"His (father's) workshops, and the family house, were sited at 264 via Camurri, next to the railway line running through the northern end of town... The buildings stand there today, now renamed and renumbered but looking almost as they did then, except for the television aerials sprouting from the roof of the two-storey house. From the road, the house looks deserted, the long, low workshops disused. But round the side, where the railway track passes along the front, up there on the brickwork of the upper floor of the house, the name FERRARI can just be seen, carefully lettered in white paint that may be only a decade or two from fading completely." - Enzo Ferrari, A Life by Richard Williams.
Ferrari is the most common name in the Modena region, but Enzo made it synonymous with quality, made it famous worldwide. This fame will never fade now, even if the paint on his childhood house does. The team that Enzo built is now preparing to challenge for a consecutive fifth Constructors Championship and fourth World Drivers Championship, and they are in a very strong position to achieve that. This type of success in unprecedented, either by the Scuderia or any other team - it's the stuff that legends are built of.
Why has Ferrari managed to grow in stature when a team like Lotus fell away and died? They were comparable teams - both formed almost single-handedly by a charismatic personality out of nothing, both had a lot of success on the track, both formed companies to produce high end road cars. The differences were the people who took over, and that age-old necessity for success in Formula One - money.
Ferrari launched their new Formula One challenger on 7 February at Maranello, naming it the F2003-GA in honour of Gianni Agnelli, the chairman of Fiat Group who had recently passed away at the age of 81. This was an extraordinary honour - no racing car from the Scuderia had borne the name of any man since the Dino in 1957. The honour was not misplaced, as without Agnelli it is safe to say that the Ferrari name, and the team which bore it, would have faded away like Lotus.
Towards the end of his life Enzo took less and less interest in his creation, and the levels of political chicanery, always high, were astonishing even for the Scuderia. The old man didn't care - he was waiting to die. Agnelli cared, though, as Ferrari have always eschewed advertising in favour of promotion via racing, and when the racing team suffered so did the sales. Agnelli always looked at the bottom line; what he needed was a strong personality to grab the team and pull it into order around him, much as Enzo had done in the old days before he stopped caring. Enzo wanted his son Piero to take an active role, but his personality was never as strong as the old man's, and he would never be a suitable replacement.
Luca di Montezemolo had always been a favourite of Agnelli, and the younger man looked at him as almost a father. He had studied with members of the Agnelli clan, the de facto royal family of Italy, and had come to their attention early. It is said that his appointment as direttore sportivo of Ferrari in June 1973 was as a result of a request from Agnelli to Enzo (who had nonetheless been impressed with the young man himself), and the success that came from his time with the team speaks for itself: two drivers championships and three constructors championships during his stint with the team.
When he left the team in 1977 it was not for the usual reason in the paddock - to move to another team - but rather to progress in business. He had always seemed different to the other men in Formula One; he dressed better, he was educated and refined; and his future was always going to be different to them.
After Ferrari, he had many jobs throughout the Fiat empire, where he was the youngest senior manager in the history of the company - he ran the publishing company Itedi (home of the daily newspaper La Stampa) and the drinks company Cinzano, for example - although he never worked at Fiat Auto, which most thought was the obvious next step after Ferrari. He spent time running the first Italian America's Cup challenge, Azzurra, and was the general manager of the organizing committee for Italia 90, the football World Cup held that year, as well as the football team Juventus. Di Montezemolo was a man who succeeded at everything he did, and who had a clear distaste for being bored.
In November 1991, di Montezemolo was brought back home to Ferrari, at the request of Agnelli, to replace the carousel of managers who had gone through the company since the old man's death. The team was foundering without a suitable captain, and the company was losing value. For the first time since Fiat had taken over in 1969 the whole operation at Ferrari was going to be under the control of one man - di Montezemolo. He was charged with improving sales, and he knew that the way to do that was by improving the racing team, and he made moves to do this. Alain Prost had already left the team, horrified at the depths they had sunk to, and they were forced to rely on Jean Alesi, a fast but erratic young driver who had no experience of being a senior driver. Ivan Capelli was brought in to partner him, as none of the recognised top line drivers would come near the team.
His first attempt to put the Scuderia back on top was an acknowledgement of his past. Di Montezemolo brought Harvey Postlethwaite back, the first man to create a carbon fibre chassis for the team, to organise the technical organisation; Niki Lauda was hired to help with the drivers and their mechanics; and John Barnard was returned as the chief designer. It was an abject failure - 1992 was a bad time to be in anything other than the all-conquering Williams FW14B, and the Scuderia failed to take any wins, poles, or fastest laps. The season was so bad that the high points were two lucky third place finishes for Alesi. Di Montezemolo needed a new team manager, as the work of running both the team and the manufacturing division was too much for one man.
Jean Todt was making a name for himself in the Rally world, first as a driver then as team manager. He won races as a co-driver and championships as a team boss, conquered Le Mans, Paris-Dakar and sportscar championships. By 1992, Formula One was the one remaining motorsport challenge for him. Di Montezemolo had seen Todt's success, and he was impressed. He made an approach to gauge his interest in joining the Scuderia, and the timing was perfect. Todt joined Ferrari in July 1993 and the train was in motion. Less than two years later, they would sign the driver who will become the biggest star and most successful driver of his generation.
Michael Schumacher won the 1994 World Championship in controversial manner, but he then went on to win the 1995 Championship in relative ease. It was obvious to all he was a truly talented driver, and despite remaining a controversial figure he was also gaining significant public support. To a large extent, he was exactly what Ferrari needed. And they got him - for the biggest contract signed with any driver in Formula One: $25 million a year, his salary sponsored by a coalition of Marlboro, Shell and Fiat.
Many people have subsequently wondered what Enzo would have made of the German, and there's no doubt that he would have disapproved of the pay packet that came with the deal - Enzo never pulled out his wallet if he could avoid it. That said, he brought champions to the team in times of turmoil - he brought Juan-Manuel Fangio onboard despite the obvious antipathy between the two - and he paid over the odds if he had no other choice - the ebreo contract with Lauda is proof of that. The old man would have been a party to bringing Schumacher to the Scuderia if he had been alive - he would have complained, but that was his default setting anyway, so that wouldn't be a surprise.
Agnelli came to the Ferrari launch in 1996, the first time he had ever done so. When asked why they had paid so much money for Schumacher he replied: "he is the best driver in the world - if we do not succeed now we will know it is our fault."
The year after, and on Schumacher's recommendation, Ross Brawn was brought on as technical director from Benetton, and Brawn immediately hired Rory Byrne from his old team as chief designer. The pair joined Paolo Martinelli, a young Modenese engineer who had joined the company fresh from Bologna University and was promoted in the mid-1990s to head of the engine department, a reflection of Mauro Forghieri all those years ago.
How successful is the new Ferrari, under di Montezemolo's reign, and with Todt, Martinelli, Schumacher, Brawn and Bryne? The statistics speak for themselves, with unprecedented streak of four Constructors' Championships and three World Drivers' Championships. Records trashed one by one - most wins in a season, most points in a season, or poles, or fastest laps. The first Drivers' Championship for the team in 21 years became the beginning of the most successful period in the Scuderia's history.
This is the biggest change at the Scuderia since the days of Enzo - political chicanery is a thing of the past, something Jean Todt himself once stated was his biggest achievement at the Scuderia, and the employees work to one overall goal, rather than their own. The only parallel in the history of the team is the period from 1973 to 1977, which not coincidentally was the period when di Montezemolo ran the team. The difference now, though, is that it seems much less likely that the team (or the company) can be as seriously derailed as it was from time to time under the old man.
Some people feel that Enzo Ferrari invented modern racing, and in many ways he did - he was the first to obtain trade credit from auto industry companies, among the first to run sponsorship on a car (the Fernet Branca deal at the Temporada series), and the first to set up a production company, among his initiatives. But inventors don't often perfect their creation, and this is where the new personalities come in - if Enzo Ferrari invented motor racing, then di Montezemolo and his men are now perfecting success. The difference is that it takes more men to succeed now than it did in the days of the old man. Maybe it's harder than it once was, or maybe Ferrari was just different - legends don't grow from nothing.
The sixties arrived with no change in the scuderia's philosophies, and next to no change in the car. Dan Gurney had had enough and went to BRM, to be replaced by yet another of the Americans brought over by the US dealer Luigi Chinetti, this time Richie Ginther. It made no difference, and the scuderia were beaten in every Formula One race of the year bar the Monza Grand Prix, where the authorities had made the decision to run on the old banking, which led to the British teams pulling out. Phil Hill led a one-two-three for his team, the last win for a front-engined racing car and the 2.5 litre engine. Jack Brabham won his second title, and everyone went home to dream up a 1.5 litre engined car to run for the following season.
And, for once, Ferrari did it better than everyone else. Even the old man had acknowledged that front-engined cars were a thing of the past, and a rear-engined Formula Two car had been developed over the previous year, a car which now became the basis of one of the most famous cars the scuderia ever produced, a 1,500cc V6 engined car which was lightened and lowered and given twin nostrils and named the Dino 156. A car which became known by another name - the sharknose.
