The Time Enzo Ferrari was WRONG!!!
How the italian businessman was proven wrong by his own team more than half a century later!
Enzo Ferrari can be considered as a successful engineer, businessman and person in general. His dedication and passion for racing and winning were what led to Ferrari becoming the most successful F1 team in history and one of the most recognizable and powerful brands in the world. However, some of the things he had said sounded naïve and somewhat stupid even back then, never mind today. One of his quotes has stuck with me and not for a good reason because it goes like this: ‘’Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines’’. It’s interesting to consider the fact that the past season Ferrari has both suffered and flourished in what seems like the perfect irony Enzo’s quote carries.
The quote is believed to have originated from 1960 when Enzo’s race car driver Paul Frère asked him what was the top speed of the legendary and iconic Ferrari 250TR -you can find more about the car here- as he was not in favour of the rather large and ungainly windshield. The answer was immediate and not very thought out as we all know that aerodynamics are certainly essential to a team's success. It can be even argued that they are more important or at least equally important to a team and its hopes of winning.
Now, ‘’How does this quote might relate to Ferrari’s 2019 campaign?’’ you might ask. Well, in 2019 Mattia Binotto was handed the management of the Maranello-based team that had struggled to remain consistent for a whole season under the leadership of Maurizio Arrivabene. Whatever your feeling might be for the Italian you can’t dismiss his previous accolades during the Schumacher era. He was a race engine engineer, chief engineer and later on in 2009 appointed as Head of Engine and KERS operations. In 2013 he got promoted to COO of the power unit and 3 years later CTO of Scuderia Ferrari. If you dot the Is and cross the Ts, it’s easy to see that he was responsible for the car’s engine when the team was winning races, championships and dominated in a way only Mercedes has surpassed. He is arguably one of the greatest power unit engineers in the sport’s history and that showed even more in 2019 when Ferrari had -perhaps- the most powerful engine ever!
You know something is great when your competitors start to complain and even challenge the legality of the engine over and over again. Keeping in mind Enzo’s quote, it should be Ferrari that should have won last year’s championship and yet it fell short, very short. It was evident that Mercedes had a significantly less powerful engine, Hamilton couldn’t even close the gap to Vettel in the Canadian GP with DRS for the whole race, and yet it won both the constructor’s and driver’s title setting a record for the most consecutive wins to start a season along the way. In this instance the great Enzo is proven wrong by the doings of his own team, seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!
To add to the irony, this year Ferrari hasn’t got a half-decent engine losing 8 tenths on the Hungaroring's straights and no aerodynamic consideration seems to have taken place whatsoever. Of course, let’s also not forget that the marquee’s road car, which carries Enzo’s name and was built in his honour, was the most aerodynamically shaped model in the firm’s history.
It is safe to say, that yes Enzo was wrong and it shouldn’t be surprising. This wasn’t his only mistake either but he was a human after all. It is comical, however, that he was proven wrong by his team almost 60 years later but then again you could say he was right for 60 as well…