In the months following the end of the Great War, during a walk under the arcades near the Porta Nuova train station, Enzo Ferrari met Laura Domenica Garello in Turin. Eager to find affection and company as soon as possible, Enzo Ferrari instantly falls in love with the young girl, described as elegant, petite and with beautiful eyes. Enzo Ferrari casually meets Laura Garello, a young tailor who approaches him, and says:
"What is this handsome young man doing all alone here?"
"Well, ma'am, I was waiting for a beautiful person like you to help me, because I would like to offer you a cappuccino. Would you like a cappuccino?"
And Laura, perhaps a little intimidated, said:
"No, don't bother".
But Ferrari insisted, saying:
"No, no, if you allow me I'll offer you a cappuccino".
So the two go to a bar not far away, but Ferrari, when it is time to pay, realises that he has no money in his pocket. It is therefore Laura Garello who pays for the breakfast consumed in the company of Enzo Ferrari. And it will always be Laura who gives Enzo the money to return to Modena, to his mother's house. The courtship will be affected at the beginning by the opposition of the girl's parents and, subsequently, by the transfer of Enzo Ferrari to Milan after his hiring by the CMN. But the love story will continue. Meanwhile, satisfied with his first competitive performance, Enzo Ferrari accepts the invitation to compete in the famous Targa Florio, which is held on Sunday, 23 November 1919. The young driver from Modena leaves for Sicily driving the same CMN that he will use in the race. His friend Ugo Sivocci joins the trip on a second CMN. On board the two cars sit their respective racing mechanics, Conti and Ripamonti. Due to the distance to be covered, the four men left Milan a few days before the general election on Wednesday, 16 November 1919, heading for Naples. In this city, they would then embark on a steamer for Palermo made available to the competitors of the Targa Florio by the race organisers. However, one night, on the Abruzzo plateau of Cinquemiglia, Enzo Ferrari and his fellow travellers find themselves trapped in the snow and surrounded by wolves. Before the forest guards can come to their aid, it is the Modena driver himself who resolves the situation using, to disperse the wolves, the gun he always keeps under the seat of his car. Fortunately, the group arrives in Naples just in time to embark on the City of Syracuse.
"A little solidarity between poor devils - I don't think I had more than 450 lire in my pocket - put the porters at my service and convinced the sailors to delay the departure".
After a stormy night, the four men and the two cars disembark in Palermo. Enzo Ferrari and the three adventure companions will stop at the permanent sports village of Floriopoli, near Cerda, about sixty kilometres from the county seat.
On Saturday morning, the day before the race, Enzo Ferrari drove his CMN on the demanding Sicilian track for the first time. But his only day of training behind the wheel comes to a sudden and unexpected end about halfway through the first test lap, when a violent downpour forces everyone to slow down and reach the race headquarters at a brisk pace. The forecast for Sunday is not better, however, with more rain expected during the hours of the race. On Saturday night, a violent thunderstorm disturbs the drivers' sleep. Rain falls continuously on the coastal area and at dawn on Sunday morning a strong wind begins to blow from the sea. When he wakes up, Enzo Ferrari sees only black clouds and muddy roads. Sivocci, who had run here in the past, has no illusions: in similar weather, in that part of the route that climbs the Madonie mountains they will find only rain, mud and fog. At 7:00 a.m., when the first car is about to start, a crowd of enthusiasts has been waiting for a few hours along the starting straight, which begins at the Cerda station. By train and by car, the nobles and the rich of Palermo reach the small town to witness an event that Vincenzo Florio's personality and ingenuity have transformed into something much more engaging than a simple car race. Eager to put himself to the test, a few minutes before 8:00 a.m., Enzo Ferrari takes his CMN near the starting line. A few moments later he sees André Boillot, winner in Indianapolis, start. At 8:02 a.m., with mechanic Nino Conti at his side, Enzo Ferrari sees the street flag lowering in front of him. After a few kilometres of racing, his CMN's gas tank starts to wobble. For a while Ferrari keeps it in check out of the corner of his eye. Then, however, he is forced to stop and anchor it with a strap to the bodywork. In the operation, the driver and mechanic lose forty minutes. When they cross the finish line for the first time, the lap time is merciless: they completed the first lap in 3 hours, 4 minutes and 50 seconds. They are in last place. The second lap, on the other hand, is completed in 2 hours, 18 minutes and 34 seconds. This is the eighth fastest lap, but due to the abysmal delay in the first lap, the position in the standings remains last. Despite the worsening weather conditions and the further deterioration of the roadside, Enzo Ferrari managed to be even faster on the third lap. If he had not blamed the problem on the gas tank during the first lap, he might have even won. But because of that 40-minute-long stop, he now risks not finishing his race within the maximum time of ten hours and being excluded from the final standings.
So he continues his furious march, taking risks at every turn and at every stretch on a road that the incessant rain has in the meantime transformed into a dangerous river of mud. However, when he reaches the finish line of the fourth and final lap, the place is deserted. Everyone - spectators, organisers, mechanics, drivers - has already returned to Palermo. Only one Carabiniere remained on the Cerda straight, commanded to wait for the competitors of whom there was no more news. The officer has a large alarm clock with which to establish the arrival time of the delayers, which he notes in a notebook rounding up the performance to the next minute. Enzo Ferrari learns from the military that he is the first of the off-peak competitors. The next day, the young Modenese driver asked to be received by Vincenzo Florio, who listened to him politely. The latter, however, asks Enzo Ferrari what he complains about, given that he had arrived with great delay, he had not taken risks and he is now also doing him the pleasure of placing him in the general classification with ninth place overall, third in class. Fascinated by the class of Vincenzo Fiorio, Ferrari indulges himself with satisfaction. After this experience, the young man from Modena returns to his daily life. Ferrari resides in Milan, where he lives and works. But Modena is naturally always in his thoughts and even if he does not miss it, over the winter he returns to his native country whenever he can, moving by train to find his mother and to spend time with friends. It is precisely in Modena that one day, walking through the streets of the city, he notices by chance a billboard advertising the candle company Fert. To his surprise, he notes that his name appears on the sign along with that of a friend of his: E. Ferrari - G. Manzini. Ferrari and Manzini read with amazement: they are the general representatives for Emilia of Fert: Forniture Generali per Auto-Moto-Cicli (General Supplies for Vehicles). Intrigued by this detail, the young man from Modena meets Manzini at number 2 in via Falloppia, one of the narrow streets in the centre of Modena, where the headquarters of Fert are located. A few months earlier he had recommended his friend Manzini for a job at a company that had commercial relations with CMN, Fert indeed. Enzo Ferrari had totally forgotten about it, but his friend had been hired and, to be in debt to those who had reported him, when he had received representation for Emilia, he had thought of involving him, albeit in an honourable way. Clearly, Enzo Ferrari is pleasantly impressed with Manzini's generosity.
Meanwhile, the young driver from Modena starts looking for a more powerful and reliable car than his CMN. His interest focuses on a car with a name with a vague aristocratic flavour: Isotta Fraschini. He learns that three of the six Grand Prix cars built by Isotta Fraschini in 1914 are still in Italy. So, putting together what little money he had with his friend Guglielmo Carraroli, who dreamed of becoming his race mechanic, after a long negotiation based on the assumption that soon cars like the 1914 Isotta Fraschini Grand Prix would not find buyers, Enzo Ferrari convinced the Milanese manufacturer to sell him the car for a modest sum of money. After buying the racing car without asking for the prior authorization of his mother, who will always reproach his impulse towards independence, Ferrari pays the 150 lire to pay the registration fee for the 1920 edition of the Parma-Poggio di Berceto, scheduled for Sunday, May 30. In addition to a new car, Enzo Ferrari also exhibited a new race mechanic, a more than normal fact since his friend Guglielmo Carraroli had paid half of the Isotta Fraschini. On the day of the race, menacing clouds loom on the entire route. Despite appearances, however, the forecasts do not mention possible rain showers. The only real danger for the drivers is the irregular layer of gravel that covers the road between Parma and Poggio. To keep the interest of the spectators alive until the end, this year the organisers decided to start the most powerful cars last. The race starts at 8:30 am. Competitors start five minutes apart from each other. Giuseppe Campari won the race with a time of four seconds less than that recorded by Masetti. Enzo Ferrari blames a delay of two minutes and twenty-one seconds from the winner. His is the third best time of the day, the second in his class. At the wheel of a more competitive car and despite tyre problems in the second part of the climb to Poggio di Berceto, the young Modenese showed he can fight with the best. However, paradoxically, the only one who is not satisfied with the performance is Enzo Ferrari. Perhaps sensing that he could have done more, he gets out of the car and breaks down crying. Far from being discouraged, the young man decides to join the Mugello Circuit race, which is held on Sunday 13 June 1920. The registration fee for each driver is more than three times higher than that of Parma-Poggio di Berceto, but part of the 500 lire is for a good cause, a fund for the reconstruction of the Mugello area, destroyed the previous year by a violent earthquake.
The high registration fee is however offset by the very high prize pool: 50,000 lire to be divided among the drivers who will qualify for the first four places. Despite the anything but idyllic political and economic situation, in the second summer of peace, enthusiasm for car racing reached, if not even surpassed, pre-war levels. Antonio Ascari and Giuseppe Campari are the idols of a new generation of sportsmen. From Florence, on the day of the race, two special trains reach Mugello. The night before, a long uninterrupted line of vehicles clogged the roads from the Tuscan capital to the circuit. Along these streets the villages are illuminated by day, with bars and cafes open all night to offer refreshment to enthusiasts. At dawn, thousands of sportsmen already gather along the track anxiously waiting to see the first cars pass. The first driver starts at 7:04 a.m. Ascari leaves at 7:29 a.m., Brilli Peri at 7:56 a.m., Enzo Ferrari at 8:02 a.m. Of the thirty competitors, twenty-four started. Only five will finish the race. Most cars have mechanical problems of various kinds and some drivers finish their race off-road, including Ascari, which must be urgently transported to the hospital together with their mechanic. With his friend Guglielmo Carraroli, Enzo Ferrari is the author of a beautiful and very regular race, which, however, does not end. At the end of the fourth lap he is in third place when the rupture of a valve forces him to retire before he can make the final attack on Masetti and Campari. Once again Enzo Ferrari bursts into tears. Then, despite the displeasure and irritation for the missed opportunity, he regains a certain composure, parks the car beyond the side of the road and remains next to it to witness the last stages of the race, conversing amicably with the spectators who have approached in the meantime. Giuseppe Campari, who was behind Masetti when the latter went off the road due to a tyre burst, wins again. On Sunday, 20 June 1920, another race was held in Tuscany, the Coppa della Consuma. Therefore, Enzo Ferrari decides to stay in the area, so as not to tire himself excessively with continuous transfers. On Sunday morning the sky is dark and a slight haze rises from the meadows. Like the previous Sunday, Count Masetti is incredibly fast, so fast that he pulverises the record set by Vincenzo Lancia in 1904. But when the public already celebrates him for the victory, another Tuscan nobleman, Marquis Niccolini, even manages to do better, lowering Masetti's time by another four seconds.