This is how good the sharknose was: a group of Italian team owners banded together and called themselves the Federazione Italiana Scuderie Automobilistiche, and their sole desire was to promote another level of Italian drivers to replace those who were now gone. They approached Ferrari to join, who politely refused, but offered one of his new cars for a driver of their choice. Giancarlo Baghetti was chosen, a 25 year old with potential but little racing experience. Baghetti won a non-championship race at Syracuse, the debut of the 156 in the absence of the works team, and then joined the grid for his first ever Formula One race at Rheims. When the scuderia's drivers succumbed to mechanical problems, the rookie ran on, holding off the vastly experienced drivers around him, to become the first (and to this day only) driver to win a Formula One race on his debut.
1960 was supposed to be Stirling Moss's year, of course. Moss had been hailed almost from his debut as the Champion Elect, and yet he had still not won a Formula One World Championship. Obviously there was Juan Manuel Fangio, and the other drivers could do as much about him as the current drivers can about Michael Schumacher - when the best driver is in the best car (and Fangio was more astute than most when considering his drive for the following year), then what can be done?
Moss tried to take the maestro, and he failed. No shame there, but it must have hurt to be beaten by those who were not considered to be in his class - the Hawthorns and Brabhams of the racing world. The problem with Moss' career is that he was the anti-Fangio - where the Argentinean was picking up the best drives, the Englishman would pick closer to the worst. Formula One titles have always gone to those with the best - or at least close to best - cars on the grid, and Moss seemed to be bloody-minded about proving this adage wrong.
Moss won in Monaco and Germany, but the season was lost to the scarlet cars with horsepower to burn, and by the time the circus arrived in Monza for the penultimate race, the Championship was to be decided between Hill and Wolfgang von Trips, the lead drivers for the scuderia. The banking was to be used again, but the English turned up for the show this time, including the young Jim Clark, the coming man of the Grand Prix scene. Unfortunately he was to be involved in an accident, touching von Trips coming into the Parabolica curve, with the Scotsman spinning safely out of the race while the German somersaulted into the crowd, killing 14 spectators and himself.
Hill won the race and the Championship, but Ferrari pulled out of the final round in the United States out of respect for the dead driver; the first American Champion was unable to run in his home race.
Ferrari himself was becoming a shadow. The habit of wearing sunglasses at all times was developed around this time, and he increasingly spent the majority of his time in his office, sitting in the gloom, lit only by the light over the painting of his dead son. It doesn't take much to work out the cause of these actions. His wife Laura took the opposite approach to her grief - she spent more and more time on the shop floor, annoying the mechanics and bookkeepers with her demands to see the details of the cars and, particularly, the financial records. Ferrari did little to stop her meddling, which only inspired her to pick up the pace.
One day, she was pestering the accountant Girolamo Gardini, and the subsequent row was finished when she slapped him. For the senior executives, who had been attempting with no success to secure pay rises in relation to the success of the scuderia, it was the final straw. There was much talk of an attempt to take over the company when eight of the senior staff resigned en masse, while Ferrari sniffed and let them go, claiming that they were fired. No one got a pay rise, the reigning World Champion included. In fact, Ferrari tried to reduce the pay of the other drivers, leaving Ginther with no option other than to move to BRM.
But to claim that Ferrari would never pay well would be to lie, and at this stage he attempted to make a deal which would probably have changed the history of Formula One, had he been successful.
Ferrari invited Moss, the one contemporary driver he admired, to lunch at the Ristorante Cavallino across the road from the factory he had built, and after eating he asked what it would take to get the Englishman into one of his cars. He had never made such an offer before, as he preferred to have a contract ready and would seldom accept anything other than the driver's signature there and then. Moss knew that he held the advantage, and also that he needed the best car if he was ever to win that elusive Championship.
His demand was this: prepare the car, paint it dark blue, and let Rob Walker, his friend and mentor, run it separate from the scuderia's influence. The old man, astonishingly, agreed. The deal was done, but no one will ever know what success would have come from the partnership as Moss injured himself badly in a non-championship race shortly after, convalescing for a year before a short run in a Lotus convinced him that the muse was gone. He announced his retirement from racing, at the age of 32, immediately after.
One appointment, though, made at this time was to affect the future of the team in all manner of ways. Mauro Forghieri was 26 when he joined the company his father had worked for since before the war, fresh from university and thinking about an aeronautical future with Lockheed. Ferrari, perhaps thinking about what could have been with his own son, installed Mauro briefly as second in command in the engineering department before promoting him after the walkout of Carlo Chiti with the other senior executives.
The problem, of course, was that the garagistes had moved forward while industrial unrest raged at Ferrari, principally in the form of engine power. Their chassis were already better, given the old man's lack of interest in such things, and yet again the scuderia was to be destroyed in the races immediately following a Championship year.
The 1963 season was so bad that when a metalworkers' strike stopped the team attending the French Grand Prix it was like a breath of fresh air. Ferrari further announced that they would not attend the flyaway races in South Africa, the United States and Mexico, even though the strike was over. Hill, disheartened with the politics and the deteriorating relationship he held with the old man, left at the end of the year, having been unable to do a thing to stop his namesake Graham Hill streaking to the Championship.
John Surtees came to Ferrari like a gift from God - a combination of motorbike racer (he had won many titles for the Agusta team, and was already known in Italy as Il Grande John for his exploits) like Nuvolari and technician like Varzi. He had already been offered a drive by Ferrari, telling them at the time he was not ready, only to be warned that Mr. Ferrari does not make a second offer. He did, and in 1963 Surtees was ready to say yes. He joined the team during a period of upheaval, unsurprisingly. The difference this time was it was caused by an attempt to sell the company.
The old man was tired - he was 63, he had been fighting most of his life and he was sick of it. His son was dead, his wife seemed to be going mad, his senior executives has deserted him and he was being asked for advice from all sides. Ford made an offer to buy 90% of his company for $18 million at the time, looking for a prestigious road car marque and caring little about the racing side. The old man would keep running the scuderia, focusing on racing and letting others run the car business - which was manufacturing over 600 cars a year at this stage and yet interested him little.
The deal was as good as done, until Ferrari noticed something in the contract: the racing team was to be given $250,000 a year (the current year's budget), and he would need to submit a request for further funds if they were needed. To an old man who was used to spending what it took to go racing this was an outrage, and the deal was off. Henry Ford had a simple reply when told of this snub: "okay then; we'll kick his ass."
The biggest problem at Ferrari, in Surtees's view, was that no one was steering the ship, and in this absence the team was focusing more on the sports car programme then on Formula One because of pressure from the growing dealership network. The results were there - Ferrari had won Le Mans five years in a row, and added success in Sebring and the Nurburgring 1000 Kms, but Surtees was a Grand Prix driver and cared little for sports cars.
Methodically he got to work, pulling the engineers (specifically Forghieri) around him to bring the Grand Prix team together into an effective unit. The old man cared little about method and left them to their own devices.
Surtees introduced the team to a British fibreglass manufacturer, and this brought an end to the tradition of locally crafted aluminium bodies. He also initiated the successful relationship with Firestone. Surtees won one race in his first year, at the Nurburgring, following up in 1964 with two wins at the Nurburgring and Monza. Wins were shared around and the title was his, with the final points coming at Watkins Glen, where the team's cars were painted in the blue and white of the United States following a squabble between the old man and the Italian authorities over the eligibility of his new 250LM coupe to run in the grand touring class.
In 1965 Ferrari lost another family member, this time his mother, who had lived to be 93, and who had lived with her long suffering son and daughter in law for years. She joined her husband in the family vault and life went on for everyone else. Around this time, a young Piero Lardi came to work at the factory after graduation from his engineering studies. One look at the boy's nose and eyes was enough to know his heritage, but it was to go undiscussed by the workers for years. Piero and his mother lived in an apartment by a park near to the factory, and the old man who paid for his studies and accommodation visited increasingly often.
The regulations for the 1966 Championship changed to allow 3 litre engines to be run, and the scuderia engineers' efforts resulted in the 312, running a V12 that was not to Surtees's liking. He had been worn down by the politics that were increasingly common in the vacuum formed by the withdrawal of the old man from day to day operations, and he was losing support. He managed a win in the wet at Spa and then went to Le Mans, where the team were struggling against the might of Ford. Surtees managed to get the car on pole, but after one too many arguments with the direttore sportivo Eugenio Dragoni he left the track, refusing to drive, and shortly after resigned from the team. Ford ran home one-two-three in the race, kicking Ferrari's ass in the process.
Ford was also kicking Ferrari's ass in Formula One by 1967, with the Cosworth DFV engine that would eventually win over 150 races in Formula One, and certainly became the biggest single thorn in the side of the scuderia for the next two decades.
Ferrari himself, of course, was not getting any younger or less tired, and the aborted deal with Ford had brought Fiat closer to him. The time was right to make a deal with the Italian industrial giant, and after lengthy negotiations an agreement was signed by Agnelli and Ferrari on June 18th, 1969. The crux of the deal was this: Fiat would buy 40% of the company with Ferrari retaining 50%, to be ceded to Fiat upon his death, and Piero being given 10%, which was to be the family interest when his father died.
Fiat was to take control of the road car business, by now producing nearly 1000 cars, while Ferrari was to retain complete control of the racing team which had made his name. Both parties had what they wanted: Agnelli, the silver haired chairman who carried a cane as a result of an accident in a Ferrari in his younger days, had the jewel of the Italian auto manufacturing sector; Ferrari had stability for the company he had built, and carte blanche to go racing. Ferrari SpA was born.
