Interview with Luca di Montezemolo

BY Burnpavement

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, was recently interviewed by a team of journalists for several BBC TV and radio programmes broadcast.

One of the main themes covered was Ferrari’s role in the world automotive industry and the outlook for the sector given the fuel consumption and emissions commitments now in place. “Ferrari is synonymous with driving emotion, beautiful design and ongoing technological innovation, characteristics that are shared by all of our models. One of the focuses of our constant drive for technological innovation is emissions reduction,” declared Montezemolo. “So far, we have achieved significant results that will continue to improve as time goes on. In fact, we’ve already unveiled an innovative 12-cylinder hybrid based on our experience with KERS in Formula 1.”

The BBC journalists also commented on Maranello's consistently growing sales and how output held steady during the year when the world economic crisis was at its most severe. Montezemolo explained this phenomenon by commenting: "We aren't changing the company strategy of always building fewer cars than the market demands." This strategy ensures Ferrari maintains the brand’s exclusivity. In that regard, the Ferrari President also announced that the brand will launch in India by the end of 2010, further confirmation of the crucial role that the emerging markets are playing for the company which exports more than 90% of its cars. Montezemolo also painted a picture of Ferrari as very much in tune with the times and market demands, a company both conscious and proud of its tradition but also one looking to the future to ensure that it never stands still.

When questioned on Italy’s economic situation, the Ferrari President reiterated his huge faith in his nation and his fellow Italians’ ability to tackle urgent problems. One journalist pointed out that Montezemolo’s own reputation in Italy is on a par with the prime minister’s and then asked if he would consider running for that particular job, but the Ferrari President merely smiled and said "I really don’t think so".

Montezemolo also met with the UK’s specialist car sector media, in the run-up to the launch of an exclusive "open-top" version of the 599 of which a very limited number will be built. "This is a very unusual car and it will certainly surprise you. It’s only going to be available to a very select number of clients who’ve been asking us for an open-top version of the 12-cylinder for quite some time now. We won’t be unveiling it at a show though. Instead we’ll be organising private presentations." With regard to the adoption of new technologies, including those focused on fuel consumption reduction, the Ferrari chairman confirmed the Prancing Horse’s interest in hybrid cars and stressed that Maranello’s engineers are working on all fronts. When asked for details on V6 or turbo engines, Montezemolo commented that, technologies aside, what will continue to drive emissions and fuel reductions for Ferraris will, as always, be innovation, extreme technology and a constant exchange of information with Formula 1, aimed at maintaining the sportiness and driving pleasure that make Ferraris unique.

With regards to Formula 1, Montezemolo repeated that after a good start this season, the team has some work to do to become more competitive. However, he also added that he has utmost faith in the ability of the Ferrari staff and the response we will see from them in the upcoming races. On the subject of the F1 sector, he confirmed that all parties involved need to work together to ensure that the races are more exciting. He also acknowledged that costs would have to be reduced but not to the detriment of the sport or technology.