Enzo Ferrari Biography

photo: Enzo Ferrari

Ferrari grew up in Modena where his father was a manufacturer. He decided he wanted to become a racing driver at a young age, after going to the races in Bologna with his family.

Ferrari grew up in Modena where his father was a manufacturer. He decided he wanted to become a racing driver at a young age, after going to the races in Bologna with his family.Enzo Ferrari was born on 18 February 1898 in Modena and grew up with little formal education but he always knew he wanted to be a racing driver.

The First World War killed both his father and brother in 1916. Enzo was enlisted in the third Alpine Artillery of the Italian army until he contracted the deadly flu at the end of the war. He survived.

The jobs that he took immediately after the war were all related to cars. He worked for CMN and Vespa as a test driver, and then got a position at Alfa Romeo. At the same time, he was developing as a driver, taking part in the first post-war sporting event of 1919.

His success in racing got him promoted to full factory driver for Alfa Romeo and he started taking part in higher profile events. He was awarded by the new leader, Mussolini, for his ability.

In 1932, he married Laura with whom he had a son called Alfredo in the same year. He was brought up to be Enzo's successor but he died from muscular dystrophy in 1956.

His interest in the technical dimension of cars meant that he was not content to be a driver. During the next war he was involved in manufacturing for the war effort.

Ferrari's mistress Lina Lardi gave birth to his son Piero in 1945, who was named as his successor after Laura's death in 1978. He is now vice-president of the firm.

In 1946, Ferrari produced the first car to take his name. The Ferrari company flourished in the post-war economy of the 1950s. He raced in the Formula One Championships when they were first established in 1950 but he did not get his first victory until the British Grand Prix in 1951.

His team won their first F1 Championship in the 1952-53 season. His decision to continue racing in the dangerous and grueling long-distance competition Mille Miglia brought his company new victories and public recognition.

In 1957, a Ferrari car driven by Alfonso de Portago blew a tyre and crashed into the roadside crash at the Mille Miglia. The driver, co-driver and nine spectator including five children were killed. In response, Ferrari and tyre manufacturer Englebert were charged with manslaughter as they chose to let the car continue for an extra stage rather than stop for a tyre change. It was dismissed in 1961.

The firm's greatest victories were enjoyed at Le Mans rather than in F1 despite a number of victories during the 1960s in Grand Prix.

The man himself remained dedicated to the company for the rest of his life; many considered him a workaholic. After his death, his management was called into question as seven Ferrari drivers were killed while racing between the late 1950s and through the 1960s - a high toll even for that period.

Even though it was responsible for making some of the most stylish models of car of that era, the company's fortunes declined in the 1960s, and 90 per cent of it was bought by Fiat in 1969.

Ferrari stood down as company president in 1971, although he remained closely involved until his death in 1988. He died at the start of the Honda-McLaren dominance of F1 but the Ferrari team has enjoyed success in recent years with the brand winning the world championship in 2004 with Michael Schumacher and in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.


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