Energised by the deal, and secure in his future, Ferrari regained his interest in the scuderia, bringing Forghieri back after a year in the road car section and re-signing Jacky Ickx and bringing Ignazio Giunti and Clay Regazzoni into the fold. Forghieri presented the 312B1, running a flat twelve cylinder engine, and they went racing. Ickx won in Austria, Canada and Mexico; Regazzoni in Monza. But the Championship was lost to Jochen Rindt, who died in a horrific accident in practice at Monza but had scored enough points to win posthumously.
By the early seventies, Ferrari's biggest problem was created because of one of his affectations - he famously did not attend races, and accordingly relied on second hand information when making a decision. Ferrari needed a sporting director who didn't need to resort to story telling, and while listening to the radio one day he heard a young man presenting a resolute defence of the scuderia. That man was Luca di Montezemolo, a young student on a break from studying international relations at Columbia University in New York. The old man initiated contact, and within a year the 26 year old was running the Grand Prix team.
Di Montezemolo started the process of turning the team around, and the obvious next move was to find the right driver. Initially he pursued James Hunt, who was driving for Lord Hesketh at the time, but when informed that he was staying where he was, attention was turned to the young Austrian driver Niki Lauda.
Lauda had impressed many in the paddock with his driving at the now ailing BRM team, and the fact that he had paid for his drive at March and, initially, at BRM meant that he had sizable debts (Lauda himself put the figure at £160,000) to pay off. Lauda hadn't been paid by BRM for some months, and the deal was done quickly. Regazzoni was also signed, and the scuderia had a stable again.
Forghieri and Lauda worked all winter, running lap after lap at the Fiorano track, and the end result was the 312B3. The car was quick out of the box, the only V12 in a field of DFV V8s, and at the first race of 1974, in Buenos Aires, the Ferrari pair came home just behind local boy Carlos Reutermann. Lauda won from pole in Spain and lead home a one-two at Zandvoort, and Regazzoni picked up a win at the Nurburgring. Lauda lost three other races through driver error and tyre problems, but the potential of the new team was obvious for all to see. 1975 brought the 312T, Forghieri's masterpiece in the opinion of Lauda, who won 5 races to take the Championship, with Regazzoni picking up a win in Monza.
Di Montezemolo bowed out at this stage, having felt that he had re-established the team as a winning prospect and with fresh targets offered to him in other parts of the Fiat empire. Coincidentally, a small Fiat decal began appearing on the Ferraris at this time, apparently at the behest of the dealer network, who wanted to share the reflected glory being achieved on the racetracks of the world.
The 1976 season started well, with Lauda winning two races and Regazzoni picking up another in the 312T2 before Lauda broke two ribs in a bizarre accident with a garden tractor in Salzburg. There was a lot of talk of a dispute between Lauda and the team, but he managed to come back and drive through the pain of popping ribs to pick up wins in Belgium, Monaco and Silverstone. Another Championship seemed a certainty.
Ferrari knew that he owed a lot to the straight talking Austrian, and he wasn't about to let him sign for another team in the midst of the scuderia's most successful spell in Formula One. At a lunch called by the old man to discuss terms for the next year Lauda decided that he was going to ask for more money than any driver had received in the sport. The old man blew his top, and the two men yelled back and forth at each other, both clearly enjoying the moment, as well as the tormented Piero, who was translating.
"Okay, ebreo" (Jew boy) came the reply from Ferrari, which Lauda later said was a perfectly fine thing for him to say: "he's entitled to say that - he's paying," he wrote in his biography. The pair toasted each other's health with champagne, laughing as though nothing had ever happened.
And then came the Nurburgring. Like a hangover that reminds you, painfully, of the fun you had the night before, the Nurburgring was the last of the old school tracks left on the Formula One calendar; 14 miles of turns through a forest with effectively no safety measures whatsoever. Lauda was fascinated by the challenge of the track but also horrified by the primitive conditions, and he tried to lead a driver boycott of the race. It failed, and Lauda was branded a coward by the German media. In qualifying he put the car on pole, with his nominal Championship contender Hunt next to him, and he ran one lap on wet weather tyres before changing to slicks and setting off to pull back the time lost.
At the Bergwerk corner he lost the car, bouncing off some netting before flying back onto the track where the tank caught ablaze. Lauda, unconscious and with his helmet having popped off, was on fire. Four drivers stopped and tried to pull him from the wreckage, with Arturo Merzario managing to remove his safety harness before pulling him out.
Lauda was taken to the local hospital at Mannheim, where a priest administered the last rites. Back in Maranello, Ferrari called di Montezemolo and asked who they were going to replace Lauda with before breaking down about Lauda's condition. He then announced his team's intention to quit Formula One, and they did not drive in the Austrian Grand Prix.
The scuderia expected Lauda to be finished with racing, at least for the year, and accordingly signed Carlos Reutemann (who bought himself out of his Brabham contract) to drive for the team. Of course Lauda had other ideas, turned up to the race himself and forced them to field 3 cars. Lauda, whose burns were still bandaged and weeping and who had no eyelid as a result of the fire, was unable to push the team as effectively as before, and leading up to the final race in Japan he had relinquished all but three points of his lead over James Hunt.
A monsoonal storm struck the track before the start of the race, and Lauda aquaplaned badly at the first corner before retiring on the second lap. The rain eased enough for Hunt to take third, and the Championship.
Subsequently, Ferrari believed that the driver had been weak (presumably forgetting his moment of weakness in France, where he lined up to driven and couldn't do it for whatever reason, all those years before), while Lauda believed it was the fault of the team, who had provided him with cars which had not gone the distance in the earlier races.
The failure to win annoyed the old man, who declared that Reutemann would be the number one driver in 1977, to which Lauda replied that the number one driver would be the driver who makes best use of the equipment. It was Lauda, who won both Championships for the scuderia before resigning with two races to go, having signed a contract with Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team before turning down the most generous contract Ferrari had ever offered a driver. "Ciao, Enzo" he called out to the old man as he left the factory for the last time, the first person to address him so informally other than his wife.
Laura Ferrari died on February 27th, 1978, of a form of the muscular dystrophy which had claimed her son all those years before. She was 77. Ferrari mourned her passing and locked her body away behind the iron bars on the family vault. But with Laura's passing he was free to legally adopt Piero, passing on the name which he felt unable to do while his wife was alive. His second family moved into his house, usurping the first.
Gilles Villeneuve joined the scuderia in 1978 on the recommendation of Walter Wolf, the Canadian industrialist who ran the Wolf team and who was developing a close rapport with Ferrari. Villeneuve was fast and brave, pushing the car to places where others were afraid to go, and the old man loved Villeneuve like a grand son. At Fuji he hit the back of Ronnie Peterson, flying into the crowd and killing a marshal and a photographer, but it was judged an accident and the team stuck by him.
The following year Jody Scheckter came over from the Wolf team, demanding the number one driving seat and getting it, and Forghieri delivered the 312T4. The two drivers picked up three wins apiece, and Scheckter won the race and the title at Monza, his teammate following him home loyally even though he could have raced and kept his own Championship alive. Villeneuve probably thought he'd have his chance the next year.
He didn't. The 312T5 was a dog of a car, and Scheckter left before the end of the season, never to return. Villeneuve battled on to no avail. 1981 came and went, bringing the 126C and 2 wins that only Villeneuve could have managed, and also bringing Didier Pironi from Ligier. Harvey Postlethwaite, an English engineer who had worked for Hesketh and Wolf, was brought on board during 1981, updating the chassis to carbon fibre (which had to be manufactured in Belgium through lack of experience in the factory) for the 1982 car, the 126C2. It helped, as the car was very competitive.
Ferrari was old and frail, and pulling away from the team as much as he could. The company was making thousands of cars, all under Fiat's control, and he felt that the sporting team could run itself. The last big battle he involved himself in was the so-called FIASCO war, although his involvement seems to be limited to hosting meetings and making comments to journalists to stir things up.
To make matters worse, his beloved driver Villeneuve was killed in 1982, in qualifying at Zolder. Ferrari had seen one death too many, and he was to never return to the height of his game before his own death.
* * *
Enzo Ferrari turned 90 on February 18th 1988, and around two thousand people were invited for the party held in his honour. He was happy, but happier a few days later when Piero's daughter Antonella gave birth to a son, who was named Enzo. Pope John Paul II came to visit the factory later in the year, but the old man was too ill to do more than take a phone call from the pontiff. He was waiting to die, and finally did on August 14th.
The following day was the Feast of the Assumption - Ferragosto - and he was in his grave at seven o'clock in the morning. There were no papers to report his passing, no processions as there had been for his drivers who had died at the wheel. The traditional mass was held 30 days after the funeral, with Gianni Agnelli paying his respects to Piero, as well as a number of former drivers. Lina Lardi stayed at home, and the mass lasted only 30 minutes. For a man who had created so much noise during his life, his passing was to go seemingly unmarked.
The 1988 season was a disaster for anyone not attached to the McLaren team. They had the two best drivers on the grid - Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna - and the car was by far the best available. Of the 16 races in the season, 15 were won by the red and white cars. The exception was at Monza, where Prost was leading well before his car broke down, at which time Senna took over. Ferrari's drivers that season, Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, were second and third, but it seemed like nothing to them. However, with only a few laps to go, Senna collided with a back marker, handing a one-two finish to the scuderia.
It was a win against the odds, with more than a little luck about it; an accurate reflection of the achievements in the life of the man who made it all happen.
They dedicated the win to Enzo.
