Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles in 1947 as Ferrari S.p.A.. Throughout its history, the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it has enjoyed great success.
After years of financial struggles, Enzo Ferrari sold the company's sports car division to the Fiat group in 1969 to ensure continued financial backing. Enzo Ferrari retained control of the racing division until his death in 1988 at the age of 90. Earlier that year he had overseen the launch of the Ferrari F40; the last new Ferrari to be launched before his death, and arguably one of the most famous supercars ever made.
Ferrari also has an internally managed merchandising line that licenses many products bearing the Ferrari brand, including eyewear, pens, pencils, electronic goods, perfume, clothing, high-tech bicycles, cell phones, and even laptop computers.
In 1940, Alfa Romeo was absorbed by the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini as part of the Axis Powers' war effort. Enzo Ferrari's division was small enough to be unaffected by this. Because he was prohibited by contract from racing for four years, the Scuderia briefly became Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari, which ostensibly produced machine tools and aircraft accessories. Also known as SEFAC (Scuderia Enzo Ferrari Auto Corse), Ferrari did in fact produce one race car, the Tipo 815, in the non-competition period. It was the first actual Ferrari car (it debuted at the 1940 Mille Miglia), but due to World War II it saw little competition. In 1943 the Ferrari factory moved to Maranello, where it has remained ever since. The factory was bombed by the Allies in 1944 and rebuilt in 1946, after the war ended, and included a works for road car production. Until Il Commendatore's death, this would remain little more than a source of funding for his first love, racing.
While his beautiful and fast cars quickly gained a reputation for excellence, Enzo maintained a famous distaste for his customers, most of whom he felt were buying his cars for the prestige and not the performance.
In 1949, Luigi Chinetti drove a 166M to Ferrari's first win in motorsports, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ferrari went on to dominate the early years of the World Sportscar Championship which was created in 1953, winning the Manufacturers Championship seven out of its first nine years.
When the championship changed formats in 1962, Ferrari earned championships in at least one class until 1966, then again in 1968. Ferrari would win one final championship in 1972 before Enzo decided to leave sports car racing and concentrate Scuderia Ferrari solely on Formula One.
During Ferrari's seasons of the World Sportscar Championship, they also gained more wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the factory team earning their first in . Another win would come in , followed by five consecutive wins from to . Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team (NART) would take Ferrari's final victory at Le Mans in .
Although Scuderia Ferrari no longer participated in sports cars after 1973, they have occasionally built various successful sports cars for privateers. These include the 512BB/LM in the 1970s, the 333 SP which won the IMSA GT Championship in the 1990s, and currently the F430 GT2 and GT3 which are currently winning championships in their respective classes.
Alberto Ascari gave Ferrari its first Drivers Championship a year later. Ferrari is the oldest team left in the championship, not to mention the most successful: the team holds nearly every Formula One record. As of 2007, the team's records include 15 World Drivers Championship titles (1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007) 15 World Constructors Championship titles (1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007), 201 Grand Prix victories, 4753.27 points, 603 podium finishes, 195 pole positions, 12,489 laps led, and 205 fastest laps in 758 Grands Prix contested.
Notable Ferrari drivers include Tazio Nuvolari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Luigi Chinetti, Alberto Ascari, Wolfgang von Trips, Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien, Mike Hawthorn, Peter Collins, John Surtees, Lorenzo Bandini, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Jody Scheckter, Gilles Villeneuve, Didier Pironi, Michele Alboreto, Gerhard Berger, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Eddie Irvine, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen, and Felipe Massa.
The Scuderia Ferrari drivers for the 2006 F1 season were Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. At the end of the 2006 season the team courted controversy by continuing to allow Marlboro to sponsor them after they, along with the other F1 teams, made a promise to end sponsorship deals with tobacco manufacturers. A five year deal worth a reported $500 million was agreed.
The drivers competing in 2007 were Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen. Räikkönen went on to win the drivers championship, with Massa finishing 4th.
On June 17, 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a race at the Savio track in Ravenna where he met the Countess Paolina, mother of Count Francesco Baracca, an ace of the Italian air force and national hero of World War I, who used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. The Countess asked Enzo to use this horse on his cars, suggesting that it would bring him good luck. The original "prancing horse" on Baracca's airplane was painted in red on a white cloud-like shape, but Ferrari chose to have the horse in black (as it had been painted as a sign of grief on Baracca's squadron planes after the pilot was killed in action) and he added a canary yellow background as this is the color of the city of Modena, his birthplace. The Ferrari horse was, from the very beginning, markedly different from the Baracca horse in most details, the most noticeable being the tail that in the original Baracca version was pointing downward.
Ferrari has used the cavallino rampante on official company stationery since 1929. Since the Spa 24 Hours of July 9, 1932, the cavallino rampante has been used on Alfa Romeos raced by Scuderia Ferrari.
A similar black horse on a yellow shield is the Coat of Arms of the German city of Stuttgart. This horse motif comes from the origins of the city's name: it comes from Stutengarten, an ancient form of the modern German word Gestüt, which translates into English as stud farm and into Italian as scuderia. Stuttgart is the home of Porsche, which also uses the Stuttgart sign in its corporate logo, centred in the emblem of the state of Württemberg.
Fabio Taglioni used the cavallino rampante on his Ducati motorbikes, as Taglioni was born at Lugo di Romagna like Baracca, and his father too was a military pilot during WWI (even if not part of Baracca's squadron, as is mistakenly reported). As Ferrari's fame grew, Ducati abandoned the horse- perhaps the result of a private agreement between the two companies.
The cavallino rampante is now a trademark of Ferrari. However, other companies use similar logos: Avanti, an Austrian company operating over 100 filling stations, uses a prancing horse logo which is nearly identical to Ferrari's.
Since the 1920s, Italian race cars of Alfa Romeo, Maserati and later Ferrari and Abarth were (and often still are) painted in "race red" (Rosso Corsa). This was the customary national racing color of Italy, as recommended between the World Wars by the organizations that later would become the FIA. In that scheme, French cars like Bugatti were blue, German like Audi, BMW, and Porsche white (since 1934 also Silver Arrows), and British such as BRM green, for instance.
Curiously, Ferrari won the 1964 World championship with John Surtees by competing the last two races in cars painted white and blue, as these were not entered by the Italian factory themselves, but the U.S.-based North American Racing Team team. This was done as a protest concerning arguments between Ferrari and the Italian Racing Authorities regarding the homologation of a new mid-engined Ferrari race car.
Until the early 1980s, Ferrari followed a three-number naming scheme based on engine displacement:
Most Ferraris were also given designations referring to their body style. In general, the following conventions were used:
This naming system can be confusing, as some entirely different vehicles used the same engine type and body style. Many Ferraris also had other names affixed (like Daytona) to identify them further. Many such names are actually not official factory names. The Daytona name commemorates Ferrari's triple success in the February 1967 24 Hours of Daytona with the 330P4. Only in the 1973 Daytona 24 Hours, a 365 GTB4 model run by NART, who raced Ferrari's in America) ran second, behind a Porsche 911.
The various Dino models were named for Enzo's son, Dino Ferrari, and were marketed as Dinos by Ferrari and sold at Ferrari dealers -- for all intents and purposes they are Ferraris.
The Dino was the first mid-engined Ferrari. This layout would go on to be used in most Ferraris of the 1980s and 1990s. V6 and V8 Ferrari models make up well over half of the marque's total production.
For a time, Ferrari built 2+2 versions of its mid-engined V8 cars. Although they looked quite different from their 2-seat counterparts, both the GT4 and Mondial were closely related to the 308 GTB.
The company has also produced front-engined 2+2 cars, culminating in the current 612 Scaglietti and upcoming California.
The company's loftiest efforts have been in the supercar market.