Twenty years without Gianni Agnelli, racing heart in love with Ferrari

Twenty years without Gianni Agnelli, racing heart in love with Ferrari
Twenty years without Gianni Agnelli, racing heart in love with Ferrari
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Lawyer Gianni Agnelli with Michael Schumacher in Monza. Credits: unknown

What would Ferrari have been without Gianni Agnelli? Twenty years after the death of the Avvocato, it is more legitimate than ever to ask what would have been the fate of the House of Maranello without the decisive agreement reached on June 18, 1969, following which FIAT acquired 50% of the Cavallino. And yet, it would even be simplistic and historically inaccurate to reduce to that passage, albeit of epochal significance, the stamp of the lawyer Agnelli in Ferrari history: client, collector, inspirer, but above all a fan.


In fact, the early fall in love of the Avvocato for the cars born from the Drake factory dates back to the immediate post-war period. Suffice it to say that as early as 1948 he wanted to have a 166MM admired at the Turin Motor Show customized, giving his unmistakable touch of class to a model that already shone in itself for elegance, coining from that moment the famous term “barchetta” which from there forward would have characterized the spider cars without soft top. It was only the first in a long series of “made-to-measure” customizations that would accompany Agnelli’s rich collection, also passing through the inevitable Testarossa and F40 that would indelibly mark the Ferrari brand in the 1980s.


But beyond his passion for road cars, Gianni Agnelli’s contribution to the cause of Maranello also materialized in the sincere love that bound him to the Scuderia. Starting from the moment of the agreement that gave Ferrari the right to be able to build a future for itself, the figure of the lawyer has sailed for over thirty years in the orbit of the Reds. Passing from the successes of the seventies with Niki Lauda, ​​to the “launch” of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, up to the title with Jody Scheckter and the transition to turbo engines in the era of Gilles Villeneuve. Unforgettable pages of Ferrari history, in which Agnelli always wanted to make his discreet but at the same time decisive and effective presence felt.


The death of Enzo Ferrari in August 1988 sanctioned FIAT’s rise to the role of majority shareholder, leaving the remaining 10% of the company to the Commendatore’s son. Not surprisingly, some choices that later proved to be decisive for building the formidable winning army of the 2000s were taken by the lawyer himself: from the arrival of Jean Todt in the team up to the hiring of “dear” Michael Schumacher, as jokingly highlighted by the same Lambs. Who loved to improvise on the track, arriving by helicopter to greet the team, perhaps during a test day or in the middle of the Monza weekend.


The telephone calls to the key men of the Scuderia at the first light of dawn, with the constant will to keep informed on everything, but at the same time to represent a valuable adviser. And Gianni Agnelli was truly irreplaceable for Ferrari: as evidenced by the F2003 GA, where the presence of the Avvocato’s initials was intended to celebrate his memory and remembrance, after his disappearance on 24 January 2003. By opening a difficult legacy to fill and leaving a void that is still very perceptible today.

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Marco Privitera

The article is in Italian


Tags: Twenty years Gianni Agnelli racing heart love Ferrari

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