championship is very open and so far, there has not been one dominant force.

“A series of circumstances and the work done here to improve the car, as well as [Fernando] Alonso’s great ability, has led to us leading the championship after five rounds.

“We must capitalise on that, with each one of us giving our very best at home and at the race track, including [Felipe] Massa who must bring home the results we expect from him.

“I know from [Stefano] Domenicali, with whom I am in constant contact, how hard all of you are working.

“Of this I am sure, also because winning the championship depends only and exclusively on ourselves: on our ability, our creativity, our determination and our desire to show that we are the best.”

After the first five races Alonso is tied in the lead of the drivers’ championship with Sebastian Vettel, both on 61 points.

Ferrari are fourth in the constructors’ championship, 46 points behind Red Bull.

2012 F1 season

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Montezemolo: ‘The championship is in our hands’”

  1. I must admit that it’s a great job ferrari have Alonso! He has proved time and again that with a mediocre car he can deliver decent points.. I am a huge McLaren fan but I will be the first to raise my hand and say that Alonso is one of the best (if not the best) driver on the grid..

    Who would have thought that at this stage in the game Ferrari would be leading the WDC? not me!!

    1. I wouldn’t say Ferrari has a mediocre car, Just look at webber and Vettel last year, did Reb Bull have a mediocre car and Vettel was just that awesome. I would argue, Massa just isnt up to the task, like Webber wasn’t last yer.

  2. I think Constructor’s Title chance is over unless they clone Alonso and get him drive 2nd car, but yeah, Alonso’s 3rd title is quite possible.

  3. Technically Fernando is not leading the championchip and I wouldn’t really say Ferrari is yet strong enough to claim the championchip is in their hands. Especially with so many different drivers and teams claiming victories this season.
    Alonso’s consistency however might definitely prove to be a key-factor.

    1. @dennis it’s in their hands because it depends purely on them at this point. They are tied in the lead, with a worse car than the others, so it’s up to them to improve it and capitalize from all the points they unexpectedly got in this 5 races.

      Though, as ever, Felipe Massa’s lack of sucess hurts Fernando’s title hopes too. If he could get in there, Alonso’s gains would be a lot more beneficial.

      1. I think it’s more up to the others to stumble over their own feet (like McLaren with Hamilton in Spain) and let Ferrari collect as many points as possible with a worse car.

        1. That’s a way from Ferrari to say that their sabotage at McLaren has been successfull and they bought enough of their mechanics ^^

          Once again a clear message to Massa, and for the rest I believe it is just to have some more fans back to the camber horse …

      2. True. But technically, its still in Pedro De La Rosa’s hands to win the title too.

        That may be a bit of an extreme example and I don’t mean to dismiss Alonso quite so easily, but I can’t see it myself unless their car is instantly a lot better. Alonso himself has said that the chaotic first few races will eventually settle down and a normal order will be resumed. I don’t really see Ferrari being near the top of that order, sadly for them.

        1. their pace in spain was encouraging…but we will see

  4. Constantly drawing attention to how poor Massa has been (over and over again) is probably not helping him. Maybe they just want him to continue doing terribly so they can get rid of him as quickly as possible without it looking unjustified.

    1. @matt90

      get rid of him as quickly as possible

      I think that ship has sailed. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable of them to drop him after 2010, never mind at the end of last year.

      1. Perhaps as quickly as possible as the current contract allows though (although why they even made a new contract for this year has to have been among the stupidest decisions the team has ever made).

        1. Nick.UK (@)
          22nd May 2012, 2:04

          @matt90 His contract will have a clause in it that allows for reasonable termination, probably one that is open to wide interpretation. Thus, they could sack him if they wanted to. If his contract doesn’t have a clause in it like that then Ferrari a seriously thick!

          1. I would love that clause to be: Not providing adequate performance.

            Then to prove it, they let Hamilton to drive a Ferrari and he will be faster than Alonso by 0.8 seconds…….oh well I’m just dreaming :)

            Ferrari got a good car, Alonso is as expected getting most out of it. Problem other top teams got two distinctive drivers who pushing each other all the time. Ferrari is trying to make Massa drive like Alonso, that is not encouragement.

      2. I’m actually quite intrigued to their reasons for keeping him this far. Ferrari regards the constructors championships very high not just the drivers championship. This is doing them no good at all this year and last 2 years with Massa’s lack of point scoring finishes. They probably have more insight in to Massa’s (lack of) performance than any of us.. But for this long time it’s remarkable he hasn’t been able to get on top of it if it’s something “minor”… I’m not gonna bet on him being at Ferrari 2013 at least.

  5. kowalsky is back
    21st May 2012, 15:14

    i have bet for alonso this year, and eventhough i see other cars better at this stage of the season, and there are other drivers faster than him. His consistency and skill to drive this critical tyres can play to his hand.
    I think time has caome for him to get his 3rd wdc. Only time will tell.
    If we had the old bridgestone, i wouldn’t have considered him. An all out type of driver like hamilton or vettel would take it.

