ARRIVEDERCI, DEAR LUCA: Long-time president Luca de Montezemolo bids an emotional farewell to the Ferrari GT Diversion staff at Maranello on Wednesday, Oct 9. Image: Newspress
MARANELLO, Italy - “It’s not easy…” were the words with which a visibly moved Luca di Montezemolo began his farewell address to the employees of Ferrari’s GT Division on Wednesday, (Oct 9). He was, unsurprisingly, interrupted several times with long applause from the assembled audience.
According to a Newspress report, the employees of Ferrari had asked on several occasions for a farewell meeting and embrace with Montezemolo before he leaves Maranello after 23 years.
Although clearly unable to speak with each employee individually, Montezemolo was eager to meet with them as a group, having already spoken to the Gestione Sportiva Formula 1 Division before the team’s departure for the Japanese and Russian grands prix.
'ENDURING LOVE STORY'
Two thousand people had gathered in a large marquee at the factory on Wednesday afternoon for the occasion, says the automaker. There were two short introductory speeches from vice-chairman Piero Ferrari and CEO Amedeo Felisa; plus a film documenting Montezemolo’s successful career with Ferrari - which had Gino Paoli's song 'Una lunga storia d’amore' ('An enduring love story') as the soundtrack - Montezemolo took the stage.
In his address, the chairman underscored the importance of the Maranello workers several times: “You are the power behind Ferrari, the most beautiful company in the world. You are the real architects of its triumphs. You are Ferrari.” He recalled too the marque’s triumphs in Formula 1, in which Ferrari remains the most successful team ever, as well as the success of the Prancing Horse’s GT cars the world over.
Montezemolo also told the assembled workforce that he was “proud to have lived these marvellous years" with them. He reiterated that he was certain “the future for Ferrari, which builds not cars but dreams, will remain bright because all of you are here.” He then had affectionate and emotional words to say about both Michael Schumacher and Jules Bianchi, the young Marussia driver who came up through the FDA ranks and is now fighting for his life after a dramatic crash at Suzuka on October 5 2014.
After Montezemolo’s address, representatives of the women and men from the factory joined him on the stage for a symbolic embrace. As he left, the Chairman was engulfed by a large crowd of admirers wanting to shake his hand, take 'selfies' with him and generally express their enormous affection and respect for this “enduring love story”.