Piero Ferrari has admitted that there is a feeling of regret inside Maranello following the loss of Michael Schumacher to 2010 Formula One rival Mercedes GP, but confirms that the Prancing Horse could not offer a similar deal.
According to Italy Gazzetta dello Sport
, the 65-year old Italian has revealed that several key figures within the team have expressed their disappointment at Schumacher's decision to rejoin Mercedes following the Three Pointed Star's acquisition of the title-winning Brawn GP team last month. Key to the dismay appears to be the fact that the seven-time F1 world champion was sitting on a three-year extension to his consultancy contract at Ferrari, but had yet to sign anything.
"We feel a little bad, because Michael was ours," Ferrari said, attempting to play down media and public accusations calling Schumacher a traitor, "I would have liked him to stay with us, but they are using the word 'treason' - in truth, he wanted to race and the conditions were not that he could do it with us."
Schumacher had attempted to return to F1 two-and-a-half years after his retirement when Felipe Massa suffered a head injury at the Hungarian GP, but a lingering neck injury prevented him from doing so, leading to Ferrari employing Luca Badoer and, latterly, Giancarlo Fisichella in his place. Aware of the German's growing desire to return to action, the Scuderia proposed a rule change - coincidentally propelled by the stream of manufacturers withdrawing from F1 - that would to allow for three-car entries but, when that foundered, confirmed Fernando Alonso alongside Massa for 2010, insisting that neither would be passed over for Schumacher.
“I don't believe in sports comebacks, like coaches or footballers going back to the team they were with before," the only surviving son of team founder Enzo added, "Life goes on.
"We've signed Alonso, who has challenged and beaten Michael, and we also have Massa, who took over from Schumacher and has grown a lot. I am convinced we have been able to build a good car, better than that of 2009, and we will not lose the title because of the drivers."