Red Mist: With Ferrari on the rocks I cry with you, Drake

ferrari badge enzo

Many years ago, asked what was the worth of racing during an interview with Italian RAI TV, Enzo Ferrari snapped back: “If I was not convinced of motor racing’s technical advantages, my life would be a complete failure.”

The anchor responded, “But you admit that racing is a liability for your company! It’s natural to wonder how you keep the doors open?”

The Commendatore calmly pointed out, “Yes, I am a liability from an economic point of view, the balance of income and expenses.”

Enzo: Seeing a Ferrari struggle is like seeing a sick child

enzo ferrari

“But then what would Ferrari be if we did not race?” questioned back Enzo. “Where would we be, if we did not win? Winning is crucial, if one of my cars does not perform, it is very painful. It is like seeing a sick child.

“Every Ferrari is part of me, it is part of something that I have long dreamed of, perfected in my mind as a sum of compromise and capitulation. A Ferrari is my people, God’s and my own work, long before we ever see it race on track.

“So, to see a a Ferrari suffer because it is in some way handicapped and not competitive, is something that truly hurts my heart.”

Enzo was of course alluding to his own terrible loss in that interview. He had moved heaven and earth in his efforts to prolong his ill son Dino’s life. And failed. So, for him to compare the pain of an ailing Ferrari on track to that ultimate of tragedies as a father, is chilling in itself.

And that is what makes Mattia Binotto’s defiance of the chronic situation at the Scuderia so much more difficult to fathom.

The problem is the invisible ‘leadership’ above Binotto’s head

Binotto crisis

The real issue however, is that Binotto is just team manager. Ferrari’s true problems sit in the narrow band above ‘il Chinotto’ in Ferrari’s leadership. Or rather the lack of leadership in the narrow band above Binotto.

CEO Benedetto Vigna remains fixated on bringing a Ferrari truck to market. God help us! Worse still, Vigna cares not a hoot about racing. A Ferrari boss not besotted by racing? God forbid!

Ferrari President, the late Fiat giant Gianni Agnelli’s F1 indifferent grandson John Elkann is no better. Truant, he’s dead from the ankles up when it comes to ‘his’ team.

Elkann does not attend races, shows no love for Italy’s beloved Scuderia Ferrari and just leaves it all up to old Mattia. Who thinks nothing is wrong? Worst of all, however, we are stuck with them.

See, people like Binotto and Arrivabene before him, end up in that position not because they’re qualified for it. They’re there because they are someone’s child or relative. It’s a point that a friend, let’s call him Deep Throat, took the effort to reiterate last week.

Most of Italy agrees that neither Arrivabene nor Binotto were ever worthy of the top Scuderia job. If things went well for them, it’s because the chosen one just got lucky. Not because they were best.

Binotto_Elkann ferrari

Nepotism at its very finest prevails at Maranello!

So while there may very well be many ‘strangers’ far better qualified to do the job, they would never, ever be considered for a deserved position at Ferrari because those posts are reserved for cronies, buddies, cousins and friends.

Alas, should it ever happen that any of the chosen few really must move on, it’s just off to the next dream FIAT empire job. Look no further than Arrivabene. He did just that, landing so well at Juventus. He’s a soccer guru, right? Nepotism at its very finest!

This leaves Binotto to carry on, useless as he is at leadership of a racing team, steering Ferrari onto the rocks while making a mockery of Enzo’s dream. I cry with you, Drake.