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On 17th January, Ferrari had its first ever audience with the Pope, John Paul II. Around a hundred people, representing the entire company had the opportunity of meeting the Holy Father in the Clementina Room of the Vatican Apostle Palace. Among them were President Montezemolo, the Vice President, Piero Ferrari, Jean Todt and the drivers, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer.
“It is with delight and emotion that I present to you the drivers, mechanics, workers, managers and the Ferrari team and I also bring you greetings from the entire company who would have all liked to be here,” said Montezemolo to the Pope. “May I be allowed to do so with the same words, taken from the Enciclica Centesimus Annus, through which an enterprise is defined as a community of people. Community is the key formula, actually the Formula one of our successes. In fact, victory is born out of a mechanism made up of so many cogs which however have but one soul.”
“I am pleased to welcome each one of you, as representatives of the large Ferrari ‘family,’ which over the years has accumulated wins and trophies. In particular, I congratulate you in particular for the victory in the recent world championship,” responded John Paul II, who was presented with a gift of a 1:5 scale model of the previous year’s championship winning F2004. “I greet you all with affection: managers, drivers and engineers, who have come here to hand over the ‘model’ of the Formula 1 car to me. I have a special greeting for President Luca di Montezemolo and thank him for the kind words he spoke on your behalf.”
Ferrari is a unique ‘community of people’ as your President said earlier, within which there is great harmony,” continued the Pope. “It is above the enthusiasm which derives from the community spirit that can be credited with producing your noteworthy sporting and industrial achievements Continue dear friends to cultivate this style of work, and continue to grow and make constant solidarity one of our main objectives. You will thus propagate the values of sport and at the same time, contribute to building a more decent and sympathetic society.”