Revealed: What Enzo Ferrari would have made of fellow icon Michael Schumacher

Sam Cooper
Enzo Ferrari and Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut three years after Enzo Ferrari passed away.

Ferrari’s former chairman believes founder Enzo Ferrari “would have been thrilled” to work with Michael Schumacher.

When you think of Ferrari, you likely think of one of two people – Enzo Ferrari or Michael Schumacher. But the two men who have done the most to shape Ferrari as we know it never actually met with Enzo passing away in 1988, three years before Schumacher made his F1 debut.

But Luca di Montezemolo believes his old boss would have loved working with the seven-time World Champion.

Enzo Ferrari would have been ‘thrilled’ by Michael Schumacher

“When I am in the office Michael is always in front of me,” Montezemolo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“On the walls I have three photos with moments from his time at Ferrari: Jean Todt lifting him up after the World Championship win at Suzuka in 2000, the image of the whole team in the red wig taken in Malaysia, and a hug after the Monza triumph in ’96’.”

Montezemolo cut his teeth as Enzo Ferrari’s assistant in the 1970s but returned to Ferrari in 1991, tasked with rebuilding the team following Enzo’s death.

“When I came back to Ferrari the aim was to rebuild the team,” the 76-year-old Italian said.

“I had to hire good people to plan a winning cycle and create a good climate in the company. I hired [Jean] Todt because I didn’t like mercenaries and he had spent his entire career as an executive at Peugeot. recommends’s Hall of Fame: Michael Schumacher – the beating heart of Ferrari

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“Then came [Ross] Brawn, [Rory] Byrne, [Paolo] Martinelli and [Stefano] Domenicali. At that point and only at that point was a driver missing who could make the difference.

“Following Enzo Ferrari’s lesson of never exposing himself personally, I asked Niki Lauda to go and talk to Willi Weber, Schumi’s manager. He made the initial contacts and then passed the file on to Todt. And finally Michael came to me.

“That German boy didn’t know the Ferrari myth one hundred per cent. But he had understood its importance when he was leading the German GP the year before.

“Two laps from the end he broke his engine and [Gerhard] Berger won in the red. He confessed to me that he was very impressed: ‘Me [a] German, on my home circuit I stop for a breakdown and I see the whole of Hockenheim full of Ferrari flags hailing an Austrian…’.”

But as to what his former boss, the notoriously hard to please Enzo, would have made of Schumacher, Montezemolo believes he would have been “thrilled”, especially about one aspect in particular.

“He would have been thrilled,” he said. “Because he liked drivers who always pushed. And he would have been impressed by his attachment to the mechanics.

“Even when he broke his leg at Silverstone, he never said a word against the team. And he could have done that.”

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