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Ex-Ferrari driver tells of 'huge pressure' from Italian media

Pedro de la Rosa spent two years as test driver at Ferrari, and has lifted the lid on the unique pressures that come with working at Maranello.

Former Ferrari test driver Pedro de la Rosa has spoken of the pressures of working at the Scuderia under the glare of the Italian media spotlight. Ferrari drivers and employees are frequently elevated to almost God-like status in Italy – but with such adulation comes intense scrutiny and criticism if things are not going well. With headlines concerning Ferrari typically being written on a daily basis, de la Rosa – who served as the team's test driver in 2013 and 2014 – explained that team members invariably felt considerable pressure operating under such fierce examination. "When I was at Ferrari, I remember the Monday morning after a bad result, I went to the factory and into [then-Ferrari Team Principal] Stefano [Domenicali]'s office and there was the Gazzetta dello Sport opened, his mail [on] his office desk, and I realised that we were in trouble. You know, that’s a bit [of] radiography of what Ferrari is like," De la Rosa told the F1 Nation podcast. "It’s a difficult team. There’s a lot of huge pressure from the press mounting up and the moment that you haven't had a good result that specific weekend, already on Sunday, at 4pm, you already know what kind of week you’re going to have the next week."

Are non-Italians less sensitive to Ferrari media pressure?

Ferrari's last period of sustained success came around 20 years ago, when the team won all but one available title from 1999 to 2004. That purple patch coincided with several of the team's key figures not being Italian nationals, with Germany's Michael Schumacher and Brazil's Rubens Barrichello driving cars designed by Ross Brawn (England) and Rory Byrne (South Africa), and Frenchman Jean Todt running the entire operation. Himself a Spanish national, de la Rosa suggested that non-Italians may feel less pressure than local employees, as they would not take criticism to heart to the same extent. "I think that's one of the reasons why the foreigners do so well at Ferrari, because they are not affected as much by the press, mainly because you don’t understand the press, or the Italian press," said de la Rosa. "It’s good for the foreigners, but the Italian engineers, mechanics, the people that work there on a day to day [basis], they feel the pressure. "It's also not about the language itself, but it's also about the education, what Ferrari really means and how much pressure they manage to handle."

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