At this point only Giuseppe Campari and Enzo Ferrari, who have not yet finished their test, can take the victory from Niccolini. But while the rain slows down the last kilometres of the Campari race, on the finish line, race judges and spectators wait in vain for the arrival of Enzo Ferrari's Isotta Fraschini. A puncture forced him to stop in the first part of the route to replace the tyre. And the breakage of the engine belt subsequently forced him to retire. This umpteenth mechanical failure pushes the young Modena driver to look for a valid alternative. In the Italian automotive scene, Alfa Romeo is a very small company. But in the summer of 1920 the racing cars manufactured in Portello plant were undoubtedly the dream of all Italian amateur drivers. In August 1920, Enzo Ferrari managed to get an appointment with Giorgio Rimini, commercial director and head of Alfa Romeo's sporting activity. Having no interest in competitions, Nicola Romeo, the company's new majority shareholder, had delegated responsibility for Alfa Romeo's racing department to engineer Rimini. Enzo Ferrari is received at the offices in Via Traiano, in the Milanese area of Portello. After a cordial interview, Rimini decided to put him to the test and hired him as the reserve driver of the two best Italian professional drivers, Antonio Ascari and Giuseppe Campari. Thus, the young Modenese leaves his old job at CMN without great regrets. But he does not leave the commercial representation for Emilia Romagna, which he had obtained some time before (over the winter Ferrari will also become Alfa Romeo's sales agent for the city of Modena, adding to that of CMN representative for the entire Emilia Romagna region, which he is not required to give up and which in fact he will not give up). In Modena, in a building at number 5 Via Jacopo Barozzi, just outside the city's historic centre, in the same month of August, Enzo Ferrari opened Carrozzeria Emilia, CMN's reception hall and dealership, which combines a workshop in which, in addition to repairing and repainting cars of any brand, he plans to build bodies for those customers who buy only the chassis with radiator, engine hood and dashboard and rely on bodybuilders to dress the car. Enzo Ferrari is the general partner of Carrozzeria Emilia. To create it, he sold the house of Villa Santa Caterina, what was left of his father's small metallurgical industry and ran through the small inheritance that his father had left him. Of the share capital of 50.000 lire, Ferrari had paid 75%, or 37.500 lire.
The remaining 12.500 lire had been paid by Pietro Casalegno, a Milanese born in Chivasso who Enzo Ferrari had met during the previous year. Casalegno's qualification on the deed of incorporation of Carrozzeria Emilia E. Ferrari e C., drawn up on Sunday 1 August 1920 in the presence of the lawyer Camillo Donati, is that of Technical Manager. He is responsible for the technical management of the Body Shop. Ferrari, on the other hand, has commercial, representative and administrative duties. From a legal point of view, Carrozzeria Emilia Enzo Ferrari is responsible without limitation. The registration of the company was made at the Court of Modena on Friday, 6 August 1920. The agreement is valid until 31 December 1926. Enzo Ferrari's first competitive commitment with Alfa Romeo was the Targa Florio, which took place on Sunday, 24 October 1920. In the absence of international competition, Enzo Ferrari should be among the favourites for victory. Once again this year, the competitors of the Targa Florio find only cold and rain on their arrival in Sicily. Beneath a thick layer of mud, the sixteen competitors have to watch out for huge boulders and pointed rocks that sprout dangerously along the way. It will be against one of these stones that Campari destroys one of the wheels of his Alfa Romeo Grand Prix in training. The Italian driver manages to keep the car on the road, but the wheel disappears into the ravine below. Contrary to the previous year, when he had only arrived in time for the race, this year Enzo Ferrari arrived in Sicily early enough to allow him to spend a few days training. Struggling with a car unknown to him, he uses the test days above all to get to know the new car, the official six-litre Tipo 40-60 that Campari had already driven twice to victory. Together with his teammates he spends most of the day behind the wheel and, always together with them and the chief designer Merosi, he goes during the evening to nearby Termini to watch revues. On Sunday the weather is bad, as in the previous days, but Merosi has wisely mounted small protective screens in thin wire mesh and mudguards to protect his drivers from the inevitable splashes of mud. The first contestant starts at 7:00 a.m. After him, the drivers start every six minutes. Campari leaves at 7:06 a.m., Enzo Ferrari with the unfaltering lucky handkerchief that his mother had given him, leaves at 8:06 a.m. On the first pass on the finish line, the young Modena driver is informed that he is in fifth place, almost eight minutes away from the race leader, Guido Airoldi on Itala.
Although the first lap is not exceptional, Enzo Ferrari precedes Giuseppe Campari by a second. The rainwater rooted the spark plugs of the teammate's four-cylinder engine, which now only works with three pistons. However, the information given to Enzo Ferrari is only partially correct: his gap is actually almost eight minutes, but the latter is in second position, not fifth. When there are still three laps to go, the weather conditions get even worse. The road begins to look more and more like a river of mud with boulders and rocks that sprout dangerously from the layer of slime. After a few miles, Giuseppe Campari is forced to abandon and, with Campari retiring, Enzo Ferrari remains the only Alfa Romeo driver in the race. Despite the rain and mud, Ferrari made a spectacular second lap. At the beginning of the third lap, the sun finally begins to peek into the sky. And, with his appearance, part of the mud that covers the entire path begins to solidify. But at this point, with more than 220 kilometres on their shoulders, all the drivers also begin to accuse the fatigue of a gruelling race held in conditions at the limit of endurance. Meregalli completes the third lap in a time of two minutes faster than that recorded in the previous session; Enzo even loses three minutes. So, by the time the two drivers start the fourth and final lap, they are 11 minutes and 26 seconds apart. Halfway through the final lap, Meregalli visibly slows down. On the verge of physical collapse, the Florentine driver strives to keep the car on the road but, in order to do so, he was forced to significantly decrease his pace. At the moment when he understands that the leader has serious physical sealing problems, Enzo Ferrari understands that, despite the fatigue felt, the time has come to go even beyond his physical limit and start pushing the car at unprecedented speed, taking risks like he had never taken in his life. Immediately, the gap begins to decrease. There are only a few kilometres left, but Ferrari is not slowing down. Despite a last lap in which, driving at crazy speed and establishing the fastest time of the day, he manages to gain something like seven minutes from Meregalli; Ferrari cannot fully fill the gap and is forced to settle for second place. Sensing that he had lost, through no fault of his own, a huge opportunity to win his first race, Enzo Ferrari lets himself be overcome by frustration and begins to cry like a child, and in the anger of the moment swears that he would never run again. However, over the course of the evening, the anger fades.
Galvanised by the attention of the press, happy with the compliments he received from the head of Alfa Romeo's sporting activity, applauded by the spectators and, not least, pleasantly impressed by the 12.000 lire prize that belongs to the runner-up, Enzo Ferrari is finally beginning to see the outstanding performance he had made in the right light. Of course, no trace remains of the desire to abandon competitive activity. But beyond the considerable cash prize, the most precious thing with which the young Modenese leaves Sicily are the first signs of a friendship that is being born with his teammate Giuseppe Campari. The two met for the first time during the practice sessions that preceded the race. Campari, the established champion, had immediately taken a liking to the young Modenese driver who dreams of a future in the world of racing. Generous and talented, always poised between a career at the wheel and one as an opera singer, Campari will soon become one of Ferrari's points of reference inside and outside Alfa Romeo. For his part, Enzo Ferrari will always reciprocate Campari with affection for the man and admiration for the champion. On Sunday, November 14, 1920, the Chilometro Lanciato (1-km drag race) was held in Gallarate, an event of relative importance, but organised only a few dozen kilometres from the courtyards of Portello factory. Alfa Romeo decides to participate with some official cars. Campari will compete in the race car category while Antonio Ascari and Enzo Ferrari will take part in the race in the production car category. With the mechanic Michele Conti at his side and driving the same Type 40-60 he had used at the Targa Florio, Enzo set the fastest time in his class. His speed is 120 km/h, higher than that marked by Ascari himself, who is behind the wheel of a more powerful and all-new Tipo 20-30 Sport that Alfa Romeo tests in view of the following season. Although the Chilometro Lanciato is not a race in the most traditional sense of the term, for Enzo Ferrari it is the first class victory. If the Targa Florio had been the scene of his first meeting with Campari, in Gallarate Ferrari met Antonio Ascari. Their friendship actually begins abruptly, since during the afternoon, on the way back to Milan, due to the fog that envelops the countryside, Ferrari bumps into the back of Ascari's car, which suddenly stops in front of a closed level crossing that suddenly appeared. Ascari reacts to the collision visibly annoyed with his young and mortified teammate.
Almost six months later, on Sunday 8 May 1921, for the third time in three years, Enzo Ferrari arrived on time at the Parma-Poggio di Berceto. With Campari driving the 1914 Grand Prix car, Ascari, Ferrari and Sivocci were entrusted with three Tipo 20-30 SE. For Ferrari, at the wheel of a car similar to that of the two teammates and on a route he knows well, it is an extraordinary opportunity to perform well. On the other hand, while Ascari and Sivocci dominate their class and Campari is ranked second overall, Enzo Ferrari's race ends in Fornovo, about halfway up the climb, where a mechanical breakage forces him to retire. Three weeks later, on Sunday, 29 May 1921, Enzo Ferrari was in Sicily at the start of the Targa Florio. The inclement weather of the two previous editions convinced Vincenzo Florio to return to the old habits of when, before the war, the race was held in spring. This edition also marks Mercedes' return to competition. Since the horrors of war are still etched in everyone's memory, Mercedes and the race organisers specify that the two German cars are not registered directly by the Stuttgart-based company, but by their respective owners, one of whom is also Italian. Enzo Ferrari reaches Palermo by train with his teammates a few days before the race. At the wheel of the 1914 Grand Prix model, Campari competed for the overall classification. On their 4500-cc 20-30 ES Sport, Ferrari and Sivocci will try to conquer the class victory. However, in a race won by Masetti on Fiat, despite an incredible last lap, Campari did not go beyond the third place finish, also preceded by the Mercedes of the German Max Seiler. Thus the great result for Alfa Romeo is achieved by Sivocci and Ferrari, who rank first and second in class respectively and fourth and fifth overall, the first two drivers behind the wheel of production cars after three racing cars. It is a happy moment for the young Modenese, who in addition to enjoying great consideration within Alfa Romeo, has also fallen in love in the meantime. In fact, a young and attractive blonde girl is constantly by his side and accompanies him on all the race fields or on business trips to Milan. Although he was fascinated by the lifestyle of Giuseppe Campari, made up of women, parties and champagne, Enzo Ferrari is convinced that the way of life that best suits him is that of Antonio Ascari, who is married. So much so that in the summer of 1921 Laura made an extremely daring move, going to live in Enzo Ferrari's apartment in Modena, even though they were not yet married.
