I think the Italian media is mainly focused on Ferrari, yes. Not having an Italian driver is a shame, but there hasn’t been an Italian World Champion since 1953. If they were truly worried about the lack of Italian talent, you’d think they’d have made more of that fact and tried to rectify it a long time ago.
I believe the last Grand Prix that did not feature any Italian drivers – Indianapolis 2005 not withstanding – was the 1996 Japanese Grand Prix, when Giovanni Lavaggi failed to qualify his Minardi within 107% of Jacques Villeneueve’s pole time.
But it sounds more impressive when you say “for the first time since 1970, there are no Italian drivers starting the season” as opposed to “for the first time since 1996, there are no Italian drivers starting a race”.
I read on Twitter 1969 was the last season without an Italian – so I checked out the last race of the season and there were no Italians. I didn’t know if “the last season without Italians” meant “the last season without Italians in the first race” or “the last season in which no Italian competed”.
And Italians took part in the “Grand Prix weekend” of the 2005 USA GP and 1996 Japanese GP, so they didn’t start the race but participated in the GP. In 1969 no Italian was on the grid (not sure though, I certainly don’t want to check all the races between 1969 and 2011).