Stefano Domenicali has admitted that Ferrari has been left disappointed with Michael Schumacher’s decision to race for Mercedes GP in 2010.
Next season will see Schumacher come out of retirement to lead an all-German line-up alongside Nico Rosberg, a move which ends the German’s fourteen year association with Ferrari.
Given the great success of these years – which saw Schumacher play an influential role in the Scuderia’s return to the forefront of Formula One, while collecting five drivers’ titles along the way – Domenicali has admitted that it was disappointing to see the German leave.
“A marriage is not based on formal aspects,” Ferrari’s team principal told La Stampa newspaper in an interview. “In his head he had the desire and he wanted to tackle a new sporting challenge, and Ferrari had no openings.
However the Italian concedes that the return of the seven-times champion will be good for the sport.
“His return is great news for Formula 1: he will increase the interest in the championship, attract new audiences and improve the show,” he added.
Domenicali also believes that Italian fans will not forget Schumacher’s great achievements at Ferrari and will show their appreciation for the German at Monza next year.
“I was surprised to receive so many letter from fans who were ‘disappointed’, to put it mildly. The Italian Grand Prix is far away: I’m sure that Ferrari fans will be grateful. History cannot be erased.”
These comments come less than a day after Piero Ferrari, the only living son of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari, stated that Schumacher had not betrayed the Maranello-based team and called for the German to not be ostracised by the Tifosi.
“It’s true that we were a bit disappointed, because Michael had become our symbol,” Ferrari told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I wouldn’t use that expression [betrayal], even though obviously we would have preferred him to stay with us. But he wanted to race and the conditions weren’t there for him to do it once again with Ferrari.”