F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Fans’ Passion High at Monza
The Scuderia banners draped along the main Monza grandstand are a vivid reminder of the intense passion facing Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari at the Team’s home Italian Grand Prix here this weekend.
“If you can dream it, you can do it”
Monza is know to motor-sports fans as Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed’, venerated by Ferrari’s ‘tifosi’ like nowhere else in the world
Sunday, a huge Ferrari flag will be unfurled across the grandstand seats while throngs of Red-shirted supporters will charge onto the race track as soon as the race is over to celebrate beneath the overhead Podium.
Memories of 7X F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, a 5X winner with The Scuderia at this iconic circuit just outside of Milano, still resonate.
“It’s unbelievable: The atmosphere, the tradition, the history. Even Enzo Ferrari was always talking about the Italian Grand Prix as The Grand Prix,” said team principal Maurizio Arrivabene after Friday practice.
“We have been coming here, racing here and wining here since 1950.”
“This is the emotional part. The public is fantastic; we can feel the vibe. I think even yesterday, it was only Thursday but we were feeling, all the team, the drivers, the vibe of the tifosi and they were pushing us.
“The expectation is very, very high. Despite that we need to be humble because we know… that Monza is not really the best track for us. Having said so, our attitude will be humble, but not surrendering.”
This year’s event has an added emotional ingredient with the sport’s oldest and most successful team celebrating the 70th Anni of founder Enzo Ferrari’s 1st car with their most competitive season in years.
Mr. Vettel has led the championship from the outset in Australia, arriving in Monza 7 points ahead of MercedesAMG rival Lewis Hamilton after a close battle to the chequered flag in Belgium last weekend.
Ferrari have not won a drivers’ title for 10 years, not since Finn Kimi Raikkonen in Y 2007, and the last Ferrari driver to win at Monza was Fernando Alonso in Y 2010 but hopes are high that this year is the Year.
“If the chance is there we will take it, of course,” said Mr. Vettel, who finished free practice a close 3rd behind the 2 MercedesAMGs Friday.
“Of course it would be something very special to win here, also given the Anniversary, but it would be a bad sign if we were only to try hard here and not anywhere else.
“We try hard everywhere, but probably the emotions are bigger here at Monza.”
Stay tuned, enjoy the racing…