Who is Enzo Ferrari 101: Everything You Wanted To Know

By Matteo Drelli. Updated Aug 23, 2023

Enzo Ferrari picture

Enzo Ferrari, through himself and his racing team, won 9 drivers' world championships and 8 constructors' world championships in Formula 1.

The Beginnings of Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari was born in Modena on February 1898. Still, due to very heavy snowfall, his father could only report the birth to the registry office two days later, on February 20 1898.

His father, Alfredo Ferrari, was originally from Carpi, in the province of Modena, while his mother, Adalgisa Bisbini, was born in Marano Sul Panaro, also in the province of Modena. The father was the founder of a mechanical carpentry workshop that resided next door to the Ferrari family home.

Enzo had a poor school performance and preferred working in his father's workshop to studying. His father died in 1915 of pneumonia, and his brother Alfredo Junior, also called Dino, died the following year. His brother had left as a volunteer in First World War. Enzo was also to be called to arms, and while waiting, he found employment as an instructor at the Modena Firemen's Workshop. In 1917 he was drafted into the third alpine artillery division, but in the same year was discharged because of pleurisy.

Work Activity, the Move from Modena and FIAT Rejection

Recovering from pleurisy, with a letter of recommendation, Enzo Ferrari arrived in Turin and asked to be hired at FIAT but was refused. But what heartened him was his meeting with the tailor Laura Garella, to whom he became engaged and to whom he would later marry.

After a short trip to Turin's many metalworking companies, he found employment at Carrozzeria Giovannoni. In addition to shop work, Ferrari's job was to test reconditioned chassis and deliver them to Carrozzeria Italo-Argentina in Milan. This task allowed him to improve greatly at driving, becoming an accomplished driver. However, this additional task slowly faded because the demand for reconditioned chassis became increasingly scarce.

Thanks to a trip to Milan in 1919, he found new employment in a small Milanese mechanical engineering firm, CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali), where his friend Ugo Sivocci was a partner. Sivocci took Enzo's situation to heart and hired him as a testing assistant. Ferrari made his competitive debut in the 1919 Parma-Poggio di Berceto Hillclimb race. However, the first major competition in which Ferrari participated, the 10th Targa Florio, went poorly. It was at this time that Enzo Ferrari's entrepreneurial spirit was born, namely that of an agitator, a person who sees the problem and wants to fix it.

Enzo Ferrari Racing Career

Racing Career and Enzo as a Team Manager

In 1920 Ferrari became a race car driver with Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo, however, was a club for Gentlemen Drivers, non-professional automobile drivers.

Enzo finally succeeded in settling down financially. In the previous years, he suffered greatly from the death of his father and brother, both psychologically and economically. So he decided to marry Laura and get a house in Turin. They were married on April 28, 1923. Ferrari won the first edition of the Savio Circuit Grand Prix in the same year. According to Enzo Ferrari, the mother of Francesco Baracca gave him the symbol that the aviator wore on his nacelle, a prancing horse. She asked Enzo to put his own son's prancing horse on his cars so that he would have good luck for life. In 1932 Ferrari used the prancing horse as a symbol of the vehicle.

In 1924 Enzo Ferrari participated in founding the Bologna-based sports newspaper 'Corriere dello Sport,' still a very famous newspaper in Italy today. In the same year, he won the Acerbo Cup in Pescara, but Enzo had to stop all racing activities at the end of the sporting season due to a severe nervous breakdown, which forced him to return to Modena for long treatments. To crown his sporting career, he was awarded two honours: Knight Officer and Commander of the Crown. In 1929, fully recovered, he was recalled to Milan to create a racing team linked to Alfa Romeo, Ferrari.

Enzo convinced FIAT designer Vittorio Jano to leave his role and was hired on the Ferrari team. Enzo built a team of more than 40 drivers, including Antonio Ascari, Giuseppe Campari, and Tazio Nuvolari. He continued racing until 1932, with the birth of his son Alfredo Dino.

Enzo Ferrari Business Smiling

The Birth of Ferrari and Enzo's Death

In 1933, such a large economic crisis led Alfa Romeo to withdraw until 1937. Shortly after, Ferrari withdrew and created Auto Avio Costruzioni, AAC, based in Modena. Of course, he was in control of the company. But because of Second World War, in 1943, Enzo Ferrari moved AAC from Modena to Maranello. Maranello, at that time, was much safer. After the War, Ferrari created 'La Scuderia Ferrari,' the sports section of the Ferrari car manufacturer, which had existed since 1930 but was incorporated as a company name in 1947. It is currently the best-known team in the motorsports world.