Next week: Ferrari beyond Enzo
In late 1939 Enzo Ferrari formed a new company, wholly owned by himself, called Auto-Avio Construzioni (AAC). Based in Modena, it was set up using funds from the liquidation of his former company and the wages he had earned during his spell with Alfa Romeo. The company's core business was to manufacture parts for the growing aircraft industry, and with Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini stockpiling weapons this could be seen to be a good financial move for Ferrari. Italy may have declared its neutrality, but no one expected it to last.
The organisers of the Mille Miglia, however, decided that they were going to go ahead with the race in 1940, albeit on a new course of a little more than 100 miles between Brescia, Cremona and Mantua, with the race run over nine laps. With this in mind, the marquiz Machiavelli (whose infamous forebear was often used as a point of comparison for Ferrari) and the young Alberto Ascari (son of the late Antonio) approached Ferrari to design and construct vehicles for the coming race.
Ferrari, working with engineers who had followed Ferrari back to Modena from Alfa, came up with a plan to use the chassis of a Fiat 508C, with the bodywork provided by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, lining two engines end to end to create an eight cylinder engine capable of 1500cc. This plan would put the cars in a different class from the more powerful Alfas, and they would also be eligible for a special prize for cars based on an existing Fiat design. The new car was to be known as the 815, reflecting the engine powering the vehicle.
The race was held on April 28th 1940, just days after Mussolini had met German dictator Adolf Hitler and subsequently called all Italian men over fourteen to arms. In this charged atmosphere, with a grid made exclusively of German and Italian vehicles, Ascari led his class for two laps before retiring with mechanical problems, which allowed the marquiz to take over for another 600 miles before he too retired. Italy declared war on Britain and France on June 10th 1940, and AAC began constructing light aircraft engines and hydraulic grinding machines for the manufacturing of ball bearings, all for the war effort.
In 1942, with the possibility of aerial bombings in Modena increasing, Ferrari purchased a plot of land in the small village of Maranello, about 18km south of Modena. In total the four farms purchased, and adjoining land Ferrari had previously purchased for a summer house, was over 300,000 square metres, which covers almost all of the area used by Ferrari S.p.A. today, including the factory and the Fiorano test track. This was a large purchase, far more than was needed for AAC's needs, and it seems that Ferrari was thinking ahead to a time after the war.
Allied forces landed in Sicily in July 1943, and il Duce was briefly deposed before German troops marched into Rome and reinstated him. Allied forces fought up the peninsula, with the new Ferrari factory being hit twice in bombing raids. In April 1945 Mussolini was shot by partisans and hung by his ankles in a petrol station, and the German forces in Italy subsequently surrendered.
The partisan forces turned their attention to industrial leaders with known fascist links, with many being murdered (including Ugo Gobbato, chairman of Alfa Romeo) or disappearing (such as Edoardo Weber, the carburetor manufacturer). Ferrari, who seemingly had never placed much stock in the party, was spared.
As soon as the war was over Ferrari moved to dump the business side of AAC, which had been very profitable during the war, in favour of recommencing his racing operation. He brought in engineers to this end - men like Luigi Bazzi from Alfa, who had worked for many years with Ferrari before the war, and Gioacchino Colombo, the former assistant of designer Vittorio Jano - who worked with Ferrari at Alfa and the old scuderia.
Colombo, who was under investigation at Alfa for alleged fascist party credentials, spent his time back in Milan designing for Ferrari what was to be the 125S, but upon completing the designs was informed that he was expected back at work at Alfa. He would play no further part in the manufacturing of the car, but he had started the process and done enough.
The car made its racing debut, in the hands of Nino Farina and Franco Cortese, at the Circuito di Piacenza on May 11th 1946. Ferrari, as had become his habit, was not in attendance. Farina was forced to pull out of the race after an accident in practice, but Cortese impressively managed to put the car in pole position. Cortese made a poor start but managed to claw back positions and was comfortably in the lead before retiring, with engine problems, three laps from the finish. Ferrari was pleased, declaring the car's performance was "a promising failure." Two weeks later Cortese won at the Primavera Romana dei Motori near Rome, confirming the promise and recording the first ever victory for a car manufactured by Ferrari.
Tazio Nuvolari, who was at this time contracted to the Cisitalia team, was persuaded to return to the scuderia for two races, both of which he won, including the race at the Circuito di Parma, where he stalled the engine on the grid before fighting back from last to first, to lead home Ferrari's first one-two finish, ahead of Cortese. The team worked on increasing the 125's engine to 1.9 litres for the forthcoming Grand Prix races, and Raymond Sommer piloted the newly rechristianed 159 to a win at the Turin Grand Prix after the Maseratis fell off with transmission problems. Ferrari had now won with two different cars, and in two different classes.
This success brought customers to Maranello, looking to buy cars from the fledgling auto manufacturer. Aristocrats, the rich and famous in all fields, started making the now familiar pilgrimage to the Maranello factory, to eat and drink with Ferrari. Although he could be scathing about these customers behind their backs (Ferrari was known to divide his customers into three groups - the sportsmen, the fifty year olds, and the exhibitionists), he knew that their money allowed him the luxury of running his racing team his own way, without the influence that a partner would demand. After his time with Alfa, there was no question that this freedom was vital to him.
One of these early customers, Prince Igor Troubetzkoy of Russia, actually won the Targa Florio with Clemente Biondetti in 1948, which delighted the old man (not least because it saved him the cost of entering a car himself). He then loaned the car to Nuvolari, now aged 55 and mourning the death of another son, to compete in the Mille Miglia. Nuvolari, sick and old but seemingly unable to stop racing, ran the car into the ground, as if mentally pushing the car into the lead despite it falling apart around him (at one stage the driver's seat gave way, only for him to throw it out of the car and sit on a bag of oranges).
With less than 200 miles remaining, Nuvolari's car, unable to take the punishment he was handing to it, gave up. Biondetti won the race in a Berlinetta, and Nuvolari ran his last race for Ferrari a month later, at the Coppa Alberto e Giorgio Nuvolari - which was named for his dead sons - and lead until his coughing of blood forced him to give way.
But Grand Prix racing was where Ferrari's real ambitions lay, and in September the scuderia officially joined their first race at the Torino Grand Prix. Farina, Sommer and Prince Bira of Siam were the drivers on the day, with Sommer bringing his car home in third place, giving the team a podium finish in their first Grand Prix. It was to be a false dawn - the cars were mechanically unreliable, and generally slow when they lasted the distance. The scuderia had a lot of work to do for the following season, although the announcement that the old enemy Alfa were pulling out of Grand Prix racing at the end of the year must have brought a wry smile to Ferrari's face.
For the winter of 1948-49 the new Argentinean president Juan Peron had offered support to the Italian teams to bring their cars to his country for the Temporada series, and Ferrari smelt an opportunity to win some races and sell some cars. The series was designed for Juan Manuel Fangio to show his abilities in a good car (Maserati had provided him with their latest vehicle, and had brought Ascari and Gigi Villoresi to run with him) in front of his home crowd. The new breed were replacing the old, who were dead or dying - Achille Varzi had died in practice earlier in the year; Nuvolari was at home, sidelined by illness; and Jean-Pierre Wimille lost control of his Simca and died in the first race in Buenos Aires.
Farina was the sole driver representing the scuderia, and won two races, generating enough interest in the team for them to sell the cars they had brought with them, and two more besides to English enthusiasts. One of these men, Tony Vandervell, would later provide substantial competition to the scuderia during his time at BRM and Vanwall, but at this early stage he was happy to paint the Ferrari green and race it as a 'Thinwall Special', the name of his bearings company, which had previously been a supplier to the scuderia.
Ferrari knew that he needed a better stable of drivers for the coming year, and to this end he drew both Ascari (for whom he had a lot of affection owing to the long relationship he had had with his late father) and Villoresi away from Maserati. The pair came in two-three in the first race of the Grand Prix season, at Spa, missing the victory because of extra pitstops compared to the slower Talbot of Louis Rosier.
Ascari resolved this problem by taking wins in the Swiss Grand Prix, the Daily Express Trophy at Silverstone, and at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where he lead from start to finish. Ascari's car was later purchased by the Automobile Club of Argentina, painted blue and yellow, and given to Fangio to race at the next Temporada series, the first time the maestro sat in one of Ferrari's cars. The scuderia entered the series using Formula Two cars with the name Fernet Branca (an aperitif manufacturer) painted in letters 12 inches high on the bonnet. They won all three races.
1948 also brought the debut, at the Torino auto show, of 2 variants of the 166 available to the public, in either an open barchetta (literally, small boat) style known as the MM (Mille Miglia) Spider or as a coupe known as the Inter. The cars were a huge success, both in sales (where the degree of luxury onboard was almost unknown in Italy) and on the track (Biondetti added yet another Mille Miglia win to the team records at the wheel of an MM Spider).
Luigi Chinetti, an old associate of Ferrari's and the first car dealer in America to take orders for his cars, also won the first post war Le Mans 24 Hours race at this time, having personally driven for an astonishing 23 hours in two stints. The reliability and strength of Ferrari's cars were proven in this race, and Chinetti was on hand in America to capitalise on the resultant interest in his New York dealership. Ferrari had broken into the most valuable market of them all.
