Before I continue with the Ferrari factory tour, I must apologise for completely forgetting about this series of posts. Due to the tribulations of my Christmas this set of articles slipped my mind, but they’re now back and I will continue to work my way through the grid. Because of the short break, I may have to add another interruption closer to the season-start as I’ll be busy writing other posts. If that does happen, I’ll make a note to pick these up again after the first fly-away races of the year.
Quite possibly the most famous car factory on the planet, Ferrari are based out of Maranello in Northern Italy. Their building, which has been in use since 1943 houses not just the Formula One operation, but also the road car division, and showcases all the usual facilities you would expect. Ferrari also own a test track within the grounds – Fiorano – and because of the interest the marque generates, also have a museum and restaurant open to the public.
Almost unbelievably, the site was bombed in 1944 by Allied forces, but after the end of the second World War in 1945, the factory was rebuilt and extended to include the car division.
The buildings ream of tradition and history, and founder Enzo’s office is still kept the way it was, near to the circuit where the great man could keep a close eye on his staff. Jean Todt’s office is much like a child’s bedroom, with model cars proudly displayed on shelves and photographs mounted and hung on the walls. Some areas of Maranello look old and worn out, a sign of just how long Ferrari have been on the site. But conversely, other areas look brand new, modern and contemporary.
Unlike other Formula One factories, Maranello isn’t hard to find, sign-posted from just about anywhere nearby, and the front of the entrance is rendered to a dark red finish. If all that fails, you simply have to follow the tourists and fans that descend on the factory and circuit on a daily basis. The local tifosi often line the test track whenever the cars are running, and the team even have a tiny grandstand should the weather prove to be inaccettabile. Ferrari will even allow guided tours of their factory, but because of the level of secrecy imposed on their operations, you will need to either arrange through a Ferrari dealer or via the factory itself. Appointments are mandatory, apparently, and even then you may may not be allowed in; they’re quite cautious as to who gets to see Maranello’s interior.
The insides of the buildings at Maranello are adorned with images from the team’s illustrious history, photographs, painting and even car parts line the corridors, waiting rooms and offices. And inside the assembly rooms the production lines are constantly busy turning out road cars. Although it is a very clean building, the atmosphere – according to those who have visited – is relaxed and calm. Ferrari keep production numbers down to ensure quality is kept high. So while the employees aren’t just standing around drinking espressos all day, they aren’t running around in a frenzy either. The Financial Times recently voted Ferrari as the best place and company to work for in Italy.
Photo Copyright © Mika HRM (top) and Marco Ferrari (bottom).