The young couple soon learns to coexist with the prejudices of a provincial city. But they had probably not come to terms with the tenacious opposition of Enzo Ferrari's mother. Overprotective by nature, Adalgisa is jealous of her son's girlfriend, and their quarrels will soon become more frequent and increasingly fierce. Enzo thus finds himself between two fires, unable to take a side. Probably also to stay as far away as possible from Modena and Adalgisa, Laura begins to accompany Enzo wherever he goes, and in mid-July she is with him at Mugello, where Alfa Romeo organises a few days of testing ahead of the race, scheduled for Sunday, 24 July 1921. Laura is not the only woman in the company, but she is the only one who sits in the car next to her man during a test session, occupying the seat normally reserved for the race mechanic. Subsequently, with the mechanic Michele Conti back in his seat, during the official tests Enzo Ferrari established the best lap time and finished the race in second place, behind Campari, obtaining his first real class victory. The Modena driver will also be awarded a special recognition, the Targa Masetti, which rewards the fastest driver driving a normal production car. These successes are contrasted by the lack of profitability of Carrozzeria Emilia, since due to the many trips to the race fields, he is unable to devote the necessary time to this activity. The works of Carrozzeria Emilia are appreciable, but it is no coincidence that the bodybuilders have opened their activities and prepare the cars in the big cities, first of all Milan and Turin. In Modena, quite simply, there are not enough customers to make Carrozzeria Emilia thrive, despite the publicity resulting from Ferrari's results on the race fields. The finances are so precarious that it was Laura who had paid for both of their train tickets when, a few months earlier, she had moved to Modena. Nevertheless, after a brief stop in Modena, on his way back from Mugello, Ferrari travels to Milan to collect the brand new Alfa Romeo Tipo 20-30 with which he will take part in the Coppa delle Alpi, a regularity race held on Sunday, 7 August 1921, over five stages spread over nine days. Of the thirty registered drivers, twenty-four leave the Turin stadium at dawn on Sunday. The starting order had been established by draw at 6:00 p.m. the previous day. Ferdinando Minoia is the first to start, at 5:00 a.m. After him, all the other competitors started five minutes away from each other. Enzo Ferrari arrives on the starting line as fourteenth, and starts at 6:05 a.m..
For the next nine days, the young Modenese driver drove at an almost relaxed pace aboard his Alfa Romeo ES 20-30. Along the descent of Passo Carlo Magno in Trentino, the favourite to win, Antonio Ascari, capsizes with his white Alfa Romeo number 1 in the thick of the woods. Descending from the pass, Ascari suddenly finds the road obstructed by a cart, and to avoid it, he ruinously crosses the side of the road ending up in the escarpment. Arriving at the scene of the accident, Enzo Ferrari sees three men lying next to the overturned car. Two of them, a film operator and his assistant, who at this stage had boarded Ascari's car to closely document the intoxication of speed, are unconscious. Only Ascari is standing, apparently unharmed. Together with colleagues Sailer, Minoia, Sandonnino and Sivocci, Ferrari tries to revive the two men. Subsequently, the race was briefly interrupted to allow Ferrari and Sivocci to accompany the two unlucky men to Madonna di Campiglio, where the nearest emergency room is located. The race resumes shortly after and ends in the afternoon in Milan. The young Modenese driver is one of the seven people to complete the distance at the required hourly average. But he is penalised by a series of rules that establish that, for the same average, the classification at the end of each of the five stages is taken into account, as well as any penalties collected along the route and that, under all conditions, less powerful cars are favoured. He thus finds himself in sixth place overall. But when Max Seiler does not allow the technical stewards to inspect his Mercedes, the German is disqualified and Enzo Ferrari automatically gains a position. Two weeks later, Ferrari took second place overall in the uphill race from Aosta to Gran San Bernardo. His day of glory is completed with a class victory. However, this event becomes crucial for the history of Enzo Ferrari, since the young man from Modena meets a young man from Turin in his debut as a driver, whose name is Giovan Battista Farina, but his friends called him Pinin. On Sunday, September 4, 1921, in Brescia, the first Italian Grand Prix was held. This marks the third and final Grand Prix of the season after Indianapolis and Le Mans. Since Alfa Romeo does not have a car of the Grand Prix class to match the competition, the Milanese company decides not to participate in the event. Therefore, its drivers go to Brescia in the unusual guise of spectators, with Enzo Ferrari who does not miss the opportunity to attend with curiosity the environment of a great international race.
The young Modenese watched the race from the grandstand, not far from the King, Victor Emmanuel III, who came from Rome right for this sporting event. Subsequently, the Alfa Romeo drivers attend two races that will be held around the Lombard city the following week. The first is the Chilometro Lanciato, a sort of qualifying test for the Gentlemen's Grand Prix. The Chilometro Lanciato is scheduled for Wednesday, September 7, 1921. The Gentlemen's Grand Prix was held on Sunday, September 11, 1921, instead. At the first of the two sporting events, Enzo Ferrari covered the distance of the kilometre in 24.4 seconds at an average speed of over 147 km/h, marking the fifth best time ever, the fourth in class but, above all, the first of all the Alfa Romeo drivers. A really excellent result. However, enthusiasm drives the young Modenese to want to try the car again and again so as not to be found unprepared on Sunday. But on Friday morning, launched at full speed on a seemingly deserted road in the Brescia countryside, Ferrari escapes death when some cows suddenly come out from a field and cross the road just as his Alfa Romeo is arriving at full speed. The young man immediately climbs the gears and brakes vehemently, thus managing to drastically reduce the speed, but he cannot keep the car on the road. The car finishes its run in a fortunately dry ditch, resting on one side. Ferrari and the mechanic Fugazza are thrown out of the car and land on the lawn, both getting away with just a few bumps and some scratches. In the violent collision with the moat, on the other hand, the Alfa Romeo is reduced to a mass of scrap metal. The young Modenese driver, fully understanding that as a result of this incident he could not have taken part in the race on Sunday, searches for the head of the organisation, finds him and assaults him with an unprecedented verbal ferocity. Arturo Mercanti listens to Ferrari's protests, then acts and disqualifies the young Modena man for life from any race on the national territory. It will only be thanks to the personal intervention of the president of the Reale Automobile Club d'Italia that the disqualification will be removed a few weeks later. Meanwhile, a few days after the Gentlemen Grand Prix, which he attends only as a spectator, accompanied by Laura Garello, Enzo Ferrari goes to Milan to bring back to the factory what remains of the crashed car in Brescia, organising, among other things, a curious and comical return ceremony.
Despite the terrible risk he had taken just a few days before, the young Modenese man finds the strength to joke with Rimini, Merosi and Sivocci, toasting the escaped danger and even finding the time and desire to pose for some souvenir photos next to what remains of the car. After that, Ferrari signed an order with Rimini to buy a six-litre G1 model, an Alfa Romeo car made on the designs of an American car called Pierce-Arrow. In the excitement of the moment, the young man does not read the contract in its entirety. And above all, he ignores a clause written in smaller letters than the rest of the text that says that Alfa Romeo would have delivered the car to him as soon as possible and even sooner. The contract does not specify the time of delivery of the car, which in reality will never be delivered. Ferrari will understand only later that he was tricked, when, going to complain about the delay with Rimini, the commercial director of Alfa Romeo will point out the unfair clause. Meanwhile, on Thursday. 13 October 1921. Ferrari is back in Milan for the presentation of the new Alfa Romeo Tipo RL in the car manufacturer's showroom, in the central Via Dante. This is the latest creation by Merosi, which from now on can only focus on the design of the new Grand Prix car, which Alfa Romeo needs to try to get closer to Fiat. Meanwhile, in autumn Laura Garello falls into a state of severe nervous exhaustion. The first measure of the doctor concerns the departure of the young woman from Modena and her mother-in-law for a period of rest to be spent in Santa Margherita Ligure. Here, on an almost daily basis, long and thoughtful letters from Enzo Ferrari begin to reach her. Written in black ink, they all recommend the same things: rest and tranquillity. Eat, rest, have fun, try not to think about anything. Some of these are accompanied by postal money orders worth 500 or even 1000 lire. Then, however, six days before Christmas, a holiday that Enzo Ferrari and Laura Garello will spend separately (he in Modena with his mother, she at the Hotel Regina Elena in Santa Margherita Ligure), the young Modenese constructor lets himself go to a hard written outburst, in which he rebukes his girlfriend for her intemperance, her fears, which he believes are unjustified, that nothing can be done except to further ruin her health and keep her from healing. Laura Garello's real illness, however, is jealousy. A jealousy that devours her and against which no medicine can take effect.
