“I thought you would never ask! Well, it’s quite a story. I was originally the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, an Italian WWI pilot and a national hero. He used to paint me on the side of his plane. He passed away on 1918, too young to die, but that is all in the past. Enzo met Francesco’s mother Countess Baracca on a racetrack in Savio in 1923. He had won the race. It was the countess who suggested that Ferrari use this emblem in his cars.” The horse was smiling as he spoke
The Prancing Horse & the Racing Red- part 2
Rahul sat in front of his computer, his feet tapping restlessly, his eyes swinging between the clock and the 250 GTO model.
“Waiting for me?” a wry voice asked.
“Hey, you are back. So, tell me, what happened after Enzo Ferrari left Alfa?”
“Well, On Sept 13 of the same year, Enzo started the Auto Avio Construzioni in Modena itself. The following year, Ferrari built two models of the 815 on a FIAT platform for the pre war Mille Maglia race but the race did not see much competition. Three years later, AAC shifted to its present location, Maranello.”
“You know, I have taken the online tour of the factory and man, it sure is something.”
The horse smiled and said, “Yes it is, but did you know that it was bombed twice during the world war?”
No way! Really?
Yes, really! But it was quickly rebuilt. It was in 1945 that work began in the design of the first Ferrari. In 1947, the 125S was taken out for its first drive on open road. Ah, what a moment that was. I was so proud to be on the front of that car.”
“Hey, that reminds me of something I have been meaning to ask you. How did you becoming the official logo of Ferrari?”
“I thought you would never ask! Well, it’s quite a story. I was originally the symbol of Count Francesco Baracca, an Italian WWI pilot and a national hero. He used to paint me on the side of his plane. He passed away on 1918, too young to die, but that is all in the past. Enzo met Francesco’s mother Countess Baracca on a racetrack in Savio in 1923. He had won the race. It was the countess who suggested that Ferrari use this emblem in his cars.” The horse was smiling as he spoke. He cleared his throat before continuing,
“From 1947 onwards, there was only one way for the brand to go and that was up. We won the Mille Magna in 48, the Le Mans 24 hours race in 49 and our first F1 World Championship Grand Prix in 51. We were also the world champions in 52, thanks to the then driver Alberto Ascari, who was to repeat the feat the following year.”
“In 1969, Enzo signed an agreement with the FIAT group according to which FIAT acquired a 50% stake in Ferrari. 1987 saw the birth of the F40, the last car to be created under Enzo Ferrari. Enzo left this world on Aug 14, 1988 but Ferrari the brand continues to grow. Ferrari has seen many changes since. Luce di Montazemelo took over as Chairman in the year 1991 while Enzo’s son Piero has been Vice Chairman since 1988. Also, the ownership of Ferrari has shifted from family hands with FIAT now owning 56% of Ferrari. Other major share holders are Mediobanca with 15%, Commerzbank AG with 10%, Lehman Brothers with 6.5%, and Piero Ferrari with 10%.”
“Hmm, so tell me more about your history in racing. I mean, after all, you are more famous for your racing cars rather than your road cars.”
“Yes, that is true. Legend is that Ferrari hated making road cars. One thing that I can tell you is that his true passion was always racing. As for our racing history, well, to put it in your language, it sure is something! As far as the F1 is concerned, we are the oldest team in the Championship and also the most successful one. Our first race victory in F1 was in Silverstone on 14th July, 1951. As I mentioned before we got our first F1 World Drivers Championship in 1952. As of 2008, we have repeated this achievement 15 times in the years 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007. Also we have 16 World Constructors Championship titles in the years 1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008. We have also managed to rack up an astonishing 209 Grand Prix victories within the same period.
Apart from this, Ferrari also has an impressive record in the Le Mans 24 hour race. Some of our most famous drivers are Alberto Ascari, Niki Lauda, Gilles Vileneuve, Alain Prost, Reubens Barrichelo and of course, the legend himself Michael Schumacher.”
“You forgot Kimi and Felipe!”
“No, I haven’t. I was just coming on to them. It is not my fault if you chose to jump the gun. Our latest season, 2009 has seen Kimi Raikonnen and Felipe Massa in the driver’s seat. Recently Giancarlo Fischichella has stepped in to fill in the shoes of an injured Felipe. Lastly, the car designed for the 2009 season is the stylish F60. There, have I covered all the bases to your satisfaction now?”
Rahul grinned and nodded.
“There is of course much that I have not told you but I think that I have covered all the essentials. It is now time that I went back to my world. Rahul, just one piece of advice before I go. If you feel that you don’t know what it is that you really want, then it is because you are not listening to your heart. You know what I think? I think that if you looked inside yourself, you would see nothing but the prancing horse and the racing red. It was a privilege talking to you, Rahul. I have great expectations for you. All my love. ”
And with that the horse vanished leaving behind an astonished but content Rahul.