One-on-one with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo (VIDEO)

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Earlier today, Formula One staged its finale for the European leg of the 2013 World Championship at Monza – the spiritual home of Scuderia Ferrari.

As Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso’s selfie following his second-place finish in today’s Italian Grand Prix showed, the legendary marque may have the most passionate fan base in all of F1.

Thus, making them proud is of prime importance to Ferrari and its president, Luca di Montezemolo. But of course, if you’ve ever had a 458 Italia or F430 whip by you on some highway, you know that on-track exploits make up just one part of Ferrari’s essence.

Before today’s race, President Montezemolo sat down with NBCSN reporter Will Buxton in a one-on-one interview to discuss that subject, as well as others such as his personal responsibility to the company and his own thoughts on the future of F1.

Click the video above for a fascinating interview with one of the pre-eminent personalities in the automotive world.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.