Just as no results can reassure Enzo Ferrari, who betrays her with his total dedication to the car and his work. Women have nothing to do with it. However, what Laura fails to understand is Enzo Ferrari's total devotion to cars. On Thursday, December 29, 1921, two days before the end of the year, another anniversary that the couple will celebrate separately, Ferrari appears relieved, as he is convinced that Laura has finally taken the road to healing. Also because in the meantime Ferrari had confronted the attending physician, who now seems inclined to prescribe Laura a winter rest period no longer in Santa Margherita Ligure, but on Lake Garda, a relatively nearby destination that the young Modenese could have reached easily and more frequently. At the same time, Ferrari continues to manage Carrozzeria Emilia. The week before December 25, 1921, the young Modenese went with a collaborator, the trusty Casarini, to Milan to collect two Alfa Romeo chassis to be built, and between Christmas and New Year's Eve, he quickly sent a letter to Laura saying that he had to go immediately to Parma to sell a car. Nevertheless, the situation is not as good as it might seem, since the expenses are many and the turnover, for this type of work, in a city like Modena, is quite limited. And of course the general state of the Italian economy does not help small businesses. Sunday, April 2, 1922, the Targa Florio was disputed. This sporting event features 48 drivers behind the wheel of cars produced by twelve Manufacturers representing four different nations: France, Germany, Austria and Italy. Alfa Romeo had initially thought of entrusting Enzo Ferrari with one of the two Tipo RLs in their absolute debut. But later he preferred to send only one example of the new car to Sicily and to have Augusto Tarabusi take it to the race. Ferrari, Ascari, Sivocci, Clerici and Maria Antonietta Avanzo, one of the first women to engage with a certain continuity in the new sport, are instead assigned the old, but reliable 4500 cc Tipo 20-30 ES10. Alfa Romeo will have to settle for winning the first three class places, achieved in the order of Ascari, Sivocci and Ferrari. Although deprived of overall victory, by virtue of the class hat-trick, at the end of the race Alfa Romeo is awarded as the best team with the award of the Biglia Cup. The only emotion of the day felt by Ferrari is during the second lap when, near Caltavuturo, he noticed the Fiat number 17 of Biagio Nazzaro overturned on the side of the road. Despite the speed, from the driving position, Ferrari senses that the driver is still under the car.
The young man from Modena does not think about it for a moment and stops to help together with his mechanic and Nazzaro's, lifting the car and freeing his colleague. A couple of weeks later Ferrari participated in the Milan Trade Fair with a stand entirely reserved for Carrozzeria Emilia. On the Milan stand, Ferrari exhibits what the press calls a true masterpiece made entirely in his workshops on Viale Iacopo Barozzi.
"The sober and elegant line of the bodywork, the very accurate finishing of all the details, the ingenious application of the strips combine two uncommon qualities: elegance and practicality. Ferrari has started a boast for the city's industry, as his products, now very well known on the market, are also affirmed every day on other markets".
Meanwhile, after returning to Modena, Laura Garello left immediately for the hill, waiting for the time to go to Abetone. Enzo Ferrari thinks of two countries where the young girl could have stopped: Maranello or Sassuolo, just over fifteen kilometres from Modena. The competitive session continued on Sunday 11 June 1922, in the Coppa della Consuma, in which Enzo Ferrari ended in seventh place, and the following Sunday, 18 June 1922. at Mugello, where he is forced to retire during the third lap. The rather negative period for Ferrari continued with the death of Biagio Nazzaro, during the month of July 1922. The latter disappeared due to an accident that occurred during the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France in Strasbourg. This deep feeling of sadness also spills over to Laura Garello, and two days after Nazzaro's death, responding to a poisonous letter from the girl, he leaves aside the tenderness and words of understanding and encouragement that he usually dispenses in every one of his writings. The precarious situation in which Carrozzeria Emilia finds itself also contributes to Ferrari's concern. Despite the good quality of the products and the decent turnover, the general situation of the Italian economy is compromising its stability. The young Modenese, understanding the situation, therefore decides to give a mandate to his lawyer friend Camillo Donati to look around and liquidate, if necessary, the company. Despite everything, Ferrari decides to participate in the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo uphill race, which takes place on Sunday, July 30, 1922. What is strange is the fact that the young man from Modena has not indicated with which car he will compete in the race. In fact, Ferrari would like to compete with the Steyr already in the Susa-Moncenisio that is scheduled for Sunday, July 16, 1922, perhaps to carry out a preliminary test, but the breakage of a valve forces him to postpone his debut with the Austrian car. Initially, due to the seriousness of the problem, Ferrari feared having to send the car back to Austria to be repaired directly at the factory; then, however, it received some parts from Vienna and managed to prepare the Steyr in time for the race. And so, on the morning of the race, amid general amazement, Ferrari arrives at the start of the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo at the wheel of the small Austrian car. It was a friend named Pesenti, Steyr's representative for Italy, who offered Ferrari the opportunity to participate in the uphill race with the Austrian car. In the race, however, Ferrari will be forced to watch the other competitors fight for the victory, as the car begins to have electrical problems from the first kilometres. He finishes in eighth place overall, second in class.
"My run didn't go too well, as I was forced to waste precious minutes due to a broken spark plug. But patience, the important thing is that I'm OK".
In the early days of August 1922, after returning to Modena, Ferrari first met with the lawyer Donati to decide on the fate of the body shop. The decision is to liquidate Carrozzeria Emilia, one of the many companies that failed to survive the economic crisis in post-war Italy. In the operation, Donati manages to involve Renzo Orlandi, owner of another Modena body shop, who would have taken over part of the company's equipment and materials. In the days preceding Sunday, August 20, 1922, Enzo Ferrari was in Genoa, where, however, he will not take part in the race because, at the last moment, the Automobile Club telegraphs him threatening him with disqualification because, as a registered professional, he cannot participate in a Gentlemen’s race. And he will not even participate in the second Italian Grand Prix, as Alfa Romeo still lacks Grand Prix cars. Enzo Ferrari still shows up in Monza for the whole weekend.
On the day of the race, Sunday, September 10, 1922, at the time of the start, he was standing a few metres away from the eight cars lined up on the starting straight. On Sunday, October 22, however, on the occasion of the Coppa d’Autunno, the last event of the inaugural mini-season of the new and very modern plant, which had naturally had as its central moment the dispute in September of the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari is summoned by Alfa Romeo to attend the event as a driver. Like his three teammates, the week before the race, Ferrari tested his Alfa Romeo Tipo ES Sport on the circuit's ten kilometres of asphalt. Then, surprisingly, on Thursday, October 19, 1922, the head of the organisation, that same Arturo Mercanti with whom he had fought violently the previous autumn in Brescia, urgently summoned all 36 registered competitors for an unscheduled meeting. Fourteen of them would have been fined for not having communicated in time the name of the race mechanic or for not being in possession of valid race licences. Fines range from a minimum of 50 lire to a maximum of 150 lire. It is not clear why, despite not being on the list of drivers fined, Enzo Ferrari will not take part in the Coppa d’Autunno. However, a few days after the race, Ferrari is still in the area. In the company of the top management of Alfa Romeo, at the end of October the young Modenese driver visited the Milan Motor Show, where he met Vittorio Valletta, the thirty-nine-year-old central director of Fiat and the right-hand man of Senator Giovanni Agnelli. After liquidating Carrozzeria Emilia, in the winter between 1922 and 1923 Enzo Ferrari decided to spend as much time as possible in Milan with the engineers, technicians and mechanics of Alfa Romeo, always curious, always eager to learn, always available to help in any way. In doing so, the young man learns to know better the top management of the Milanese company, especially Giorgio Rimini. Seeing his total availability, Rimini, that winter, started to use him for increasingly delicate commissions.
The commercial director of Alfa Romeo begins to entrust him with tasks such as looking for new companies on the market that can produce a certain component, or sends him to some supplier to verify in person the processing of specific pieces. Whatever the task, Enzo Ferrari is always available. The visits and extended stays in Milan also allow him to deepen his knowledge of the other drivers of the official Alfa Romeo team. Campari often invites him to dinners and after-dinners that he organises or participates in. In a short time he introduces him to the dolce vita and the beautiful world of drivers. Relatively awkward with women, to which he feels irresistibly attracted, Ferrari cannot fail to admire Campari's naturalness with women. But with the passage of time, he also strengthens his relationship with Antonio Ascari. As much as Enzo envies Campari's success with the fairer sex, he also admires Ascari's discipline and generosity, from which Ferrari will often benefit: when he is in the company of the Milanese ace, he is not allowed to pay for lunches or dinners, which, despite a certain amount of natural embarrassment, Ferrari cannot fail to appreciate, given his limited finances following the liquidation of Carrozzeria Emilia. As for his business, when Ferrari is not at Portello or around northern Italy engaged in some technical or commercial mission on behalf of Alfa Romeo, it is in Modena that he directs what is left of his activity, namely the Alfa Romeo dealership recently opened in Piazzale Carmine. After the liquidation of Carrozzeria Emilia, the name of the business became Agenzia Generale per l’Emilia dell’Alfa Romeo. Ferrari only sells chassis; customers will take care of the car's bodywork directly. On Friday, April 13, 1923, wearing the new red jersey that Alfa Romeo provided to its official drivers, Enzo Ferrari was the fastest among the drivers of the Milanese company in the tests of the Targa Florio, the first event of the racing season. However, his understandable enthusiasm for the great result is reduced by an unexpected observation by Antonio Ascari:
"The Targa Florio is a long and difficult race where speed in itself is not necessarily the key to victory".
Galvanised by his great personal performance, Ferrari confuses Ascari's words out of envy. And he starts the race with great fervour. Taking risks at every turn, on the first lap the young Modenese driver managed to set the fifth fastest time ever. Then, as Ascari had somehow predicted, at the beginning of the second lap he is betrayed by speed. In an attempt to maintain the high race pace, Enzo Ferrari tackles one of the first corners of the circuit too fast and ends up off road. Fortunately, he is still in the lower part of the track and his Alfa Romeo finishes its race in a dry ditch instead of in a ravine, as could have happened only a few kilometres later.
The young Modenese driver comes out of the accident unscathed, but the car is so damaged that it is not possible to put it back on the road. Ferrari walks back into the pits cursing more against himself than against bad luck. Only now can he understand the true meaning of Ascari's words. Back in the pits, he regains his composure. He puts on his racing glasses and offers to help the team as an added mechanic. When his teammates return for refuelling, Ferrari is personally busy with gas tanks and funnels. And when Ascari, less than 200 metres from the finish line, suddenly stops with his engine cut out, Enzo Ferrari instinctively runs towards his teammate to try to help him get the car back on track. Ferrari, Ascari, his race mechanic and a second mechanic work around the Alfa Romeo for five minutes before being able to put it back into action. Despite the precious time lost, Ascari is still in the lead of the race. Therefore, he gets back behind the wheel and in a hurry travels the 200 metres that separate him from the finish line. Unfortunately for Ascari, in the heat of the moment, his car is also climbed by the two mechanics and Ferrari himself, with whom he crosses the finish line. Therefore the stewards warned him that, if he had not gone back and covered the last 200 metres again with only the personal mechanic on board, he would have been disqualified. Ascari turns the car around and returns to the point where he had stopped. Not finding his own mechanic, he loads on board one of the curious people who had gathered around his car again. Then, for the second time, he crosses the finish line. But in the time that Ascari had taken to complete the operation, Ugo Sivocci had arrived at the finish line and the Alfa Romeo driver only got the satisfaction of a moral victory. Sivocci finally achieved the first triumph of his career and Ferrari immediately ran to embrace him. The two are united by a deep friendship and despite the appointment with his first victory being once again postponed, Ferrari is sincerely happy for his friend. On their return from Sicily, Enzo Ferrari and Laura Garello went together to Turin where, on Saturday 28 April 1923, they got married.
