Fans celebrate victory as 'a family affair'

Ferrari fans throughout Italy poured on to the streets yesterday morning to celebrate Michael Schumacher winning the Formula One drivers' title in Japan, a victory they had been waiting 21 years for. Impromptu convoys of cars waving the red and yellow flags of Ferrari, their horns tooting, formed soon after the German's Ferrari crossed the finish line in Suzuka. Jubilant crowds gathered in the mainpiazzas in Milan, Turin and Rome, and in Naples and Bari they partied along the promenade until lunchtime.

Ferrari fans throughout Italy poured on to the streets yesterday morning to celebrate Michael Schumacher winning the Formula One drivers' title in Japan, a victory they had been waiting 21 years for. Impromptu convoys of cars waving the red and yellow flags of Ferrari, their horns tooting, formed soon after the German's Ferrari crossed the finish line in Suzuka. Jubilant crowds gathered in the mainpiazzas in Milan, Turin and Rome, and in Naples and Bari they partied along the promenade until lunchtime.

Italy's normally reserved president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, summed up national sentiment when he commented: "Finally, after 21 years, and we earned it." All television news bulletins led with the national triumph.

At Maranello, where Ferrari have their headquarters, church bells rang out. Father Alberto Bernardoni apologised that the bells had not been sounded as soon as Schumacher crossed the finishing line because he had been saying Mass at the time.

Many residents had stayed up all night and thousands had braved persistent rain to following the tense race on big screens in the town piazzas. Some fans invented a mock funeral procession, carrying a wooden coffin with the word "Mercedes" on it to the local church and then to the Ferrari plant. Supporters from surrounding towns caused traffic jams trying to reach the centre.

"Jump, jump, jump!" young fans yelled, hopping up and down in the streets in a homegrown version of the Mexican wave. "Everyone who doesn't jump is Finnish!"

The Mayor of Maranello,Giancarlo Bertachini, said: "Ferrari is a family affair, all our families are touched by it, and everyone shares in this joy." A street party is planned in the central Italian town in two weeks' time.

In the interim, at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Ferrari hope to clinch the constructors' title, their consolation prize last year, to complete a millennium slam.

The Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, said it was, "the happiest day of my life, at least professionally speaking. The victory of Ferrari is the victory of Italian technology, of a company, which is not a football team, with its employees and its technology. We won against the giants of the automotive, space and electronic industries.

"Losing in the last race for three years in a row is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I have fantastic and tragic memories, of drivers who died with our cars, of magnificent feats that only just failed. It was the first victory since the passing away of the company's founder, Enzo Ferrari, in 1988, and Gianni Agnelli, of the Fiat dynasty, said his first thought was how happy the old boy would be today."

Di Montezemolo revealed he had telephoned Schumacher, saying: "I listened to Schumi and then I only said: 'I thank you; I am doing it now because in an hour's time I will be drunk and will not be in full possession of my faculties.'"

Many of those celebrating on the streets yesterday were not born the last time Ferrari celebrated such a win, when the South African Jody Scheckter took the title in 1979. The victory was especially sweet given that for the past three years fans have seen the title that seemed theirs snatched from them in the final grand prix of the season.

In 1995, Schumacher, with two world drivers' titles under his belt, left Benetton for Ferrari, then in the doldrums. Despite 23 victories in that time, the drivers' title has always eluded him. Fans have been critical of the German driver's performance and many had seen the hiring of young Brazilian prospect Rubens Barichello as a sign that Ferrari was losing faith in Schumacher.

While Italy celebrated the triumph of what it considers a national symbol, there was rejoicing in Germany for the feat of their countryman. In Schumacher's home town, Kerpen, in northern Rhineland, they have decided to name a street after him - fittingly, -- the one leading to to the go-kart track owned by Schumacher's father.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil