Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, please.
A: Well I’m a very old man, from the era of 1962-1992 Formula One. Part of an era with people like Bruce McLaren and Colin Chapman. F1 was very different then, it wasn’t so much about money. Teams were on a much friendlier basis, say for example, if I needed to borrow a tool I could ask Lotus to lend it to me for perhaps six hours and they’d be happy to help—it was very important to everyone involved that come Sunday all teams were ready to race. Again, money was much less important, and what little there was came from the people watching races, and after a race, it was spent by teams on hotels, food, and sometimes girls! It was a different world, very difficult to explain to someone used to how things are run today.
In that era, say from roughly 1962-1980 or 1984, racers had to be men before they were champions, do you understand what I mean? Drivers ate with mechanics and technicians, it helped maintain a friendly, family-like atmosphere. Today, there is too much money involved, and sponsors have destroyed the spirit of the championship.
Q: When do you believe things began to go downhill?
A: 10 to 12 years ago, I’d say. Much of it started with aerodynamics and wings, part of which I am to blame for, as I introduced Ferrari’s first wing with this car in 1967 at Spa, and driven by Jacky Ickx. Not only are the aerodynamic devices of today terrible from an aesthetic point of view, they also make F1 incredibly boring, with no overpassing—like a big parade. If we were to make the front wing a bit smaller, it would bring back a lot of excitement, the cars would be passing again, sliding around, but this will never happen because they need more room for advertising.
Q: So you mean Enzo wasn’t a fan of sideskirts?
A: Even when something was an improvement, if it wasn’t strictly legal Ferrari was against it, even as other teams would already be taking advantage of loopholes. Miniskirts weren’t allowed because nothing on the car apart from the tires was allowed to touch the ground, but after a year of other teams using them he finally told me “OK, go ahead and use the miniskirts since you like them on the ladies so much!” We were competitive without skirts, but to win without them when everyone else is using them is not so easy, let me tell you!
Aerodynamics were really starting to play a big role in car design in those days, and we hired a great aerodynamicist. When we sent the car to the windtunnel, I told the boy “I designed this car, the chassis, the groundbox, the engine and bodywork, but when we send it to the tunnel let the wind dictate its final form—we will accept whatever shape the windtunnel gives the car”. Of course, Ferrari told us “It’s ugly!” but we countered “Yes, but it’s very good!”