The first race was the Monaco Grand Prix on May 21, 1950, while the first victory in Formula 1 was the 1951 British Grand Prix, with José Froilán González, winning against the Alfa Romeo squadron. This victory determined the decline of Alfa Romeo in F1 and, at the same time, the sporting rise of Ferrari. The 'Drake di Ferrari' (Enzo) felt a conflict of feelings toward the old Milanese manufacturer to which he owed all his fame and knowledge in motorsports.

The first F1 world title came in 1952 with Alberto Ascari. So Scuderia Ferrari has been active in the Formula 1 world championship since its inception and has won the driver's title 15 times and the constructors' title 16 times.

Ferrari's conversion from a racing driver to a sports team director in the automobile industry was also stimulated by his friendship competition with Adolfo Orsi, owner of Maserati. Also, he was friends with Vittorio Stanguellini, the Modenese driver winning the world's circuits with FIAT cars in the late 1940s.

Ferrari was given many titles, but the one he is most proud of is the title of mechanical engineer, given to him ad honorem in 1960 by the University of Bologna. He was also given an honorary degree in physics in 1988 by the University of Modena and Reggio-Emilia.

In June 1988, Pope John Paul II came to visit the Maranello plants to meet with him, but Ferrari was too ill, so they only had a phone conversation. He was very sorry about this.

Enzo died on August 14, 1988, at the age of 90. The news of his death was disclosed after the funeral had taken place. The funeral took place in a strictly private form. Ferrari was buried in the San Cataldo cemetery in Modena next to the grave of his son Dino.

A little less than a month later, at the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto in their two Ferraris placed first and second, respectively, dedicating the victory of the two Ferraris to Enzo.

Private Life

Enzo Ferrari spent a private life and rarely gave interviews or answers. Journalists asked him if he used a Ferrari as his car, and he always replied that he could not afford it.

Not everything was positive in Enzo's life. In fact, at that time, cars had a very high death toll. This thing tormented Enzo throughout his life, even if the death toll was not unusual.

The Vatican newspaper described Ferrari as being like the God Saturn, who consumed his children.

In public, Ferrari was careful to acknowledge drivers who risked their lives for his team, insisting that praise should be divided equally between car and driver for each race won.

He married Laura Garello and had a son named Dino. Dino, however, died at 24; he had Duchenne dystrophy. Everyone remembered his death, and they created an automobile brand bearing his name, but it remained active only until 1980.

Enzo had a second son named Piero, born in 1945 to Lina Lardi. Because the son was born of an extramarital affair, he was recognized as Piero Lardi Ferrari.

Enzo was also recognized as a womanizer but did not talk much about this fact. He felt that womanhood was the proper reward after hard work.

He was also an executive of Modena Football Club (Modena Calcio) for a brief period in the 1960s.

La casa automobilistica e la Carriera agonistica di Enzo

Enzo Ferrari Business with Ferrari

The Automobile Manufacturer, Ferrari

Ferrari sold sports cars to finance participation in Formula 1 and in events such as the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (which the Scuderia won nine times, including six in a row from 1960 to 1965).

In the 1960s, the company was transformed into a joint stock company. In 1969, faced with financial difficulties, Ferrari was forced to sell a share of his company to FIAT (after rejecting Ford's offer), which, initially presented as an equal partner, later assumed control. It is currently owned by the holding company Ferrari N.V., in which Exor S.p.A. (with 23.5 per cent) and his son Piero (with 10 per cent) are the largest shareholders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Enzo Ferrari make Ferrari?

Enzo made Ferrari to start looking at a racing department that would realize his ideals and values in the world of automobiles, and he started looking for a business in this world. Enzo Ferrari soon founded Ferrari S.p.A.

How did Dino Ferrari die?

His First son Dino Ferrari, died young, at the age of 24. He had Duchenne dystrophy. He was considered a beloved son by Enzo.

When Enzo Ferrari died?

Enzo died in 1988. He was buried next to his son, who died many years before him. Ferrari's death in 1988 caused quite a stir and caused much sadness in Italy.

Did Enzo Ferrari invent Ferrari?

Yes, he did. Although he initially could not use the name Ferrari, in 1946, Ferrari appointed to use Ferrari name and made it famous.

Enzo Ferrari Quotes

Here are some of Enzo Ferrari's most famous quotes.

  • What’s behind you doesn’t matter.
  • I believe most things can be said in a few lines.
  • You have to have courage to stand up to your critics.

To see more Enzo Ferrari quotes, we recommend visiting the Enzo Ferrari Quote section in Quotes Analysis.

We hope we have been helpful to you in this "Who is Enzo Ferrari" article, and we hope you have a better understanding of who this amazingcharacter of the entrepreneurship world is!