Ferrari, his drivers and their wives were received by Pope Pius XII at the Vatican prior to the start of the 1950 season, the first of the new Formula One World Championship. It was obvious to most that he had as much interest in the Catholic Church as he had previously had in the Fascist Party, but he knew the value of such public gestures and went along. At least he met Pius - in 1988, shortly before Ferrari's death, Pope John Paul II journeyed to Maranello to give a blessing to the team and factory only to be told that the old man was too ill to come down from Modena to see the pope, and instead the two men spoke on the phone. It has been said that Ferrari made his confession to the pontiff, although it seems unlikely that he would have bothered with such things.
Unfortunately for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo had decided that the new Championship was a perfect time to relaunch themselves on the racing scene, which they did with a very well developed Tipo 158 (a car born in Ferrari's yard in Modena) driven by Farina, Fangio and Luigi Fagioli. It was a slaughter: six races, three wins to Farina (Silverstone, Bremgarten and Monza), three wins for Fangio (Monte Carlo, Spa and Rheims). Farina, Fangio and Fagioli were 1-2-3 in the Championship in that order, and they scored more points between them then every other driver combined. Ferrari celebrated their traditional Mille Miglia win, but the damage inflicted on the team by the destruction of their Grand Prix cars was clear to everyone.
For 1951 Alfa, under the guidance of Colombo (long since having moved to Milano after Ferrari replaced him as the team's racing engineer with Aurelio Lampredi), were to run the Tipo 159, still recognizably a variant of the old car. Lampredi designed the 375, a beast of a car with a monstrous 4.5 litre engine at its heart. The scuderia picked up wins in Syracuse, Pau and San Remo in the absence of Alfa, but by now the old man only really cared about the Grand Prix season. When it started, the old order reasserted itself - Fangio won in Switzerland, Farina in Spa, and Fangio again in Rheims, a race where Ascari was able to at least battle with the lead Alfa before his car broke, and also where Jose Froilan Gonzalez, the Pampas Bull, joined the scuderia and came home second on debut.
Gonzalez, a bear of a man whose frame seemed to flow over the sides of the cockpit as he drove and looked as though he steered the car by leaning into the corners, was about to write himself into the scuderia's history on a glacial weekend in Northamptonshire. An astonishing lap put his car, an older version of those of his teammates, on pole, and in the race he lost and then regained the lead from Fangio, stalled in the pits and looked to be getting out to hand his car to his team leader Ascari, who insisted he get back in, before taking the chequered flag to win the British Grand Prix, the first win for Ferrari in the new World Championship.
The chink in Alfa's armour was pierced, and Ascari and Gonzalez ran home consecutive one-twos at the Nurburgring and in Monza to put Ascari a mere two points behind Fangio in the deciding Spanish Grand Prix, held at the Pedralbes track near Barcelona. However, the scuderia made an error with their tyre choice and Fangio won an easy race and his first Championship. The scuderia, as usual, won the Mille Miglia, and Alfa made their now customary withdrawal from Grand Prix racing (although, unusually, this time they were not to come back for over 30 years). The absence of teams meant that, for 1952 and 1953 the World Championship was going to be run to Formula Two specifications, of which there were plenty of cars to compete.
It was 1951 when Ferrari spotted a driver who he was later to rate, alongside Nuvolari and Guy Moll, as the best he had ever seen, in the form of the nineteen year old Englishman Stirling Moss.
Moss was picking up drives where he could get them, mostly in old Coopers or HWMs, and Ferrari was impressed enough to offer the young driver the chance of a lifetime - join the scuderia in Argentina for the winter Temporada series and then become the junior driver in the works team for the 1952 championship. Moss had already received an offer to join Vandervell's fledgling BRM team, but he accepted the offer of a one-off drive for Ferrari in a non-championship race in Bari to test the waters. Upon arrival at the race, though, the mechanics knew nothing of this deal and refused to let Moss drive the car, having set it up for Piero Taruffi. Moss was infuriated and swore he would never drive for the scuderia at any price.
Despite the rule changes Ferrari was well placed to capitalise in the Championship, moving away from 12 cylinders to a high revving 4 cylinder engine in a modified chassis designed by Lampredi, and bringing Farina back into the fold alongside Ascari and Villoresi. Ascari won a hat trick of non-championship races before heading to Indianapolis for the 500, thus failing to attend the opening Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten, won by Taruffi in his car. He shouldn't have bothered taking the trip, as the car (the previous year's Grand Prix car) was uncompetitive and didn't run the distance.
Ascari made up for the diversion by winning the remaining six races in the Championship - Spa, Rouen, Silverstone, the Nurburgring, Zandvoort and Monza - in an exhibition of the power that was already becoming clear the previous year. Ciccio (fatso) Ascari brought home, in convincing fashion, the Championships to Maranello, albeit in the absence of Fangio, who was out for the season after an accident in a non-championship race.
Fangio was back for 1953 but could not stop Ascari running away with wins in Buenos Aires, Zandvoort and Spa, bringing a total of nine consecutive race wins, a record which stands to this day, before his new teammate Mike Hawthorn won a tight race against Fangio at Rheims. Normal service resumed thereafter, with Ascari sweeping Silverstone and Bremgarten; Fangio managed a token win for Maserati at Monza.
Typically, Ferrari mis-stepped when it came to negotiating with his star driver, assuming that the pleasure of driving for the scuderia would make up for the lack of money that other teams were willing to spend to gain the dual World Champion's signature. Ferrari apparently pushed a contract in front of Ascari, wanting him to sign it there and then, and when Ascari refused the relationship was over. Ascari called Villoresi, and the pair signed for Lancia, who were due to enter the World Championship with Vittorio Jano designing the car. The new team celebrated their first win over Ferrari at the Mille Miglia, where Ascari ended an astonishing run of success for his former employer.
The scuderia was in disarray - no star drivers, and an old-fashioned belief that chassis were unimportant in comparison to engine power, a belief that was soon to be shattered. The ugly 553 became known as il squalo (the shark), and the drivers (Farina, Gonzalez, Hawthorn and Maurice Trintignant) hated the lack of consistency inherent in the design. On top of that (and more importantly, in Ferrari's mind) the car was down on power compared to the rest of the grid, particularly in comparison to Mercedes Benz, who were now returning to motor racing after a lengthy absence.
Gonzalez managed a second Silverstone win, albeit in the older 625, and it wasn't until Spain that Hawthorn managed to bag a lucky win for the 553 after the opposition fell out with mechanical problems. Fangio walked to the title for the Germans, and with Moss due to join him the following year more pain was on the horizon.
And so it proved. Trintignant lucked into a win in Monte Carlo after the German cars broke down and, more dramatically, Ascari shot off the track and into the harbour, narrowly missing a moored yacht. The joy the scuderia felt by this fortuitous win was shattered the following week when, accepting an offer from his friend and fellow racer Eugenio Castellotti to test a new Ferrari 750S sports car, Alberto Ascari died after running off the track in a closed session at Monza. As sad as this was for Ferrari, for Lancia it was disastrous, coming on the heels of severe financial problems, and the Lancia company was soon sold as a result.
Ferrari, never slow to see a deal, made an approach to Prof. Vittorio Valletta and Gianni Agnelli, the chairman and designated successor at Fiat, to see if they could assist. Agnelli, who carried a cane due to a motoring accident caused through over-exuberance in his Ferrari in Monte Carlo, could see the advantage in helping the smaller manufacturer, and the deal was done. Fiat, on behalf of Ferrari, bought the entire racing team of Scuderia Lancia and put it at Ferrari's disposal, and Ferrari's problems with an outdated racing car were over.
Fangio easily wrapped up his third title, but after a horrific accident in Le Mans where the Mercedes of Pierre Bouillin left the track, killing 82 spectators, the German marque announced their total withdrawal from motor racing at the end of the year. Ferrari, who now had a stable of competitive cars and a long list of drivers, had the whip hand, and Fangio had to come cap in hand to Maranello. The deal was done - although neither man had any great like for the other. Fangio needed a good car, which the Lancia/Ferrari promised, and Ferrari needed the best driver of the period in his car, so the marriage of convenience was arranged.
Ferrari had long refused to nominate a number one driver, believing that the better of his stable should prove their worth on the track, and he carried this belief to the grave. Fangio felt that as a three time World Champion his desires should be placed above the 'lesser' drivers, and was annoyed. His teammates obviously knew their place, though, with Luigi Musso handing over his car to Fangio to take the race in Argentina and Peter Collins doing likewise in Monaco for second place behind Moss's Maserati.
Collins won in Spa and followed up in France on the day after Dino Ferrari, with whom he had become very close, had died at the age of 24. Fangio won in Silverstone and the Nurburgring, taking the Championship to a decider between himself, Moss and Collins at Monza, where he came second to Moss after Collins handed his car over, and he took his fourth title.
Ferrari, mourning the loss of his 'only' son, couldn't have cared less about losing the title. Dino had been a bright child and had an appreciation of mechanical matters from a young age. An engineering degree was the natural next step, and he was given a free reign to potter in his father's factory, where the mechanics loved him. The Formula Two cars entered in the year after his death were known as the Dino, and Ferrari claimed that the engine the car was based on was his son's design. Years later Ferrari was to release a road car known as the Dino, the only Ferrari road car not to carry the prancing horse logo (it had Dino's name written on the badge instead).
Death comes in threes, they say, and it happened that the scuderia was struck accordingly. Following Dino's death, Eugenio Castellotti, junior driver in the Grand Prix team, was killed while testing the new 801 car at the Modena aerodrome. Then at the 1957 Mille Miglia Alfonso de Portago and his navigator came off the road, killing nine spectators and themselves in the process. Piero Taruffi, by now fifty, won his only Mille Miglia from fourteen attempts for the scuderia on that black day. The deaths inevitably meant the end of the race for the future and a manslaughter charge against Ferrari, not to mention bringing a palpable feeling of loss to the scuderia and a hardening of his resolve to the old man.