Disagreeing from the beginning with the story with Laura, the other Mrs. Ferrari, Mom Adalgisa, disdainfully chooses to stay in Modena. Understandably embittered by his mother's controversial gesture, Ferrari tries to grin and bear it. This situation certainly cannot please him, so much so that Enzo does not invite any of his many friends from the world of racing, not even his fraternal friend Sivocci. First, the two spouses present themselves at the Municipal House of Turin for the civil ceremony. At 8:35 a.m. they are in front of the Civil Registrar, who notes Ferrari groom Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria's industrial profession and writes comfortably regarding the condition of the bride, Garello Domenica called Laura. As witnesses, the thirty-two-year-old Luigi Amberti and the twenty-nine-year-old Giovanni Garello, Laura's brother, sign. The time of the religious ceremony follows. In a small church near the Fiat factory in Lingotto there are no more than twenty people, only Laura's relatives and acquaintances. Enzo is alone. The Mass is officiated by Father Clerici. As a cumulative wedding gift, the Garello family gives the bride a gold laminated handbag. The couple does not even indulge in the honeymoon, as the sporting season is coming to a head and Ferrari is completely absorbed by his multifaceted role at Alfa Romeo. The following weekend, however, the two spouses went together to Cremona, where on Sunday 6 May 1923 the young man from Modena officially opened the track, making a lap of the circuit behind the wheel of his Alfa Romeo, to the thunderous applause of the passenger next to him, the local ras Roberto Farinacci. Enzo does not take part in the race. Saturday, June 2, 1923 Ferrari returns to Turin, as his friend Guglielmo Carraroli, the same one with whom he had bought the Isotta Fraschini in 1920 and who had been his race mechanic for some time, organised a secret meeting with Luigi Bazzi, one of Fiat's best technicians, being the head of the Turin-based company's engine test room. The development of the new Alfa Romeo Grand Prix is not proceeding as Rimini hoped. The commercial director of Alfa Romeo realises that Merosi and Santoni, a talented designer with a degree in chemistry, need the help of a professional. Thus, one evening at the end of May, Rimini had entrusted Ferrari with the delicate mission. The two were having dinner at the trattoria of Portello, one of the restaurants in the shade of the factory where Alfa Romeo drivers used to stop when they were passing through the city. Rimini spoke clearly:
"Wherever there are competent people, take them away by all tolerably lawful means".
And so it comes to the meeting with Luigi Bazzi in the elegant and central Corso Vinzaglio in Turin. Ferrari, without further ado, after a brief introduction makes a direct question:
"Are you interested in moving to Milan to join Alfa Romeo?"
Bazzi, a shy man of few words, is naturally flattered by the offer, but asks for time to think about it. Despite the urgency that Rimini knows it has, Ferrari wisely does not try to force his interlocutor. He tells him to think about it. Ferrari says goodbye to Bazzi and returns to Milan to report to Rimini on the outcome of the mission. A few days later, on Sunday 10 June 1923, Ferrari was at the start of the Mugello Circuit. At the wheel of one of the five official Alfa Romeo RL Targa Florio 1923, the young Modena driver completed only one lap before having to retire due to carburetor problems. Sadly back in the pits, Ferrari once again decides to help the teammates still in the race. When Ascari returns for refuelling, Ferrari personally participates in the tyre change of his car. A week later, on Sunday, 17 June 1923, Ferrari took part in the first race at the Circuito del Savio. The main event of the day, the car race, starts at 4:30 p.m. There are fifteen cars at the start, which start at intervals of 30 seconds from each other. Enzo Ferrari, at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo, in the company of the loyal Ramponi, wins the race and sets the fastest lap. With the winner's cup, Ferrari takes home a check for 4000 lire. At the end of the race, among those who congratulate Ferrari, there is also Count Enrico Baracca, Francesco's father, as a guest of honour at the event. The two had never met before. When the shouts and excitement of the audience finally subside, Ferrari and the Count talk to each other. In the days that follow this important victory, the joy for the first personal affirmation will soon be lost in the climate of serious concern that Ferrari finds in Milan. The defeat suffered at Mugello by Brilli Peri's Steyr aggravates the state of tension due to the manifest inferiority towards Fiat. Also because Bazzi, after the first meeting, has not yet received any news. Until Monday, July 2, 1923, exactly one month after the meeting between Ferrari and Bazzi in Turin, the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club of France was held in Tours. The race did not start well for Fiat. The atmosphere is already extremely tense when Felice Bordino returns to the pits with a broken compressor. In the excitement following the Bordino stop, between Guido Fornaca, general technical director of Fiat, and Bazzi, there is a misunderstanding followed by a fight, which ends with the dispute with a peremptory order that humiliates Bazzi in public.
At the end of the race, Bazzi goes to Ferrari to tell him that he would accept Alfa Romeo's offer. Back in Italy, a few days later, Ferrari accompanied Bazzi to the Sacro Monte in Varese. Here, in the Quattro Cappelle hotel, Giorgio Rimini stays with his family. The terms of the transfer to Alfa Romeo had already been discussed in broad terms during the first interview in Turin, so Bazzi did not take long to put his signature on the contract that will bind him to Alfa Romeo. Luigi Bazzi wastes no time and immediately starts to work at Portello to finish Merosi's job. Ferrari instead took part once again in the Coppa delle Alpi, which took place between Turin and Monza, from 5 to 15 August 1923. At the wheel of an Alfa Romeo RL Sport, the Modenese driver ranks first in the 3000-cc class and first in the overall classification at an average speed of 49 km/h. According to the regulations, which in equal time rewards the least powerful car, it is relegated to fourth place in the final classification. Bazzi's contribution, even in a limited period of time, proves to be important. And on the morning of 16 August 1923, the P1 was ready for its track debut. The three drivers designated to race on the same track, on Sunday 9 September, the European Grand Prix: Ascari, Campari and Sivocci, take turns driving the first model set up, not yet painted red, on the asphalt of the Monza racetrack throughout the day. The big exception is Ferrari, who despite his recent successes and the esteem he enjoys in the press has always been the fourth of the line-up. For the young Modenese, this is not a surprise, but rather a natural conclusion that he had already pragmatically taken into account, knowing that he did not possess the talent of the three teammates. And anyway, now he is not interested only in racing. In addition to Ferrari and the drivers, their mechanics and the handful of Alfa Corse technicians, Rimini, Merosi and Bazzi are present at the first test of the P1 in Monza. At a certain point even Nicola Romeo appears, who does not want to miss the baptism of the car with which his company launches the challenge to Fiat. The P1 does not betray expectations and immediately proves to be very fast.
On the straight Ascari gets to push the two-seater over 180 km/h. Being private tests, the comfort of direct confrontation with Fiat was lacking. However, the early indications seem to be encouraging. Monday, 27 August 1923, is the first day of official tests open to all drivers and all manufacturers. Alfa Romeo brings three P1s to Monza. In the previous days, at Portello, the numbers with which they would take part in the European Grand Prix had been painted on the three cars. Ascari had number 6, Campari number 12 and Sivocci number 17. The latter had chosen not to paint the green four-leaf clover on the hood in the white field that had brought him so much luck at the Targa Florio. With the racing overall lowered over his shirt and tie, Ferrari is in the pits with his teammates. At 12:20 p.m., just before the lunch break, practice is interrupted due to an accident. Pietro Bordino's Fiat Grand Prix leaves the road at the Grande Nord turn due to the sudden breakage of the front axle, which causes the right front wheel to detach. The car rolls over and catches fire. Bordino, who was carrying out experiments on gasoline consumption, comes out unscathed from the accident. But teammate Enrico Giaccone, who had exceptionally taken the place of race mechanic Ambrogio Bruno, is in very serious condition and is immediately transferred to the hospital in Monza, where he will die shortly after his arrival. Despite the tragedy, the next day practice continues. In light of the planned forfeit of Bordino, who after the accident that claimed his teammate's life is not psychologically in a position to compete, the press and public opinion are clamouring for the return of Felice Nazzaro. For Alfa Romeo, a possible return of an ace like Nazzaro could complicate things. In fact, the P1s do not behave as Rimini had hoped, as the first test session in the middle of the month seemed to have indicated. Despite the arrival of Bazzi, the P1 does not seem able to achieve the desired results. In Rimini, the belief began to emerge that, in all probability, once the European Grand Prix had been contested, it would have been necessary to immediately set up a completely different car. When, on Monday 3 September 1923, practice on track resumed after the weekend break, Nazzaro was at the wheel of the Fiat Grand Prix. On Thursday, 6 September 1923, the fastest driver on the track was Carlo Salamano, also at the wheel of a Fiat Grand Prix, pushing at over 170 km/h.
Saturday, 8 September 1923, is the last day of practice before the race. At 9:35 a.m., Ugo Sivocci leaves the pits and jumps onto the circuit. P1 number 17 runs at full speed along the straight of the underpass. Then, while taking the fast left corner, it swerves. The driver's instinctive attempts to correct the trajectory have no effect. The Alfa Romeo ends up on the lawn and, still going fast, slams into one of the centuries-old trees of the Park of the Royal Villa of Monza. Immediately informed of the accident, Ferrari was among the first to come. The scene that presents before them is chilling. After the crash against the trunk of the tree, the P1 is crumpled. On the grass he sees the inert body of Sivocci and that of Angelo Guatta, the mechanic, who in the accident only broke a shoulder, but cries desperately next to the lifeless driver. Ferrari immediately understands that there is nothing more for his friend that he or anyone else can do. Nevertheless, with great cold blood, he loads him into the car of an English enthusiast who was attending the tests at that point and accompanies him without delay to the hospital in Monza. Upon learning of Sivocci's death, Nicola Romeo decided to retire the team, which the next day did not take part in the Grand Prix. Ferrari and the other Alfa Romeo drivers spent the weekend at the Umberto I hospital in Monza watching over Sivocci's body in the burial chamber that was set up and immediately submerged by the flowers brought by hundreds of fans. At 5:00 p.m., on Tuesday, September 11, 1923, the first commemoration of the unfortunate driver took place at the Monza hospital. Then the wooden casket is carried through the streets of Monza between two wings of crowd. After a stop at the church of San Carlo, the casket reaches the city cemetery. Ferrari follows the coffin all the way along with the teammates and the Alfa Romeo management. A second eulogy takes place at the cemetery, at the end of which the coffin is loaded onto a truck decorated with black drapes and wreaths of flowers. Followed by a long procession of cars also loaded with flowers, as the evening descends, the funeral truck takes the road to Milan at low speed. An hour later, he enters the Alfa Romeo factory at Portello, where the Milanese company's technicians have meanwhile set up a second burial chamber inside the workshop. During the evening, Ferrari and the other Alfa Romeo drivers watch over the coffin covered by the tricolour. Above the flag, the mechanics place the red sweater with "Alfa Romeo" written on it that Sivocci was wearing at the time of the accident.
