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Massa was Ferrari's fastest option for 2013 - Montezemolo

ESPN Staff
December 20, 2012 « McLaren set to launch MP4-28 on January 31 | Ferrari to split design focus »
Luca di Montezemolo said Felipe Massa was Ferrari's best option for 2013 © Sutton Images
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Luca di Montezemolo believes there were no available drivers faster than Felipe Massa when Ferrari signed him up for 2013 earlier this year.

Massa had endured a torrid start to the season and Ferrari talked to other drivers about a 2013 seat, including Red Bull's Mark Webber. But Montezemolo said there were few who could match Massa for pace and stability in the team was also a key factor.

"The Brazilian improved a great deal in the second half: in fact in the first part, it seemed he'd gone on a round the world holiday," Montezemolo said. "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. [Team principal Stefano] 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."

As for Fernando Alonso, who came within three points of the drivers' title this year, Montezemolo said he was like a mix of two of Ferrari's greatest drivers from the past.

"Fernando had an extraordinary season, the best since he has been in Formula One," he added. 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. The Spaniard is a mix of Lauda and Schumacher: like the former, he has the ability to drive every race lap as though it was qualifying, like the latter, he has the intelligence to know when it's time to push and when it's time to look after the car."