Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo announced that the company would be building a special F1 car for John Paul II in celebration of his 26 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo announced that the company would be building a special F1 car for John Paul II in celebration of his 26 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

On a visit to the Vatican, di Montezemolo said: "We will make a Ferrari F1 car especially for the Pope."

However, it will not be a full size replica of the F2004, but rather a scaled down version of this year's championship winning car. Speaking to the press, di Montezemolo recalled previous meetings with the Pope before Ferrari's dominance in F1 racing.

"I had the honour of meeting His Holiness on two occasions," di Montezemolo said. "First while organising the soccer World Cup in 1990 and later on the test track at Fiorano. He had a ride in a Ferrari and that was a time when Ferrari was not having great success. The least I can do to show my appreciation is construct a special Ferrari car for him."

The colour of the Pope's special car will, of course, be red. When asked whether the car's colour would be changed from its customary hue to one the Pope may prefer, the Ferrari head remarked: "The Pope would not be pleased to see a Ferrari that wasn't a Ferrari."