Hawthorn came back to the team after a season effectively on the sidelines at BRM, and his best friend Collins was delighted. The pairing could do nothing about Fangio, now back at Maserati, who lead his team to the first four places in Argentina. Eraldo Sculati, the Ferrari's team boss, was too terrified to call the old man with the bad news, and was summarily sacked when he came home. Fangio steamed on, picking up wins in Monaco, Rouen and the Nurburgring, with his only real competition coming from the Vanwall of Moss, who won at Silverstone, a one off Pescara race, and the season finale at Monza. Fangio claimed his fifth title on the day that Maserati made their last ever Grand Prix appearance.
1958 was to prove the error of his ways to the old man when the little rear-engined Cooper was piloted to victory in the first two races of the season, as well as become the blackest period in the scuderia's history.
Ferrari put forward the Dino 246, a neat and versatile car which Hawthorn and Musso were able to wrestle into first and second positions in Rheims, before tragedy struck yet again and Musso ran off the track to his death. Shortly afterwards, at the Nurburgring, Collins also perished. Stuart Lewis-Evans, Moss's teammate at Vanwall, also died in the resultant fire after his accident in Casablanca. Death seemed everywhere in a season mostly noteworthy for the fact that Hawthorn won the first championship by an Englishman before promptly retiring from racing. This retirement, of course, was no protection from what was starting to seem like the Ferrari curse when he too perished, this time in a Jaguar road car while driving home after his return to England.
All this death, and still they came to drive for the old man. Phil Hill came, a young man from California looking for a new life, a life driving the already famous red cars. Dan Gurney too. Maserati were gone, the victim of bad finances. Vanwall too, closed after Lewis-Evans' death. One death - the old man probably thought them weak. He had his pick of drivers, though, because where else were they going to go if they wanted to drive a real Grand Prix car? Jean Behra and Tony Brooks came to Maranello and signed to drive for the scuderia.
Ferrari still knew what a Grand Prix car meant, even though others knew better. The ox still had to pull the cart, even though Cooper (and now Lotus's Colin Chapman) had proven him wrong. When the new car, a modified version of the previous year's Dino, sat on the grid next to the Lotuses and Coopers it didn't take a genius, or a stopwatch, to work out which was going to win. The Ferraris were all about brute strength in a straight line, which is why they managed to win in Rheims and the Nurburgring, but the agile garagiste (as the old man condescendingly referred to the British teams) cars were to hand a painful lesson to the old man.
Behra left quickly, yet another driver to feel the pain of the lack of team orders and who had decided to remedy the situation with his fists on the direttore sportivo before being summarily sacked. Jack Brabham and Moss won everything else between them in John Cooper's cars, with Brabham taking the title. The rear-engined cars had won, but it made no difference to the old man, who was starting to seem like a relic of another age with his adherence to the past, a man haunted by it.
Away from racing he finally dropped the Auto-Avio Construzioni name, changing it to Societa Esercizio Fabbriche Automobili e Corse (SEFAC), a limited liability company, a move which surely reflected the lawsuits from the final, disastrous, Mille Miglia.
Non mi piacciono i monumenti, he once said - monuments do nothing for me. Of course, the company he built has become the ultimate monument, in a country full of them, to him. Which is ironic, as he only started it in the first place to bankroll his love of motor racing. When asked which of the many cars his company had built he loved the most, he always replied his favourite was the next one that raced and won. The small, white haired old man was full of such quotes, and he seemed to delight in sharing them with the journalists, drivers, actors, sport stars and anyone else who made the pilgrimage to his factory, to his door, to spend some time with him (and, of course, to buy his wares). Such quotes added to the legend, and he had no problem with keeping the myth alive. He was known to many, and by many different names - some called him ingegnere, although he never studied engineering (he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bologna when he was in his sixties). Others knew him as commendatore, although the man himself thought it a fascist title. Many referred to him as The Old Man. Still others called him il drake - the dragon - while his mother merely called him Enzo. The man himself, though, referred to himself simply as Ferrari.
The name Ferrari is now synonymous with the racing team he started, the team that wouldn't exist today if he hadn't been there pushing and fighting for its existence. The last four World Constructors Championships and three World Drivers Championships are ample evidence of the merits of the team he left behind. But it is equally fair to say that the success the team enjoys today wouldn't have happened with the old man in control, a man who seemed entranced by the politics inherent in the team under him, a man who, while all who worked under him agreed that he controlled the team with an iron fist, seemed unwilling to eradicate the very forces that mitigated against him succeeding - the infighting entrenched under his watch.
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was born to Alfredo and Adalgisa Ferrari on 18 February 1898 during a snowstorm of such intensity that it took his father two days to get into Modena to register his birth, two years after his brother Alfredo (who was known as Dino) had entered the world. The boys shared a bedroom above their father's metal work shop, one of many in a region famous for such work, and they seemed to be very different in their outlook in life - while Dino was studious and performed well at school, the young Enzo preferred to run or ride his bike. It is said that at the time he wanted to be an opera singer, a sports writer or a racing driver - the latter presumably came from being taken, at the age of ten, to his first motor race. He briefly became a sports writer, at the age of 16 and before the war, for La Gazetta dello Sport, but the racing bug dug deep and stayed with him for his entire life.
In 1916, a year after Italy joined the First World War, the elder Alfredo contracted bronchitis, suffering with it for a small time before dying of the illness. Shortly afterwards Dino, who had joined the Air Force a year before, died in a sanatorium on the front of an unknown illness. Enzo, who felt desperately alone after these tragedies, received his call up papers the following year, and was given the job of shoeing the mules that were used to move field guns in the mountains. Within months he too fell ill, and only two operations prevented the family line dying with him. Many years later, with the rich and famous flocking to Modena to buy his cars, his mother was often heard to cry the better of my sons is dead. Presumably she didn't spend much time reading child rearing handbooks.
After the war, and with the family business finished due to his father's death, Ferrari traveled to Torino with - as he wrote in his memoirs Le mie gioie terribili (My Terrible Joys) - "no money, no experience, limited education. All I had was a passion to get somewhere." He initially approached the car making giant Fiat but was turned down, the personnel manager stating that they didn't have jobs for every ex-serviceman in Italy. Living off a small inheritance he took a room near the main station and was eventually offered a job at Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali (CMN), which were changing from the manufacture of tractors during the war to assembling passenger cars from spare parts, on the recommendation of a friend of his. He spent a lot of time testing the company's product, which awoke his enthusiasm for motor racing, leading him to pursue his dream of being a racer, using their cars.
Ferrari's first recorded race was in October 1919 at a hillclimb known as the Parma-Poggia di Berceto, driving a 2.3 litre CMN Tipo bought at a discount from the company. He set off many hours after the first driver started, and his efforts brought him home 12th overall, and 5th in his class. It was an inauspicious start, but enough to convince himself that he had a future in motor racing. To this end he decided that he would attempt the Targa Florio, a famous event run through the narrow, twisting streets of Sicily. In those days it was quite an achievement to even reach the course, let alone compete, given the poor state of the roads of Italy.
But arrive he did, after allegedly driving through a blizzard and scaring off a gang of wolves with a pistol he kept under the driver's seat, to find a 108 km 'circuit' that was entirely made up of public roads which, at any time, could see local peasants walking across the road, entirely unaware of what was about to scream around the corner.
On his first lap Ferrari was delayed by a loose petrol tank, which took 40 minutes to repair, relegating him to last place. On the final lap he was flagged down by 3 policemen who explained that the new president of Italy was making a speech in the piazza of the village ahead of them. Ferrari and his mechanic sat, with increasing agitation, as the long-winded politician spouted forth, only to be stuck behind the official procession for many miles after he finished. By the time Ferrari arrived at the finish line the race officials were long gone, with only a policeman there to record the times of all those who finished outside of the official cut off time of 10 hours.
Ferrari, furious, stormed into the race headquarters in Palermo and demanded that he be installed as an official finisher, and after a lengthy onslaught he was listed as finishing in ninth, and last, place. However, many years later a newspaper reported that the President was not in the village (Campofelice) on the day of the race, but actually in Termini Imerese, approximately 20km away and not on the actual circuit. This is not the only time that Ferrari's stories don't entirely match up with recorded history. Although he may not have approved of memorials, he certainly had no problem with myth making, even adding to the process himself on occasion.
Around this time he split with CMN, picking up a 7 litre Isotta Fraschini for the 1920 Parma-Poggia di Berceto, which he steered to second place behind the opera singer Giuseppe Campari, with whom he became close friends. After some minor races Ferrari was signed as a junior driver for the Alfa Romeo team, becoming Campari's teammate, and at the next Targa Florio Ferrari's drive brought the team second place overall and first in their class, a significant result for the young team and for Ferrari himself. The result drew the attention of Antonio Ascari, already a notable driver on the Italian scene, and he later signed to the team himself.
Ferrari had to wait until 1923 for his first race win, at the Circuito di Savio, held on roads outside of Ravenna. At the finish Ferrari and his mechanic were carried over the heads of the crowd, and Ferrari wrote that on that day he returned to Modena to be introduced to Count Enrico Baracca, whose son had fought and died in the air squadron in which Ferrari's elder brother Dino had also served, and that the Countess instructed him to henceforth put the prancing horse of her son on his car for luck. "I still keep the photograph of Baracca with the dedication by the parents in which they entrusted me with the emblem," Ferrari wrote in his memoirs. "The horse was, and has remained, black, but I myself added the yellow background, this being the colour of Modena."