The next morning the coffin is loaded onto a wagon pulled by two horses harnessed in black. Behind the wagon are Sivocci's wife and son. Behind them Ferrari, Ascari and Campari. The funeral procession moves slowly towards the Monumental Cemetery of Milan, followed by an impressive crowd, followed in turn by an endless row of cars covered with wreaths of flowers. At the graveyard, the coffin, preceded by Rimini, is carried on the shoulders of Alfa Romeo teammates and technicians. In the courtyard of the Famedio, speeches are held and hymns are sung. Ferrari struggles to hold back tears. Then Sivocci's coffin is loaded back onto the wagon to be transported to Musocco Cemetery for burial. Once the crate is lowered into the pit, Ferrari takes a shovel and symbolically throws fresh earth on top of the casket in which his friend rests. Due to Sivocci's accident, Monza lacked proof of the actual value of the P1. But the great affirmation of Fiat, which with Carlo Salamano dominates the Italian Grand Prix, leaves no doubt about the amount of work that awaits the Alfa Romeo technicians. The day after the funeral, Rimini holds a meeting with his closest collaborators to analyse the situation with a cold mind and decide how to proceed. The meeting, organised at Portello, was attended by Merosi, the newly hired Bazzi, Ascari, Campari and Ferrari, whose role as personal advisor to the sales director has now put him at the centre of company strategies. Two points emerge during the meeting.
The first is that the 1923 season ended with the Monza accident and, for this reason, the programme for the next one must be set immediately. The second is that the P1 would have been retired before even debuting and that already now they must think about the development of a new car, immediately referred to as P2. In addition, Rimini says that it is necessary to take note of the fact that Bazzi constitutes a technical enhancement of great value, but it is not enough. If they want to put an end to Fiat's dominance, they must once again travel the road that leads to Turin and snatch from Fiat other valuable technicians who can move to Milan to work with Bazzi. The latter suggests the one who, in his opinion, is the best of Fiat technicians, not a man who would have come from Turin to work for him or with him, but a man to whom he himself would have brought back. His name is Vittorio Jano. He is a man of great value, who at Fiat is not valued for what he is worth. By leveraging this latent dissatisfaction, perhaps he could be convinced to leave Turin. After accepting the advice, Rimini asks Ferrari to go to Turin, this time in great secrecy, to convince Jano to transfer to Milan. Unlike what happened the first time with Bazzi, the first contact with Jano is not the happiest. The appointment with Bazzi in early June had been agreed. This time, however, Ferrari and Rimini decided to base their first approach on the element of surprise. Ferrari goes to Turin and climbs the three floors of the building in Via San Massimo where the Fiat technician lives. He knocks on the door and finds his wife, Mrs. Rosina, in front of him. The woman asks him the reason for the visit. With the fashionable floppy cap that he usually wears on his head, Ferrari, without much further ado, tells the lady that he is there to offer her husband a place as a designer at Alfa Romeo. The lady replies with self-confidence:
"Mr. Jano is too Piedmontese to move from Turin".
Fortunately, Jano himself arrives to remove Ferrari from the impasse and above all from the threshold of the house, inviting him to enter. The two do not know each other, but they talk for a long time. Jano confided to him that the reason why Bazzi had left Fiat was the dispute that took place on the track in Tours with Fornaca, but Ferrari spoke with equal honesty, explaining with great precision the situation and the offer of Alfa Romeo. The Turin technician responds by saying that he is flattered, but does not try to hide his mistrust. If Alfa Romeo really cares so much about him, why did they send a young driver who has no defined corporate role? Why didn't an Alfa Romeo executive visit him directly? Wounded in pride, Ferrari behaves like a perfect diplomat. Jano is not opposing him with a clear refusal. What perplexes him is the rank of the envoy, a simple mediator without the authority to conclude a possible agreement. Therefore, with patience, Ferrari explains to him that Alfa Romeo had not wanted to expose itself in the first person for fear of rejection, which could have been embarrassing for both of them. But if the speech may be of interest to Vittorio Jano, Enzo Ferrari would have reported the outcome of their interview to Giorgio Rimini, who is the commercial director of Alfa Romeo. And, he assures, the next time he will receive a visit from a senior executive. Not surprisingly, in the second interview Ferrari leaves room for Alfa Romeo vice president Edoardo Fucito.
He will be the one to formulate the proposal. Jano, who heads a team of designers at Fiat, receives a salary of 1,800 lire per month in Turin. Fucito offers him 3.500 lire, plus accommodation. The technician will first have to convince his wife to move to Milan, but eventually he will accept. And when, during the first days of October 1923, Jano went to sign the contract in the presence of Nicola Romeo in person at his villa in Magreglio, Ferrari was present. At the time of signing, Nicola Romeo is clear with his new head-designer, to whom he says:
"Look, I don't expect you to make me the car that beats them all, but I would like one that makes a good impression, that can be a symbol of this factory".
With the positive conclusion of the delicate issue related to the hiring of Jano, Ferrari is free to travel to Paris for the Motor Show, where Alfa Romeo exhibits its models to the attention of a transalpine public increasingly fascinated by Milanese cars. And on his return to Milan he immediately notices that, taking command of the operations, Vittorio Jano, who also takes his right arm from Turin, the young designer Secondo Molino, has established a military discipline at Portello. In the following days, after resting, Ferrari will spend the rest of the months shuttling between Modena and Milan, as always. Laura Garello is instead, as usual in the winter season and despite her marriage, in Santa Margherita Ligure. In winter, also due to the poor health of his wife, Ferrari spent a period of time in Geneva with the Swiss importer of the Milanese House, Albert Schmidt, on behalf of Giorgio Rimini. Switzerland is becoming an important market for the automobile and the Milanese company does not want to miss the opportunity. For this reason, he decided to support the expert Ferrari with the Geneva importer for a few months. Ferrari was at the Alfa Romeo stand on Friday 14 March 1924, the opening day of the Geneva Motor Show, elegant in his usual double-breasted outfit that he usually wears in these circumstances. Two days later, he appeared at the start of the Chilometro Lanciato, one of the fair's main events. His registration for the race, which takes place in a single step on a 2.5 km long straight, is due to commercial rather than sporting reasons: the interest of Alfa Romeo to deploy, in what is little more than an exhibition, one of its official drivers for the exclusive benefit of the public. At the wheel of the same Alfa Romeo RL SS with which he had participated and won his last race in 1923, Ferrari did not betray expectations, establishing the fastest time in the Sport class and the fourth overall. The following week, on Sunday 23 March 1924, still behind the wheel of the proven Alfa RL SS, Ferrari participated in the Coppa Verona, a regularity race enhanced by a final speed test on the Torricelle uphill.
In a race that is in fact little more than a training session in view of the races that matter, Ferrari is ranked second overall, and upon returning to Milan after the Swiss trip, Ferrari finds a surprise: Jano has set up the first unit of the P28 engine. A few weeks later, exactly on Wednesday 9 April 1924, the Head of the Italian Government, Benito Mussolini, travelling from Milan to Rome with his new three-seater Alfa Romeo Spider, stopped in Modena to talk with Senator Antonio Vicini. Wishing to capitalise on the presence of the Head of Government in the area, Vicini invites him to lunch in the college of Sassuolo. Ferrari, official driver of Alfa Romeo, a nationally known Modenese sportsman, is called upon to act as a prestigious tread for Mussolini's car. Guido Corni, an old and glorious Modenese sportsman, sits in Ferrari's car. At the wheel of his Alfa Romeo RL SS, Ferrari paves the way with the confident gaze of a professional driver. It had rained at night and the road was still wet. In order not to lose contact with the fast tread, Mussolini begins to push on the accelerator, even skidding in some corners. So, once they arrived in Sassuolo and thinking about the road that remains to be completed after lunch, some begged Ferrari to proceed in the afternoon at a slower pace. The young Modenese driver did not attend the official lunch, eating breakfast in an adjacent room with Mussolini's personal driver, Ercole Boratto, who would soon become a good racing driver. And in the afternoon he will return aboard his Alfa Romeo, escorting the Duce's car on the roads of the Modenese Apennines. In Pavullo nel Frignano the party stops again because Mussolini wants to go to an inn he had visited some time before on his way to Livorno to face a duel against a journalist. Here Ferrari sees an out-of-programme curtain. The young woman who runs the inn, after recognising the Head of Government, tells him that the local fascists had stolen the autographed photograph that the Duce had left her on the occasion of her first visit.
Mussolini asks the woman to recall the inscription:
"To a kind girl who gave me hospitality and refreshment on a stormy night. With gratitude, Benito Mussolini".
And he signs a new photograph for her. When they arrive at Abetone, the company will separate: Mussolini will continue his journey to Rome, while Ferrari will return to Modena. The Targa Florio is scheduled for Sunday, 27 April 1924. Despite the decision to field as many as four cars, Alfa Romeo calls on Giulio Masetti and Louis Wagner, Antonio Ascari and Giuseppe Campari, effectively excluding Enzo Ferrari, who is called to fill the role of reserve driver. The decision to be present at the Targa Florio on the occasion of the first wedding anniversary certainly does not please Laura. But despite his wife's complaints, Enzo Ferrari still leaves with the rest of the Alfa Romeo team. Arriving in Sicily smiling and generous as always, Ferrari puts himself at the complete disposal of the team and the teammates engaged in the race. Christian Werner, with his Mercedes, wins the Targa Florio. Despite the recent defeat, returning to Milan, Enzo Ferrari asks for permission to deploy the Alfa Romeo cars back from the Targa Florio in the city centre of Modena and obtains it. On the square in front of the Military Academy, a crowd of enthusiasts and onlookers will gather around the cars, on whose bodies the dust and mud collected on the streets of the Madonie will still be visible. Beyond the clear commercial implications, the stop in Modena is a message for his wife and for his fellow citizens, who some time ago had seen him with distrust. Subsequently, on Sunday 25 May 1924, Ferrari also had to return to the Circuito del Savio, since for the second consecutive year it obtained the victory. Before the start of the race, Ferrari is visited by Ascari and Campari, who are on their way to Castellammare Adriatico where, the following week, they will test their Alfa Romeos ahead of the Coppa Acerbo. Ferrari has been chatting with them and with Emilio Materassi for a long time. Despite the natural satisfaction of being an integral part of the elite of the racing world, once Ascari and Campari have left, on the starting line in front of the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ferrari also has time to introduce himself and have a chat with Tazio Nuvolari, one of the emerging drivers mentioned with growing interest. He had watched him in action on a motorcycle the year before right here at the Savio, but the two had not spoken to each other then.
