In a recent appearance at the Festival dello Sport, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo shared various behind-the-scenes stories from his years at Scuderia Ferrari. In particular, the former president focused on how he steered the team out of challenging years, ultimately establishing a memorable dominance, and what he looked for in people in leadership positions.
It’s nearly impossible not to notice a reference, which sounds like a caution, to what is happening in Maranello and the team’s reformation currently led by Frederic Vasseur.
“In the 1970s, we had Lauda and Regazzoni as drivers, and I was appointed as the sporting director by Enzo Ferrari because he said he didn’t want to be imprisoned by the engineers. My task was to reorganize everything, alongside Mauro Forghieri, the technical director who oversaw the chassis chief, Rocchi, and the engine chief, Bussi. When I returned to Maranello as the president in ’92, I wondered why we hadn’t won a championship since 1979. To find answers, I sought the right people for the roles: I wanted a sporting director who wasn’t a mercenary, someone who had worked for one year with Lotus, one year with McLaren, and so on, and who knew how to lead. That’s why I chose Jean Todt, also on Bernie Ecclestone’s advice, after he had spent many years with Peugeot in rallying. He made a mistake: when he came to introduce himself at my house, he was driving a Mercedes. But I hired him anyway,” said the Italian.