There are many question marks about this meeting, especially as the cavallino rampante has become such a powerful symbol of the company Ferrari later formed, and of the man himself. Some have suggested that the emblem did not belong to Baracca himself, but was the emblem of the entire squadron he fought for. Others state that the black horse is the symbol of the city of Stuttgart, and as such may have been attached to a plane shot down by the young fighter pilot, who later cut it from the remains of the fuselage, as was the habit of the times. In a way it's appropriate that there is such doubt about the origins of something so integral to the myth of the man, although in any event it was not until 1932 that Ferrari attached the shield to one of his cars.
It was 1921 when Ferrari met Laura Domenica Garello, a girl two years younger than himself from a village near Torino, who he described as una donna buffa - a funny girl. Around this time Ferrari seemed to be taking an increasing interest in the management of Alfa's racing team, persuading mechanics and other drivers to join, even if it meant that he was knocked down the pecking order in the driving roster.
The couple were married in April 1923, beginning a prolonged period of acrimony between wife and mother in law, both women fighting for the attention of Ferrari who seemed unable to ever achieve any sort of peace between the two, and who in any case was to remain seemingly more interested in his work. Ferrari had opened a business preparing and selling Alfa Romeos in Modena for the rich enthusiasts of the region, and it probably gave him respite from the bickering of the two women in his life.
In 1923 Ferrari spent little time in the cockpit of the Alfas, painted in the blood red of Italy - a colour which is said to have originated from the colour of the coats worn by the soldiers who fought with Garibaldi the previous century. It is unclear whether this was the idea of the team or of Ferrari himself, but the cars were good enough to bring success in the hands of Ascari and Campari, who between them won in Cremona, the Grand Prix of Europe, and led a clean sweep of four Alfas at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
The following year Ferrari raced only five times, winning three of them, in Savio (ahead of Tazio Nuvolari, just beginning his car racing career after switching from motorbikes), Polesine and Pescara. The latter was a major race, and the win came despite Ferrari starting in a car markedly inferior to the P2 Campari was driving, which meant he held no great expectations prior to the race.
From the start he was able to open a lead on the other drivers due to a large weight benefit, but he spent much of the race looking over his shoulder for his more fancied teammate, whose car had suffered mechanical problems and had accordingly pulled into a side street, so that the opposition would not realise he was missing until it was too late. This was probably Ferrari's introduction to team tactics.
This success led to Ferrari's potential big break - the team invited him to race with the new P2, alongside Ascari and Campari, at the forthcoming French Grand Prix. Ferrari arrived in Lyon with the team, and his memoirs state that "after the practice, which went well, I felt completely shattered. It made me so ill that I had to withdraw from the race."
Subsequent comments by Ferrari, as well as theories put forward from many quarters, seem to contradict themselves as to the actual cause of these strange actions, but it seems most likely that Ferrari suffered a form of mental breakdown. And, apart from a few minor races, this was effectively the end of his career in a car, and from that time on he devoted himself almost entirely to his business of preparing and selling cars, as well as moving into a management role in the Alfa Romeo racing team.
During this period Ferrari expanded his dealership to take in the Emilia Romagna region, opening a new office in Bologna. On a national stage the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini was strengthening. Ferrari claimed to never take much of an interest in such things, although he was astute enough to realise that taking membership in the party would not harm his flourishing business, given the interests of his clientele. He was certainly not alone in this regard, with the owners of most businesses of the time doing likewise.
Alfa's racing team welcomed 1925 with a successful car, and a mood among the drivers and mechanics to match. This ebullient mood was shattered at the French Grand Prix in Linas-Montlhery when, while leading the race and looking for his third success in a row, the P2 of Ascari was pitched into a gruesome series of somersaults, resulting in his almost instant death. Ferrari, who modeled his business and racing career largely on the man, was devastated. At the funeral in Milan, it is said, Campari picked up the dead man's young son Alberto and told him "some day you will arrive at the heights, like he did. Perhaps you will be even more famous." (Which, while prescient, seems a little too quoteworthy to be likely.)
Ferrari tried to persuade the team to pick up Nuvolari at this stage, but in a test session to establish his worth he overdrove the P2, running off and rolling to the bottom of a slope, ending up entwined in a barbed wire fence. He didn't get the drive. Gaston Brilli-Perri did, taking victory at the Italian Grand Prix and the World Championship with it, after which Alfa Romeo announced their withdrawal from the Grand Prix circuit.
Ferrari lobbied hard and gained control of the management of the team and, when the inaugural Mille Miglia (thousand mile) race was run in 1927, he entered 3 cars to compete. Brilli-Perri set the initial running, but eventually each of the Alfas was to fall by the way. Nonetheless, the new race had captured the imagination of racing fans around the country and, eventually, around the world.
Nuvolari, shunned by the Alfa team, formed his own scuderia with five Bugattis purchased from the proceeds of racing. He was not alone, as many others were starting their own teams at the time. Ferrari had seen many of the cars prepared in his dealership race to some success, and the obvious next stage was to start a team of his own.
At a dinner with some of his wealthy clients he proposed the creation of his team, the Societa Anonima Scuderia Ferrari, with the result that Alfredo Caniato and Mario Tadini, who were already racing cars purchased from Ferrari, put up 130,000 lire, with a further 50,000 from Ferrari himself and a small addition from another friend. How Ferrari managed to extract this amount from men already driving his cars is not recorded, although he was always a persuasive man.
The Alfa Romeo executives in charge of racing, who had grave concerns about their own abilities to run a team but knew the value of success in racing, were easily convinced by Ferrari that he would be able to carry out this role successfully, in conjunction with the factory team, and they provided a token sum to this end, along with the tyre manufacturer Pirelli, as well as supplying the cars.
Flush with success Ferrari approached the spark plug manufacturer Bosch and the Shell lubricant company for support, inadvertently beginning the practice of trade sponsorship for racing teams.
The scuderia set up base back in Modena and prepared for the 1930 Mille Miglia. Ferrari entered 6 cars, none of which were to see the finish line, in a dramatic race won by Nuvolari, who tailed Achille Varzi in the dark for many miles without his lights on, sweeping past him just before they arrived at Brescia, giving Varzi no chance to retaliate. Both drivers were to play a major part in Ferrari mythology in the years to come.
A week later Ferrari entered himself in the race at the Circuito di Alessandria, driving a 1750, finishing third and earning the team's first podium, with Campari joining the team later in the year to earn a further third place in Caserta. This success led to Alfa providing the team with the more powerful P2, for which Campari was expected to return to the factory team.
Ferrari, in a brilliant move, secured the services of Nuvolari to drive the powerful new vehicle. Nuvolari, whose driving abilities were never in doubt even if his business acumen was, rewarded the team with a hat trick of win in hill climb events. At the end-of-season dinner Ferrari noted that, from 22 races, his team had secured 8 victories and a number of other good placings - a magnificent debut in all. With the proceeds of this success Ferrari set up a new headquarters, on Viale Trento e Trieste, on which location the team was to remain until the war.
The following year Ferrari competed in his final race as a driver, at the age of 33 and with his wife pregnant, at the Circuito delle Tre Provincie, south of Bologna, in one of the new Alfa 8C Monzas. Nuvolari, competing in a smaller 1750, broke the throttle cable in a heavy landing after hitting a trough. For a lesser driver this would have been the end of the race, but Nuvolari took his mechanic's belt and instructed him to use it to run the throttle while he steered and used the brakes normally. Making up the time lost, and more besides, he won the race to the astonishment of all in attendance. Ferrari, second in the race in a superior car, realised that his time as a driver was over. He signed Piero Taruffi, another young motorbike racer, and retired from driving.
Dino Ferrari was born on February 19th 1932, named after his dead uncle and grandfather, suffering from the rare defect known as Duchene's Muscular Dystrophy. His parents never had another child, possibly because they learned that the illness was genetic. They were simple people, for all their success, and medical advice was not what it is now. Certainly the relationship between the two parents was strained from this time, although the open secret that Ferrari had taken up with Lina Lardi, a quiet, elegant local girl, couldn't have helped.
Ferrari increasingly spent time with Lardi, in a relationship that lasted for the rest of his life, but a divorce would have been unthinkable for the times. Lardi was also to provide him with another male heir some years later, although Ferrari refused to publicly acknowledge that he had fathered Piero until after his wife's death in 1978. While divorce was unthinkable, the shame that would be brought to his wife if Ferrari admitted the affair was equally so. In Italy, then and now, appearances are important. An example, possibly apocryphal, of working for appearances sake: the Ferrari engine tuners, working on a new model, played with the trumpets at length to achieve the right engine note, not for performance sake, but rather to be pleasing to the ear. It worked - the famous conductor Herbert von Karajan once told Ferrari that, when he drove his car, he heard a symphony.
Caniato decided the time was right to sell his shares in the company, and the buyer was Count Carlo Felice Trossi, an amateur driver who took the team's first win for the 1932 season in the Coppa Gallenga. For the Mille Miglia, Ferrari transported nine cars to the start in support of the 4 factory cars. The Alfa of Mario Borzacchini won, with Trossi and Scarfiotti following behind for the Scuderia's best result to date in the race.
