Enzo Ferrari: An automotive visionary

The Ferrari is a symbol of prestige, elegance, speed and status. It’s a car that’s within reach only for the wealthy, the royal, and the famous. So how did a mule-skinner’s boy develop one of the world’s most prestigious luxury sports car brands? How did he build a racing team that has won over 40 constructor and driver championships in a sport that’s only sixty four years old?

The most important victory is the one which has to arrive. - Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari was born ointo a family that ran a mule-skinning business. While he was enrolled in the Army, his father and brother had died from a widespread flu outbreak. The ramifications showed in the family business. Ferrari dreamt of working for Fiat, a premier Italian automotive company, but was rejected.

Instead, he took a job with a smaller automotive manufacturer, CMN. He began by designing truck bodies into smaller passenger cars, but moved to the racing team in 1919. Even though he didn’t find much success in his early days, he moved to the Alfa Romeo racing team. Here, he did quite well on the local circuits and he would say “The most important victory is the one which has to arrive”.

As the largesse of victories grew, Alfa commissioned him to race on the world circuit, but he rejected and instead started Scuderia Ferrari as one of the racing wings of Alfa Romeo. This decision developed into a life-long dream of developing his own brand of race cars and then, into one of the world’s most desired sports car brands.

Ferrari goes beyond his instincts

Novulari was one of the best racers in the early days of racing. Ferrari observed him and said, “As bend followed bend, I discovered his secret. Nuvolari entered the bend somewhat earlier than my driver’s instinct would have told me to”. This idea of going beyond one’s instincts pervaded all parts of his life.

He was not one to mute the voices of skeptics in his head; instead he would work hard to prove them wrong. When Alfa Romeo said that he could not build a 1.6 litre engine that would function in the rigours of the race track, Ferrari set out to prove them wrong; in the process building one of the most successful racing engines of all time.

By being unfazed in the face of criticism, pursuing his ambitious goal to be in racing and by going beyond his instincts, he developed a brand of cars that everyone seems to dream about.

Ferrari pledges himself to consistency

Due to funding problems at Alfa, Pirelli, the tyre manufacturing company, stepped in to help Ferrari out. Despite all the back-end tumult, the Ferrari engines just kept getting better and better. The engines were so good that the team had 40 drivers and kept winning till Alfa Romeo could take back control of Scuderia in four years.

Ferrari was slowly edged out of the organization and couldn’t build race cars because of his contracts. He made a reticent move to supply parts, which was taken over by the government during WWII to build military vehicles and armour. Post the war, Ferrari worked very hard to earn his old reputation of consistency back.

This is when he started the eponymous luxury sports car brand. Within four years, they started winning at the highest level of motorsport, Formula 1. A testament to their consistency is that Ferrari is the only racing team to have participated in every world championship of F1 in the history of the sport.

A deep passion for his work, a work ethic based on consistency, and his fighting spirit, helped this visionary truly change the landscape of the automotive industry.

Action Points

  • Consistency is very important in business.

  • Strengthen your core competencies.

  • Have a deep passion for your work.

  • Look towards the future.

  • Keep up with your competitors.

    ~ Amala Putrevu