Montezemolo: 'Expert' Fisichella deserves Ferrari drive 04 Sep 2009
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo says the team will head into their home race at Monza next weekend with 'confidence and pleasure', after securing the services of veteran Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella from Force India.
Based on the formbook from the last round at Spa, the move means Ferrari will have the two strongest drivers in the field for the Italian Grand Prix, after Kimi Raikkonen's win in Belgium, less than a second ahead of new team mate Fisichella.
"I chose Fisichella for several reasons, starting with the fact he deserves it, that he's on great form and that he is an expert driver," Montezemolo said in an interview with TG1. "On top of that, we all wanted to have an Italian driver in our car for Monza and lastly, because it takes the long term view, as he will be our third driver."
Montezemolo believes the momentum gained from the team's first win of the season, combined with the arrival of Fisichella, can only boost the champions' chances of further success at Monza.
He also welcomed news that the man Fisichella is standing in for, the injured Felipe Massa, should be fit to race again in 2010, and paid tribute to his interim replacement, test driver Luca Badoer.
"It is an important moment, coming off the back of a great win with Kimi," he added. "We also have the good and important news that Felipe is recovering well and will be more than ready for the first race of next season. I wish to thank Luca who, once again has been so amenable towards Ferrari."
It has been a tough few weeks for Ferrari, with Massa's Hungaroring accident, followed by the uncertainty surrounding the planned comeback of Michael Schumacher, which the German ultimately called off due to fitness difficulties. However, Montezemolo believes things are now coming together.
"Bit by bit, we are putting everything right again," he said. "Victory is the best medicine. I look forward to Monza with confidence and especially with great pleasure at having Fisichella in the team."