Gino Rosato was in high demand on Friday afternoon, outside Ferrari headquarters. For the first time in more than 30 years, the Quebecer was present at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit as a visitor, and not a member of the Scuderia.

Rosato made the big decision to leave Ferrari at the end of last season. Since then, he has not attended any Grand Prix; Canada’s is his first. But in the paddock on Friday it was as if he had never left; It took us a while before we managed to talk to him.

“I spent a lot of time in Quebec in the last three or four months, he told La Presse. I haven’t spent time here for a long time. It feels good to be back. I came to see the guys for a bit. »

A number of rumors about Rosato’s departure have been circulating on social media over the past few months. One of them wanted the Quebecer to have left the prancing horse stable due to the arrival of new principal director Frédéric Vasseur.

“It was a choice that was made. I still do collaborations with Ferrari. I am not at war with anyone. »

“I’m friends with [Fred Vasseur], with his family, he’s a person I love very much. Just because it happened doesn’t mean I left. […] I have known him for 20 years. I would even have been interested in working with a guy like him, he’s a very competent guy. »

When asked what was the trigger for this decision, Rosato remains evasive.

“There have been changes. Afterwards, you must not be frustrated in life. […] You always have a reason to stay: a year passes, two years, ten years, fifteen years. It was the right time to leave. »

Essentially, “it was time for a change,” he argues. I’ve been doing this for 31 years. I want to see a bit of what the future brings, but I left on very good terms with Ferrari.”

Exactly a year ago, La Presse told you the story of Gino Rosato, a Laval resident born to a Quebec mother and an Italian father, who unexpectedly fell into F1 at the age of 18. It was in 1993 that he had the chance of a lifetime to join Ferrari, where he remained for the next 30 years – apart from a three-year interlude at Lotus. Over the years, he seized the opportunities that presented themselves and made his way into the management team of the Scuderia, which has become like a second family.

Still, when the time has come, it has come.

When asked if he had anything to do with leaving the team, Rosato hesitates before replying, “No. There are things with which we are at peace, he continues. I feel very lucky to have been able to do what I did, but you have to know how to turn the page. That’s life. »

The Quebecer, who is enjoying his “normal life” after 31 years of traveling from one end of the planet to the other, says he is taking a sabbatical year to “see what is going on in [his] head”.

He has “ideas” for what’s next, he says, but our attempts to get more details were unsuccessful. “We’ll see what the future will bring,” he summed up.

Even though Ferrari is still “in [his] heart”, would he be willing to join another team one day, should he return to the world of Formula 1?

“You never say no, but right now the only team is my own head. I just spent 30 minutes with Max Verstappen. I am not here looking for another team. I’m here to see the world I love, to have a [good] time, to cheer on Ferrari in my own way. It really feels good to arrive here in zero-stress conditions. »