  6. If Ferrari have a good car by the august break, Alonso will have a chance. It is a big ask to turn the F2012 around.

    1. Only if Massa or his replacement helps him. Otherwise, he has to be The superman which he has been so far but the season is long.

  7. @keithcollantine Your headline “The championship is in our hands” sounds a whole lot different from the real quote from Montezemolo “The championship is in our OWN hands”. I just hope the whole quote was used as the headline. Thanks.

    1. @omardelacruz In your view, what is the difference in meaning? I can’t really address your point if you don’t say.

      1. I see it. One sounds like ‘we have a grasp on the championship’ and the other sounds much more like ‘it’s down to us whether we can win it.’

        1. There. @matt90 said it. That was how I understood the headline at first. I thought at first how arrogant it [the quote] seemed, then I read Ferrari’s tweet, that had the word “own” in it, and understood it better.

          1. Whilst I didn’t read it like this, I can see why.
            More to the point though, the driver’s championship I can see them taking with Alonso, but the Constructors? I’d say it’s out of their reach without dropping Massa, and even then, I think it could be too late by the time they do.

          2. They will never get another WCC until they have a great partnership or another Schumacher.

          3. Agreed. There is a significant difference in meaning and I’d argue the headline is misleading. “Our hands” gives the impression Ferrari pretty much have the title and have to seal the deal. “Our own hands” gives the impression their actions will decide the championship.

          4. @omardelacruz @matt90

            I disagree. “Own” in this context is redundant – who else’s hands could it be referring to other than their own? Removing it doesn’t change the meaning.

          5. Exactly. It’s a small difference, but when I read the headline on the homepage i thought “how arogant”! @keithcollantine should have a look on it.

          6. I’m not saying I thought it needed changing, just that I see where they’re coming from. ‘Hands’ on it’s own sounds like they mean they already have a real (arrogant-sounding) grasp on the championship, ‘own hands’ implies more that it is down to what they do that determines the outcome.

          7. @matt90 I’m sorry to be so persistent on this point but I completely and very strongly disagree. “Hands” and “own hands” in this context mean exactly the same thing because, obviously, they are both referring to the same hands.

            I think the grammatical improvement of removing “own” makes Montezemolo’s point clearer, which to some may make it sound more arrogant, but it absolutely does not change the meaning.

          8. If I can just stick my oar in… In all sports I have seen, when a team or individual uses the term “In our hands”, it never means that they already have it in the bag or that they are assuming anything. It means they can control their own destiny and if they get things right, they can still do it without relying on others to slip up.

            In my view, its why it is a pointless statement at this time of the year as it is still in EVERYONE’s hands really.

          9. @keithcollantine
            I agree that I don’t think it’s worth changing, and there isn’t any reason why the meaning should change. But to me it does change the meaning slightly, in the same way tone or emphasis on certain words can when you read things out. From a technical point there isn’t any reason the meaning would change, but something about removing the word can connote a different meaning to me. Like I said, without ‘own’ one might read it as as ‘we have a grasp on the championship’ or ‘we have one hand on it already’, whereas having ‘own’ left in somehow makes it read more like ‘it’s down to us’. Very difficult to explain why, as it certainly shouldn’t make a difference. But there are two meanings of hands I suppose. One is more literal than the other- one is about having a hold, and the other is down to control. I guess that ‘own’ in some people’s minds triggers a change from one meaning to the other, although why it does I don’t know.

            Here it in my mind moves the meaning between 67a and b.
            Like I said though, I’m not faulting your journalism and don’t think it’s even worth changing myself, I’m just saying how some people seem to view it.

      2. I addressed what I believe is the difference in the comment above but also another pertinent point is you can in no way alter the text of a direct quote from a press release when you are clearly using quotation marks in the headline.

        That’s just bad journalism.

        1. The headline uses single quote marks for an indirect quote, not double quote marks indicating a direct quote. That is common practice in headlines as it is often necessary to truncate quotes to make them fit or improve them from a point of view of clarity. Though of course I would not change the meaning of the quote and, as explained above, I haven’t. And naturally the quote in full appears in the article.

          1. It wouldn’t be bad Keith if you just add “own”, isn’t it? It can be misinterpreted.

          2. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I read the headline and understood exactly what he meant. The “own” is superflous and, i have to agree with Keith, grammatically redundant.

          3. Don’t get me wrong, I love your articles, but considering that I was not the only one who misinterpreted the title, I think using the whole quote as the headline would be better. We are aware of the different usages of the English language, and here it clearly exhibited the said differences. You tweeted the article right after Ferrari tweeted it, with the same headlines minus the “own”. Didn’t know what to believe at the time I read both tweets, as that single three letter word can mean the difference between arrogance and objectivity on Montezemolo’s part.

          4. @omardelacruz

            considering that I was not the only one who misinterpreted the title, I think using the whole quote as the headline would be better

            I’ve still not seen an explanation how, in your view, removing the word ‘own’ makes “the difference between arrogance and objectivity on Montezemolo’s part”, so I still don’t agree, as per my previous comments.