Today, in a phase of his career in which Tazio alternates car races with motorcycle races, the Mantuan participates, at the wheel of a Chiribiri Monza, in the car race. The second edition of the Circuito del Savio starts half an hour late, at 3:00 p.m., and every thirty seconds a pair of drivers starts. Ferrari contested the race with a red Alfa Romeo RL V6 with the number 26 painted on both sides of the hood. Near the hood was painted a white triangle with a green four-leaf clover inside, the same one that had been represented on the victorious Alfa Romeo in the Targa Florio of the previous year, the one driven by Sivocci. The latter was the only one of his teammates to paint this symbol on his Alfa Romeo, probably taken from the aircraft of the aviation pilots of the Great War, citing Francesco Baracca above all. The fate wanted Sivocci to win against Targa Florio, overtaking teammate Ascari on the finish line, who did not have the four-leaf clover painted and who ran out of fuel just two hundred metres from the finish line. Subsequently, the well-wishing logo had not been painted on the car during the tests of the Italian Grand Prix and the entire team, including Rimini, were impressed by the coincidence. Following this particular coincidence, to honour the memory of Sivocci, on the Milanese cars the green clover is now painted on a white triangle with the tip facing upwards, so that the remaining part that would have formed the diamond that originally represented the symbol would have been the tip downwards, which represents the lack or disappearance of Sivocci. With Campari's cousin, Eugenio Siena, at his side as a mechanic, Ferrari aligns himself with his Alfa Romeo alongside Alfieri Maserati's Isotta Fraschini, the most famous of the Maserati brothers who in the meantime founded the workshop renamed after him in Bologna. The two drivers start at the same time. Initially Ferrari limited himself to controlling the situation, trying to keep an eye on the two most dangerous opponents, namely Maserati and Materassi. From the fourth lap onwards, the Modenese driver began to increase his pace and gain ground against Materassi, scoring even the fastest lap.
Meanwhile, the Florentine driver pushes his car more than he should, but this forces him to retire. Following the withdrawal of Materassi, Nuvolari moved into second place. But his 1500-cc Chiribiri certainly cannot challenge the 3000-cc Alfa Romeo driven by Ferrari.
"At the start I hadn't given that skinny guy too much credit, but during the race I realised that he was the only competitor capable of threatening my march".
Among the dozens of people who congratulate him on his new victory, Ferrari is surprised to find Countess Paolina Biancoli Baracca, the mother of the ace of the Great War. Not long after his first victory at the Savio and the meeting with the hero's father in June of the previous year, Enzo Ferrari had been invited to the country villa of Count Enrico Baracca and his wife. Unable to be present in person, this year the Count had asked his wife to represent him; in the year between the day of his first victory at the Savio they had both become attached to the young and courteous man of Modena who had repeatedly found the time to visit them. It is therefore precisely from the hands of the Countess that Ferrari receives the winner's cup. Laura Garello, who no longer tolerates her husband's transfers and work, which she finds senselessly dangerous, does not accompany Enzo to Ravenna. But the following week, Sunday, June 1, 1924, she followed him to Rovigo, where he won in the first edition of the Circuito del Polesine. For the second time in seven days, Ferrari wins leaving Nuvolari behind. Like seven days before, Ferrari was impressed by the driving style and tenacity shown in the race by the driver from Mantua. Always interested in knowing and understanding everything about everyone, after the race he talks to him for a long time. Tazio gestures and Enzo listens in silence, with his typical attentive expression. The following day, Monday, June 2, 1924, the first P2 was finally ready in Milan. For the occasion, Campari is allowed to get in the car first and try it by walking around the factory. Then it is up to Ascari to sit down and try the newborn P2, while Ferrari is in the group with Rimini, Bazzi and Merosi. Two days later, on Wednesday 4 June 1924, the P2 was tested in Monza in a full test session, in which Ferrari had the opportunity to test it. But of course this single test is not enough to make sure that the new Milanese car can duel on the same level with the opposing two-seaters. For this reason, another test session was scheduled for Thursday, 5 June 1924, this time on the hilly roads of Parma and Berceto. The P2 responds adequately to both the track and the road, but the most important piece of evidence missing from the appeal is the competition with its opponents.
Therefore, the decision was made to participate in the race held at the Cremona Circuit, scheduled for Sunday, June 9, 1924. The only P2 model available is entrusted to Antonio Ascari. Mazzi sits next to him, to check the quality of the car. At 152 km/h on average speed, Ascari wins the race, but the impressive figure is the maximum speed scored by the driver on the ten-kilometre straight of the Cremona Circuit, of 192 km/h. Enzo Ferrari is in Cremona with the rest of the team, although he is no longer part of the Grand Prix project as a driver. For this reason, the call for the debut race of the P2, the highly anticipated and prestigious European Grand Prix that would have been held in Lyon on Sunday, August 3, 1924, due to the renunciation of participation by Giulio Masetti, is surprising. The other three drivers will be Ascari, Campari and the Frenchman Wagner, who by racing on his home circuit will be able to help Alfa Romeo on a commercial level. The fact that Giorgio Rimini's choice to entrust Enzo Ferrari with the fourth P2 registered for the European Grand Prix is not wrong is confirmed by the first available race, the Coppa Acerbo, which is held on Sunday, 13 July 1924, and which the young Modenese driver wins, preceding those same Mercedes that three months earlier had beaten the Alfa Romeo at the Targa Florio. Enzo Ferrari is at the wheel of a 1924 3600-cc RL Targa Florio 1924, while the only P2 in the race is entrusted to Campari. At 7:00 a.m., on a warm Sunday in mid-July, with Eugenio Siena by his side once again, Enzo Ferrari is the first to see the starter's yellow flag lowered in front of him. Divided by class according to displacement, the other seventeen cars entered in the race leave the starting line at three-minute intervals. Some coincidences contribute to Ferrari's day of glory, first of all the imperfect condition of the Mercedes that arrived on the Adriatic riviera: that of Count Domenico Antonelli cannot even get off the ground, that of Giulio Masetti is forced to retire before half the race. And then, of course, a big help also comes from the still approximate set-up of the P2 entrusted to Campari.
The Lodi champion makes the first lap in an astonishing time, but then mysteriously disappears. According to the provisions decided with Rimini before the start, Ferrari had to take the step and then give up the position to the P2 of Campari and look behind him. However, in the long straights the Modenese driver does not see Campari. Therefore, after a quick and very sincere exchange of views on board, Ferrari and Siena decide not to wait and keep the pace high. And they made the right choice because Campari stopped with the gearbox out of order. Shortly before, in order not to give the opponents the advantage of knowing it outside the race, Campari hides his P2 in a side street. On a 27-kilometre circuit, not seeing him pass on the starting line, but not even stopping along the way can disorient his opponents for some time. No longer worried about having to give way to Campari, Ferrari continues fast. At the end of the fourth of the ten scheduled laps, the race turns into a distance comparison between Ferrari's Alfa Romeo and the only supercharged two-litre Mercedes left on the track, a car whose natural antagonist was the P2 and not the gracile but reliable RL in Ferrari's hands. The young Modenese driver is in the lead with a couple of minutes of advantage, but Mercedes is technically superior. The duel goes on for three laps, underlined by the roars and applause of the spectators gathered under the summer sun along the way. Ferrari continues to run safely and smoothly. Bonmartini, who despite a stop to change a tyre resists behind him, on the seventh lap is forced to stop to refuel. This allows Ferrari to continue relentlessly until the finish line. Ferrari wins for the third time in the last three races. Although facilitated by the retirements of Campari and Masetti, his race was exceptional: fast in the first part, safe when Bonmartini's Mercedes was coming closer behind him. Spectators invade the road and take the winner and the runner-up in triumph. On the finish line, Ferrari and Bonmartini embrace warmly and, amid general enthusiasm, pose for photographers. Enzo Ferrari receives from the hands of Giacomo Acerbo, undersecretary of state of the Mussolini government and sponsor of the race dedicated to the memory of his brother Tito, the huge cup in which drops of lapis lazuli and malachite are embedded and whose upper edge is framed by the horizontal flight of four silver swallows to embody speed. With the cup he also collects a check for 5.000 lire and a gold medal given to him by the King of Italy.
The young Modenese driver will leave Pescara the same evening, with the unforgettable memory of a day that he will relive for a long time. But for the winner of the Coppa Acerbo there is no time to rest or celebrate. Monday, July 14, 1924, he was in Modena and, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 16, 1924 he departed with the loyal Mr Testi for Lyon. Ascari and Campari had departed two days earlier from Milan Central Station with the afternoon train to Bordeaux. Wagner, who was French, had joined them directly at Lyon station. Together with him, to do the honours, the two drivers had found Count Mario di Carrobbio, Alfa Romeo's representative on French soil. The three drivers personally witnessed the unloading of the P2 registered for the race and the car that acted as a test mule; Ferrari's P2 had not been finished in time and had not started with the others. Then they proceeded to Mademoiselle Lane's villa, their headquarters, where Enzo Ferrari will join them on Wednesday evening. The trip to the European Grand Prix, the first international race in which Alfa Romeo would have participated, can now be said to have begun. The circuit is only four kilometres away from the villa where the Alfa Romeo team is hosted. In the middle of the night on Friday, July 18, 1924, Enzo Ferrari and his three teammates travel in the dark the short distance that separates them from the track. Half an hour in advance of the scheduled time, practice begins at 4:30 a.m., when dawn falls. Four hours of tests are scheduled. Then, at 8:30 a.m., the first day of training will end and the circuit will be reopened to traffic. Given that Ferrari's P2 has not yet arrived from Italy, while Ascari, Campari and Wagner were training at the wheel of their cars, the young Modenese drives the reserve car, on which the same number 19 with which he is entered in the race has been painted. When his turn comes, Ferrari enters the track with Luigi Bazzi by his side. On the pre-tactical level, in Pescara the previous Sunday, Alfa Romeo had kept quiet about the gearbox problems blamed by Campari's P2, but Bazzi does not want to leave anything to chance and wants to have direct feedback. Among the drivers, there is a certain impression of the accident that occurred to Pietro Bordino, who with his Fiat crashes at high speed into a palisade on the side of the road. The driver emerges unscathed from the accident, but the dangerousness of the track, tortuous and rather narrow, emerges in all its evidence.
