Massa scored just two points in the first five races, but bounced back with two podiums to finish seventh in the championship.
“Massa 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! 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,” Montezemolo told journalists in Italy.
“Also, we did not want to change the balance and the good atmosphere within the team. [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 [Alonso] a couple of times, the points he scored played a vital part in securing our place in the Constructors’ championship.”
He compared lead driver Alonso to two fellow Ferrari icons.
“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,” he said.
Di Montezemolo also believes that Ferrari must provide their drivers a strong car from the start of 2013.
“We had amazing reliability which allowed us to come second in the Constructors’ championship despite the fact McLaren was quicker than us and despite the fact that, in the first half of the season we pretty much only had Alonso’s points to count on.”
“There were those great starts and pit stops and the fact Fernando had an extraordinary season, the best since he has been in Formula 1. 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.”