Ferrari: Arrogance And Underhandedness That We All LovePosted: June 12, 2011
Chris Harris wrote an article on Jalopnik concerning Ferrari a few months back (see link at below) and it stirred up many people within the world of cars. In short, he criticizes Ferrari for using underhanded tactics with journalists, specifically forcing them to disclose the details of the testing they will be doing so that Ferrari personnel can set the car up specifically for the test and the place it will be conducted in an effort to gain an advantage over the competition. I must applaud Mr. Harris for his courage in writing this article because as a journalist he will almost certainly be “blacklisted” by Ferrari, barring him from ever driving their press cars in the future. It is important to speak one’s mind, Mr. Harris has done a bang up job, and his article is by far the best thing on Jalopnik in recent times.
All of this has made me think in depth about it though, as I too have had some recent gripes with certain things Ferrari have been doing. They have come a long way since Enzo was building racecars for Alfa Romeo. Ferrari has become much more than just a racing team / car manufacturer, they have become an icon symbolizing ostentatious, affluent style. While my description of it may seem negative, I would never say that I feel in a negative way toward Ferrari. They are like that supermodel chick at the bar, many approach her and most get rejected. The lucky few who do get to bring her home are thrilled to do so and have no problem letting everyone else know about it. Those who get rejected write her off as a bitch, but they wouldn’t be saying that had things gone more in their favor with her. Ferrari is the similar in that it is an exclusive club that everyone wants to be a part of. Few can afford it, so they may find negative things to say at times, when in fact they like to purchase Ferrari hats, shirts, and sunglasses at every opportunity. I am guilty of this just as I’m sure many of you are. Ferrari as a brand is highly in demand, and they are well aware of it. The arrogance is as much a part of it all as anything else. As far as the brand is concerned it is all part of the appeal.
So how does this translate to cars? Well, in racing they have been known to use some pretty underhanded tactics in the name of victory since the beginning. Enzo Ferrari was a fiercely competitive man with an enormous ego who had two consummated families only 10 miles from each other simultaneously. Many of his bad dealings with certain people, such as Ferrucio Lamborghini and Henry Ford II, spawned some very famous events in automotive history, the Ford GT40 anyone?
So, in this light, is this underhanded stuff they do with press cars really that surprising? I would say not. Ferrari knows how large the demand is for their cars and their brand, and they happily exploit it in all areas of their business. Their ego today is larger than it has ever been; I mean what other car company has a friggin theme park for goodness sake? However, I believe I am right in saying that with Ferrari all of this actually fits. It is in essence who they are, and have always been. Their mindset has found new ways of manifesting itself as they have grown over the years, but it is all a derivative of the same competitive arrogance that made Enzo Ferrari the legend he was. Those of us who love Ferrari, myself included, fell in love with this as much as any other aspect of the Legend.
So to conclude this, does the stuck up arrogance of Ferrari shown to us in Mr. Harris’ article and in many other places piss me off? It does, but in the same way that bitchy girl you fell in love with does. At the end of the day that is what makes them who they are as much as any other part of them, and if you fell in love with them then deep down you wouldn’t really want it to change. Try to imagine Ferrari without the arrogant, underhanded, exclusive crap and think where they would be today if they were not that way. They surely would not be the brand and automotive benchmark that they are today, and I would go so far as to say they would have just been one of those racing firms that only real automotive historians even know existed. So, at the end of the day I love Ferrari for what it is, including all of the arrogant, boys club BS, and there is very little that could ever change that because at the end of the day the way they are has made them who they are.