The famous shield made its first appearance later that year at the 24-hour race in Spa, where the team took first and second places, and after which the team never raced without the emblem. The team received their first new P3 from Alfa later that year, to immediate effect, with Nuvolari winning the Coppa Acerbo easily.
The political situation in Italy was changing rapidly at the time, with Mussolini pushing into Africa and demanding more support from the large national industries. To this end Alfa Romeo was placed under a state protection order and requested to turn their focus to supplying vehicles for the expanding military. The factory announced their complete withdrawal from motor racing with immediate effect at the start of 1933. Ferrari, always quick to seize an opportunity, organised a meeting with senior executives at Alfa to persuade them to allow the scuderia to take over all of the factory team's activities. And, of course, the supply of new P3s, which had proven so successful. Despite all of his success in the previous three seasons the answer was no, and the beautiful cars were locked away in a warehouse.
Ferrari would have to survive on the cars he already owned, or look elsewhere for the future. He made enquiries for alternative vehicles around Europe, but meanwhile business had to continue. Nuvolari won the Tunis Grand Prix before bringing the scuderia a win in the Mille Miglia. In Monaco he battled intensely with Varzi for 3 hours before his engine caught fire on the hundredth (and final) lap, at which time he tried to push it to the finish. A mechanic came over and attempted to help him and he was disqualified. His car broke down again in the Marne Grand Prix, and suddenly the cars were looking very old indeed.
Nuvolari, seeing the writing on the wall, signed a contract to race with immediate effect for Maserati, with predictable results. Ferrari was livid, but he managed to extract a deal whereby the Maserati Nuvolari was to drive in Spa would be entered by Scuderia Ferrari. Predictably he won, but later in the year Nuvolari announced he was leaving for good, taking his mechanic, and teammates Borzacchini and Taruffi with him to Maserati. Ferrari, in desperation, turned to his friend Mario Lombardini from Pirelli to intercede on his behalf with Alfa to obtain the P3s. The deal was done, albeit for a hefty price, and the team was saved.
With his driving force depleted Ferrari turned to his old friend Campari, who came out of retirement for him, and he signed Luigi Fagioli and Louis Chiron. The scuderia was back in business, celebrating wins at the Coppa Acerbo, and the Comminges and Marseilles Grand Prix. The Italian Grand Prix at Monza was another success for Fagioli before tragedy struck on the banked track that afternoon for the Monza Grand Prix, when a four-car crash resulted in the deaths of Campari and Borzacchini. Ferrari mourned the death of his great friend Campari, and the scuderia had suffered their first fatal loss.
For the 1934 season Fagioli left to join Mercedes Benz and the test driver Eugenio Siena decided to form his own team. However, Alfa Romeo confirmed that the scuderia was to represent their interests in racing, recommending two young Algerian drivers, Marcel Lehoux and Guy Moll, to the team. Varzi was also brought on board, the only driver of the time seen to be comparable in skill to the great Nuvolari. It was Moll, however, who drew first blood; winning in Monaco after his teammate Chiron spun off towards the end of the race. Varzi followed up with a win in the Mille Miglia before leading his teammates home in the Tripoli Grand Prix in a clean sweep for the scuderia, as well as winning the Targa Florio after Chiron's success in the Moroccan Grand Prix.
The German teams of Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, however, were becoming increasingly difficult to beat, due to the massive support being put into the automotive industry in Germany under the instruction of Adolf Hitler. Moll managed a lucky win at the AVUS circuit in Berlin when the German cars retired with mechanical problems, but these were to be rectified by the time they arrived at the Nurburgring, where the beautifully streamlined silver cars came home first and second at the hands of Manfred von Brauchitsch and Hans Stuck (father of Hans Joachim Stuck). Hereafter the Italian cars were only able to succeed in the absence of the silver machines, either through retirement or non-appearance.
Tragedy was to strike the scuderia again at the Targa Abruzzo/Coppa Acerbo joint meeting when Moll, chasing Fagioli's Mercedes after the retirement of the other German cars, swerved off the road and hit a stone pillar and bridge, dying instantly. Years later Ferrari wrote about Moll: "never have I seen such coolness and self-assurance in the face of danger. Moll had what it takes to be one of the all time greats."
At Monza, Nuvolari was the highest placed of the Italian teams in fifth, and the destruction by the German cars was complete. Varzi signed with Auto Union for the following year and, with no one else to turn to, Ferrari re-signed Nuvolari, for a very large salary and 50% of all winnings, to the joy of the scuderia's workforce, if not the accountant. Rene Dreyfus joined him, and the designer Vittorio Jano returned to Alfa to come up with the replacement for his P3.
Ferrari, knowing that he would not be able to compete with the Germans for some time, started looking at other formulas which would offer him a chance at success. At the time the Formula Libre category offered the most likely chance, as there was no restriction in size or weight on the car. He commissioned his workers to take two P3 engines, placing them front and rear of a single seater chassis, and link them with a three-speed gearbox.
The resultant car was known as the Bimotore, and although it was badged as an Alfa Romeo it was in fact the first car manufactured entirely by Scuderia Ferrari, with the shield appearing as an enamel badge on the front of the car, rather than being painted on the side. The car was raced in Tunis, with Nuvolari at the wheel, but he was to return to the pits 3 laps later for new tyres, a process he repeated 12 times during the race. The same problem hit the car at the AVUS circuit and, after a publicity-seeking run near Firenze - where the record for fastest flying mile and kilometer was broken, the Bimotore was quietly retired.
Meanwhile the team recorded a one-two in Pau, followed up by yet another success in the Mille Miglia. The Grand Prix season, however, began as the previous one had finished, with the silver cars sweeping all others away. At the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, under the watchful eye of Hitler's Korpsfuhrer Adolf Huhnlein, the Germans were so confident of victory that they had only the German national anthem to hand for the post race celebrations. Nuvolari, in the same aging car as his teammates, who retired, moved slowly up from fourth to first before the pit stops, where he was stuck for over two minutes because of a pressure pump failure in the fuel rig.
Hereafter Nuvolari worked a miracle, using all of his abilities to run the car from sixth to second before the last lap where, pushing Brauchitsch to the full, the leader's tyre burst and Nuvolari was through for a win, in what was declared by many as the greatest drive ever. It was several minutes before an Italian flag was found to run up the pole at the ceremony afterwards, and the national anthem was provided by Nuvolari's own record, which he always carried with him for luck. The Germans were beaten on their home turf, and the Italians were delirious with joy, although it was to prove a brief high point in an otherwise disappointing season.
The following season was to prove equally disappointing, with Nuvolari joined by Giuseppe Farina in the lacklustre 8C-35. A one-two at the Mille Miglia didn't make up for what was a terrible Grand Prix season for the team, and the real highlight was an extremely fortunate win for Nuvolari at the Vanderbilt Cup, a competition designed to test the best of the American cars against those from Europe. This success led Mussolini, who was keen to see Italian cars compete well against those from Germany, to push Alfa into a deal to purchase 80% of the scuderia, providing much needed resources to the small team.
As part of this deal, engineer Gioacchino Colombo was transferred to the scuderia, and he immediately began plans to build a car with which to compete in voiturette racing - a single seater formula with engines restricted to 1.5 litres, and which the Germans did not compete in. The car was to be based on the Auto Union Grand Prix cars, including the rear engine, but Ferrari declined to follow through on the idea, stating that "it's always been the ox that pulls the cart." This conservatism was surprising, considering that he had spent a year having his cars soundly beaten by this very engineering design, but Ferrari always maintained the final say at his team, and the idea was shelved.
Ferrari won at the Mille Miglia for the fifth consecutive time, but the Grand Prix season ran much as the previous two. Another trip to New York had been a farce, with the Germans winning easily, and to make matters worse Nuvolari's 18 year old son Giorgio died of pericarditis while he was away.
Alfa had presented the team with a new car, the 12C, but it was a failure. Nuvolari, after much pressure, signed to drive with Auto Union, and morale at the scuderia was at an all time low. Alfa, reeling, announced that they were purchasing the scuderia outright, and that the team would be formed into a new factory team, Alfa Corse, with Ferrari running the team. The deal made Ferrari a wealthy man, but instead of being a padrone he was now merely an employee, albeit a well paid one.
The 1938 season began with the unveiling of the new Alfa Tipo 158, which became known as the Alfetta, a beautiful car which won on debut at the Coppa Ciano in the hands of Mimi Villoresi after a fierce battle with the Maserati driven by his brother Gigi. In the Grand Prix circuit, however, the Germans still had the upper hand, which led to the Italian racing authorities announcing that henceforth all Grands Prix held in their territories would be run to the voiturette formula.
The first race held under these new rules was the Tripoli Grand Prix, where 28 of the 30 entrants were in Italian cars, with Mercedes Benz entering the remaining two, driven by Herman Lang and Rudi Caracciola. The Germans finished one-two in that order, with Mimi Villoresi a distant third, leaving the Italian teams to mutter darkly about additives in the German fuel.
Within a month Mimi was dead, the result of an accident in testing, and shortly afterwards Ferrari was sacked by the Alfa chairman after a long running feud between Ferrari and chief designer Wilfredo Ricart. A section of the purchase document forbade Ferrari from forming another racing team using his name for a period of four years. His adventures in racing seemingly at an end, Ferrari retreated to Modena to lick his wounds while all around him Europe was bracing itself for war.