          5. its also worth noting that none of the other sites misquoted like this , i just think this is bad journalism. I don’t think “own” is redundant here, it totally changes the meaning here making it sound arrogant. this is bad keith you must understand you are painting someone in wrong picture, and its hard to believe you are not understand the meaning of both.

      3. you should not change somebodys quote..dont you? thats kind of unfair and cheap? :)
        ..but no offence, you doing great job with this blog, mistakes(on purpose or not) happens

        1. @evolutionut See my answer to Oliver above.

          1. didnt now about single quotes…i guess i learnt something new today..
            …and so i will shut up now :)

          2. please dont tell me, 3 letter word “own” could not fit in to the headline..

      4. i read it like this: we are ferrari , we are best, and we will sure win the championship

        with word OWN it reads like: its up to as(ferrari) to grab a championship-our own hands and our work will decide

        1. I believe in the UK we are accustomed to this phrase which is used a lot with football teams…”the league title in our hands” for example. I don’t read any difference myself but I understand that those looking at a direct English translation might. So in summary, much ado about nothing. Now if you don’t mind I have a nice lamb dinner to attend to.

        2. @evolutionut, I understood it as you did. If Keith says they mean exactly the same thing, I am beginning to think that there is a difference in usage between British and North American English – not the first such difference.

          Also, I never knew there was that difference in using single or double quotes in headlines. I shall look for it from now on.

  8. If Alonso does win WDC i think that will be one of the rare times that it would be done to driver skill….or would it? Personally I don’t think the Ferraris development is in such a bad way, most of use assume that Alonso is an awesome driver way out performing the car, and there maybe an element of that, Alonso is certainly one of (if not the) best driver on the grid. However i think that Massa is far underperming than this. It would be fascinating to see if Ferrari make a mid season change, especially if they go for an up and coming driver like Perez or Di Resta. I think that Ferrari has so much more to give.

    1. Doubt he will, his 2005 title should have been Kimi’s.

      Any way, I think he is a very solid driver, but not a the same level(whole package wise) as Schumacher(was) to be a number one driver for Ferrari. If Ferrari wants titles, they need driver who can keep Alonso straight.

  9. Alonso definately has a chance, but I think Vettel will get the triple. Wonder what the odds are on Massa winning the championship!

  10. They are hardly leading the championship when they are 2nd…

  11. Go Ferrari!

  12. I Love The Pope
    21st May 2012, 17:50

    I used to dislike Alonso, but man, what a driver. I actually cheer for him now.

  13. Montezemolo must not understand how count back works to break ties. Yes Alonso is tied on points, but Vettel still leads, Alonso leads nothing, and in the contstructor’s championship they’re off the map, so I’m not really sure where he gets the idea “we’re leading.” Even if you argue that Alonso is leading the driver’s championship, that’s an individual competition. Wouldn’t be the first time Ferrari bends the truth though.

    1. Btw “”own”” was missing on headline ; D

    2. Ah, well, but it wouldn’t have made for such nice a line from Montezemelo if he had said “we are equal on points with the current championship standings leader” to boost team morale and get all of them focussed on not letting that chance slip away, would it @us_peter :-)

  14. So is Vettel actually winning the title due to his 6th place in Barcelona? It’s much closer that one would think… Alonso with a 1st, 2nd, 5th. 7th and 9th… Vettel with a 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 11th… at least Fernando hasn’t been out of the top ten which is an amazing feat in a troubled car…

    The rest of the season should be gripping!

  15. I’m still questioning on how fast the F2012 truly is. The 2010-present Massa isn’t a proper benchmark, but then again, neither is Alonso. I’d say it’s anywhere between the two.
    I followed the live timing carefully this race. Looking at the sector times throughout this Grand Prix, it seems that the new, updated, re-nevated Ferrari has legit pace; at least at the hands of Alonso that is. Throughout the race, Alonso was consistently quicker than the Lotus’s, Red Bull’s, Sauber’s and Mercedes’s; and the Mclaren’s for that matter (although Hamilton was on a two-stop). It seemed that only Maldonado’s Williams was slightly quicker.
    To realize how fast Ferrari really were today, if Hamilton wasn’t send to the back of the grid, and had started on pole, Alonso still would’ve finished at least on the podium. That’s a huge improvement from Bahrain and China a couple of weeks ago.
    I know Alonso is a good driver, but there’s no way a good driver could make such a difference on the most car-demanding circuit on the calendar. It may not be the case this year, but because the Circuit of Catalunya is such a car-demanding track; all cars finishing in the podium at the Spanish GP historically fought for the championship until the end. And that was the biggest positive of the Spanish race for Ferrari. Props to Ferrari.

  16. He’s right about Massa, I’ll give him that.

    They’ve tried the softly softly approach and evidently that doesn’t work. Put the pressure on I say.

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