25 years on: Enzo Ferrari remembered
14 August 2013 – It is 25 years to the day since Enzo Ferrari, founder of the iconic Italian marque that bears his name, passed away at the age of 90.
After being drafted into the Italian army as a soldier in World War I, Ferrari then worked for several years as an employee at Alfa Romeo, before setting up his eponymous racing team in 1929. The squad has since contested every season of the Formula 1 World Championship, and holds the record for the highest amount of wins in the top echelon.
A reserved man in public, Ferrari nevertheless commanded respect and admiration from employees and rivals alike. The Scuderia still emanates a cetain aura like no other, with Enzo's personal office left untouched since the day he died, and Maranello remaining as a site of pilgrimage for the legions of devout tifosi.
Having stepped down as managing director in 1971 in favour of current chairman Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari remained as a figurehead and spiritual leader of the team until his death, reportedly retaining a final say on driver appointments and car design philosophy.
Referred to colloquially as 'íl Drake', the Italian always considered the engine to be the most important part of any racing car. Consequently, the Prancing Horse has historically favoured the implementation of extravagant V12 powerplants when permitted by the regulations, with the resulting sounds often referred to as a sporting benchmark.
In a poignant twist of fate, the first race to be held following Ferrari's death was the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, with his grieving squad securing an emotional one-two finish in what proved to be the only race of the season not won by a McLaren.
"It’s impossible to sum up in a few words what Enzo Ferrari has meant to me,” said di Montezemolo. “I owe so much to him, to his courage, to his ability to always look ahead, even at the most difficult moments, both on a personal and a professional level.
“Next to my desk in Maranello, I have a photo of the Founder: at times when I have to take an important decision, I instinctively find myself looking at it and asking myself what he would have done.”