Montezemolo pleased to beat “strongest rival” Vettel

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo drew satisfaction from beating the team he considers their “strongest rivals” in 2013.

“We raced a good race, particularly against Red Bull and Vettel, whom I consider our strongest rival,” he told the team’s website.

“Our goal was to make it to the podium and we did that. That’s definitely a positive start to the championship and will be good for the team psychologically: for the mechanics, the technicians and the drivers.”

“It was important to start the season well as that hadn’t happened in the last two years.” It was Ferrari’s best result at Melbourne since 2007, when Kimi Raikkonen won for the team and Felipe Massa finished sixth.

The Ferrari president praised Massa, who began his season as strongly as he ended the last one: “I’m satisfied with Felipe Massa’s performance – he was very fast in qualifying and delivered a brilliant race.”

“Fernando Alonso also did very well,” he added. “He looked motivated and happy to have seen the first good responses to the tests confirmed on the track. So now, it’s feet back on the ground because there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Ferrari have taken an early lead in the constructors’ championship, which they last won in 2008. Montezemolo has dubbed the team’s 2013 car “La Speranzosa”, which means “The Hopeful One” in Italian. But he admitted other teams have quicker cars:

“We have more development to do on the single-seater. We know we don’t have the fastest car but we have a lot of irons in the fire too. And obviously, developing an intrinsically good car is a much easier thing to do.”

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.