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