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Ferrari’s F1 Failure According to Marc Gené

Marc Gené: "If we have won at Le Mans... why aren't we going to win in F1?"

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MARC Gene, the pilot who “unlocked” the achievement of winning Le Mans for Spanish motorsport. It took more than 75 years for one of us to conquer the magical endurance race. Luckily, it hasn’t taken many more to add four titles for Spain.

MARC Gene chatted with us about the Catalan’s victory at Le Mans, a triple special achievement because a Spaniard, a personal friend of his, has achieved it… and with the red jumpsuit of Ferrari.

Q: Spanish victory and Ferrari victory: double joy for you…

A: Yes, yes, the joy is double: One for my friendship with Miguel because I followed his beginnings at Ferrari a lot and then obviously for the brand victory. Also, this year I was there, so it was very exciting, very nice, really.

Q: You know Molina well from the inside…

A: I knew his father a lot, because he competed and we practically coincided in karting. He is a very talented driver, I think he can be super happy and proud of the career he has had. Yeah, ok, he wasn’t in Formula 1, but there comes one every year… or none, like this one. But being able to do what he has done, who has run the DTM, the greatest exponent in terms of GT cars, and now having competed in Le Mans with Ferrari and having won… When he looks back, he will be extremely proud. Le Mans is one of the best races in the world and there are very few chosen ones who have been able to win. And with Ferrari, it also has a special flavor.

Q: What do you think are your strengths and what do you bring to the team?

A: The most important thing in the end is that he’s a very good person. He is a really good teammate, very loved within the team and very fast. In the GT he was doing well too, but the Le Mans car is much more natural for us drivers who come from Formula, it costs us much less. I think that he found himself more comfortable with this car. We are now seeing its essence because they are its origins.

Q: Everyone in that car was hypermotivated. And it has been noticed…

A: Last year they could have won, but it didn’t happen… and justice has been done. I also have a special relationship with Fuoco and I was excited that they won. It’s going to be one of the years that people will never forget, due to the number of cars and the competitiveness that was on the grid. I would never have imagined that one day at Le Mans there would be 25 cars from the top category.

Q: What does this double success mean for Ferrari?

A: The first stands out because it is unheard of for a builder to win in the first year. I have never seen this. This year’s is just as meritorious because, let’s not fool ourselves, with the BOP they penalized us a little more. I think that Ferrari was not a favorite because of pure performance and I had the feeling that Porsche, Cadillac, Toyota, were perhaps benefiting a little more. But the entire race was very close, there were very few differences between these four.

Q: When you won in 2009… I don’t know if you would imagine that just 15 years later we would achieve it three more times…

A: I remember Jesus Couple, Tomas Saldaña, Fermin Velez, Juan Fernandez… they were drivers that I knew competed in Le Mans, but I never thought about winning it… nor even dreamed about running it, but when the opportunity presented itself, I fell in love with Le Mans. In 80 years no one had won, and then, if you had told me that I would share the honor with Fernando, a myth in the world of motorsport… well, I would say that I would not have imagined it. And now sharing it with a friend like Miguel… I’m very excited. But yes, it is strange that so many years passed until my first victory, and yet now it is a little more normal that every seven or eight years a Spaniard wins.

Q: Is the fact that the Hypercar team is doing so well an incentive or a pressure for the F1 team?

A: It’s a motivation, no pressure at all. On the contrary. Look, last year when we won Le Mans, I mentioned it with engineers and mechanics that this victory is going to be very good for the F1 team, because it is going to show us that we have everything to win in Formula 1. We have the talent, the attitude, the simulators… so it is a victory that does not put pressure, on the contrary, motivates and gives credibility. We thought why not? If we have won at Le Mans, why aren’t we going to win in Formula 1? It’s a victory of pride, of company.

Le Mans, among his three best memories.

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