Enzo Ferrari The True Story

Enzo Ferrari: the true story. Driver? Not enough

With the valuable support, depth of knowledge and illustrative talent of Prof. Massimo Grandi

Photo credit: Massimo Grandi

The bond with Alfa. Ferrari had become more than just a driver for Alfa Romeo which, at the time, was still a small car manufacturer. The races were dominated by Fiat, and Enzo, who in that period had married a woman from Turin, Laura Garello, was instructed to contact a renowned Fiat designer, Luigi Bazzi, and convince him to develop Alfa’s Grand Prix model named the P1. Ferrari succeeded and in the process, gained both respect and esteem. And three months later he passed an even more difficult test: to lure the highly-esteemed technician, Vittorio Jano, away from Fiat. Once again Ferrari succeeded and their bond never faded. In the autumn of 1923, thanks to the young Modenese man, Alfa had the right team to excel. Jano set to work on the creation of the P2, with its straight-8 cylinder supercharged 2-litre engine.

Count Carlo Felice Trossi driving the Alfa Romeo P2, on his way towards victory on the torrid Circuit of Biella. To cool off he had the final section of the bonnet cut

Enzo was now a young but very promising driver. His career looked like it was about to take off but, an unexpected yet deeply-considered doubt began to grow. After three consecutive victories with the RL Targa Florio that he knew very well, Alfa enrolled Enzo, together with Ascari, Campari and Wagner to race at the Grand Prix motor race at Lyon behind the wheel of the new P2 Grand Prix. Enzo was 26 years old, this was a fantastic opportunity to take the final step towards the highest levels of professional driving, but deep down he felt unable to handle the growing power of the big Alfa Romeo.

The engineer and designer Vittorio Jano, snatched from Fiat by Enzo Ferrari and taken to Alfa Romeo, who immediately developed the P2 and later the P3 forged a bond with Enzo Ferrari the lasted his entire life

He, the man who had the mentality of a winner, the man who saw how naturally Nuvolari was able to slide his car, and how easily it was to die at the races at that time, chose to retire from racing. The subsequent death of his friend Antonio Ascari while driving a P2 in Montléry, the father of Alberto who, in 1952, was to bring him his first Constructors’ Title, only strengthened his conviction. He gave up the debut of the P2 in Lyon which won thanks to Campari and entered a troubled phase that kept him away from racing for two years: 1925 and 26. Nevertheless, he did not waste his time and started planning for the future.

The P2 was Alfa Romeo’s first Grand Prix car and started a golden era for the Italian brand

When he returned to racing in 1927, winning the Alessandria GP behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo RM Mille Miglia, his vision had changed: in racing he would remain not as a driver but as a team manager. At that time, racing costs were guaranteed by a fee negotiated with the race organizer and final rankings. For the manufacturers, it was a considerable burden, although it was offset by the advertising they obtained from it. But many drivers competed independently and having an organization that took care of everything from negotiating their fees to race assistance and preparing the car was very handy. This was where the idea for the Scuderia came from… but Enzo had even bigger plans. More on Monday.

Enzo Driver in one of his most beautiful victories: Circuit of Modena 1927 driving the Alfa Romeo 6C 1.5 SS Corsa Zagato
When he heard about the arrival of his son, Dino, Enzo Ferrari decided to retire from racing. Too many friends had died. Unfortunately, Dino’s fate was to be a cruel one
Carlo Felice Trossi, an excellent driver, and a wealthy wool industrialist from a noble family, played a fundamental role in encouraging and supporting the Scuderia Ferrari project