At certain points of the circuit, the road is so narrow that overtaking is practically impossible unless the drivers perform authentic acrobatics. The fastest Alfa Romeo driver is Campari, immediately followed by Ascari. Ferrari uses the first day mainly to try the more powerful car than usual and get to know the circuit. During the evening the atmosphere in the spacious villa of Mademoiselle Lane on the road from Brignais to Vourles is relaxed. The first feedback from the track is positive. There is only one day left on the circuit, on Tuesday 22 July 1924, but to overcome the limited availability of the race track, the managers of Alfa Romeo and Fiat had agreed to share a long straight not far away on which, in turn, the racing cars of the two manufacturers will speed through. Campari is euphoric: in the morning he has established the best time among the Alfa Romeo drivers and at dinner he celebrates by eating different dishes, prepared by the very capable cook of the villa. Ascari himself, with his face blindfolded due to the jet of boiling steam that was released treacherously from the radiator at the end of the tests, is in a good mood. Only Ferrari seems to be uncomfortable in that cheerful company. Already a long time ago, the young Modenese driver realised that his love for the car led him to save it in the race instead of mistreating it as his teammates manage to do. This feeling will never allow him to make the last leap in quality, the one that separates the great drivers from the champions. The doubt of not being able to be like them has long crept into his mind. And now the power of the P2 has brutally put him in front of the evidence: the risks he could take aboard the car designed by Jano could be for their own sake because he will never be able to live up to Campari and Ascari. Maybe, on second thought, it is time to stop taking risks. Even Masetti's resignation (with unclear contours, some speak of a mysterious illness) fuels Ferrari's distrust of the P2 and the possibility it has been offered. Therefore, after thinking about it briefly, he goes to Rimini and ends his career as a professional driver.
The next day Ferrari gets on the train that takes him back to Italy: first to Milan, then to Modena. He does not tell Rimini that he gives up racing, but only asks to be able to return home earlier than expected: his car is not ready and is already scheduled, before the start for Lyon, his return to Italy to pick it up at Portello and then personally drive it to France. The return would be scheduled for Wednesday 23 or Thursday 24 July 1924, after the second day of practice. He asks Rimini to be able to go back earlier, skipping the second day of testing. Subsequently, on Monday, July 28, 1924, Enzo Ferrari still travels to Milan with Ferruccio Testi to collect his P2 and then continue to Lyon, where a surprise awaits him: the car is not and would not have been ready because it was disassembled to complete that of Giuseppe Campari, who had problems on the second day of testing. Engineer Rimini, who returned to Italy after the last test session, informed him that only three cars would race in Lyon. Ferrari will take on the role of reserve driver. During the evening Ferrari returns to Modena, and the next morning he informs his wife, partly to reassure her given the latest scandals, that he has decided to postpone the start to Thursday or Friday, finding his presence in Lyon useless once he had to appear only as a reserve driver. In Modena, however, he does not lack work, since from the Modena headquarters of the General Agency Emilia and Romagna Automobili Alfa Romeo, Ferrari coordinates the work of five other sub-agencies in Bologna, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara and Faenza. Actually, tensions, thoughts, doubts, memories, fears, anxieties, responsibilities have assumed an intolerable weight. The unavailability of his P2 and the new failure on the field - from rider to reserve - after the unexpected promotion a few weeks earlier, lead him to the final decision: he would not have raced in Lyon, but the emotional dripping would have gone on indefinitely or in any case until Monza, in mid-October. The problem would only be postponed. Instead, it had to be solved. He knew he could not endure another two and a half months in this state. Thus, not knowing what his life will hold, but knowing perfectly what he renounces, he makes a painful but courageous decision. He telegraphs to Giorgio Rimini informing him that he will not return to Lyon.
"I don't feel like it".
After that, Ferrari also leaves Modena to take refuge for a few days in Sestola to rest and reflect. It is in Sestola that Enzo learns from the newspapers of the victory obtained in an incontestable and superlative way by Campari in Lyon.
The Lodi driver's victory in the European Grand Prix, at the end of a race dominated by teammate Ascari, enshrines the Alfa Romeo P2 as the strongest racing car in Europe. Fiat's hegemony has come to an end. Campari and Ascari also visit him in Sestola, on their way back from the glorious day in Lyon. The affection and respect that these champions feel for Ferrari is genuine. Having been surprised by the hasty flight and the missed return, they were eager to see for themselves the state of health of the teammate with whom they have shared the same experiences for four years and with whom they prepared the great international challenge. With a frankness worthy of the sincere friendship that binds them, Ascari says:
"You made a mistake by not coming to Lyon".
But Ferrari is equally honest:
"I can't, I don't feel like it".
At the same time he confirms that his is not a temporary renunciation of his career as a professional driver, but a definitive one. Despite the pause for reflection and the clear emotional breakdown, work cannot wait. The second week of August, Ferrari travels to Milan, to collect some chassis for his dealership. But the visit to Portello is also an opportunity for a necessary and urgent clarification with Rimini. The decision to permanently renounce a prominent racing career was thus taken, communicated and accepted. Ferdinando Minoia replaced him as the fourth driver of the Alfa Romeo team that would have competed in the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in mid-October. The announcement of the appointment as Knight of the Crown following the victory in mid-July at the Coppa Acerbo will help to restore some morale to Ferrari. Before the race, Giacomo Acerbo had obtained from the King the opportunity to nominate the winner of the race named in memory of his brother for the honorary title. Within a few weeks the nomination had been accepted and the award was given. At the age of twenty-six, Enzo Ferrari became one of the youngest Knights of the Kingdom of Italy. On the evening of 29 August 1924, a dozen friends and admirers from Modena organised a dinner at the Hotel San Carlo, in the city centre, to celebrate his appointment as a Knight. It is an evening of cheerfulness and carefree spirit, underlined by an irreverent menu inspired by the world of motorsports and that does not spare even the teammates of the celebrity. At the beginning of September, Ferrari is finally free to concentrate all his energies on his Alfa Romeo dealership in Piazzale Carmine, in Modena, without distractions from competitive activity.
Although in treatment to recover from what was in effect a nervous breakdown, on Sunday, 19 October 1924, Enzo Ferrari appeared in Monza on the occasion of the Italian Grand Prix in the Alfa Romeo garage. Although the driver's activity has in fact ended, Ferrari does not renounce the role of consultant to the sales director, a task that allows him to remain within the automotive world and in company strategies, accumulating experience in entrepreneurial activity. In Monza, Alfa Romeo still triumphs with its P2, this time with Ascari (unfortunate protagonist in Lyon), who wins with a sixteen-minute advantage over teammate Wagner. Campari is third, followed by Minoia in fourth place. The first non-Alfa Romeo driver crosses the finish line one hour late. Ferrari joins the celebrations at the racetrack and, although the situation is no longer the same, he is often in the company of his teammates and Jano, Bazzi, Rimini and Romeo. In the meantime, a bond of mutual esteem and affection has been created between the Count and the Countess Baracca and Ferrari. The Counts never miss the opportunity to invite him to their homes in Lugo Romagna and San Polito, but this time the Countess, who already gave him the winner's cup on the occasion of the second Circuit del Savio, gives something precious to the former Modena driver. Francesco Baracca, like many aviators of the First World War, painted a personal lucky charm on his biplane. It is a black prancing horse, and the Countess, as a gesture of reputation towards Ferrari and of remembrance towards her missing son, suggests to the young Modena man to put his son's prancing horse on his car as a lucky charm.
In addition, Ferrari is given a black and white photo of Francesco Baracca, standing in front of his biplane, with the black prancing horse clearly visible on the side of the plane. The Count and Countess write on the photograph:
"To Sir Knight Enzo Ferrari
the parents of:
Paola and Enrico
Moved by the kind gesture, Ferrari accepts the gift that comes from a gesture of natural kindness. Meanwhile, after the first comforting performances of the P2, Jano is already focused on the design of a medium-sized touring car. With the help of Luigi Fusi, Gioachino Colombo and Secondo Molino, the car that Vittorio Jano conceived is equipped with a six-cylinder, 1500-cc engine. A compromise between a small car, usually a four-cylinder with a one-litre displacement, and the luxury car, built with six cylinders, if not in some cases eight, and with two litres of displacement. The result is a snappy, fast, manoeuvrable car, with an engine that both in the Sport and Super Sport versions takes advantage of the experience gained in the P2 race fields. In April 1925, while the new car was presented at the Milan Motor Show, the 6C 1500, characterised by great commercial success, Ferrari moved the headquarters of his commercial activity, the dealership and the Alfa Romeo workshop, from Piazzale Carmine to number five of Via Emilia Est, with company name Cav. Enzo Ferrari Agente Generale Emilia e Romagna. Meanwhile, Enzo Ferrari meets a young woman, who works at Carrozzeria Orlandi, where he brings Alfa Romeo chassis for his customers. Her name is Lina, and her family are the Lardi degli Aleardi, among the best known in Modena. It was the summer of 1924 when the fourteen-year-old girl, while walking along the side of a road in the Modena Apennines, notices Ferrari for the first time: at the wheel of a car, Enzo Ferrari sees her, slows down and greets her. That girl is a stranger to him, but she immediately recognised Ferrari, who is already quite a famous sportsman in Modena. In 1929, nineteen-year-old Lina was fascinated by Ferrari. She, as she exits the body gate, will bump into him by chance. He, bold, will tell her:
"How did you become so beautiful in such a short time?"
And without hesitation, he will offer to give her a ride to the post office where she is headed. Ferrari, who is also known in Modena for his easy-going life, ignores the obvious age difference and temptations, and she will end up falling in love. This is how their story will begin. The first years will be troubled, with Laura Garello who will be unaware of everything, while Lina's parents will soon learn of Ferrari's interest in her daughter. At first, the young woman's parents will oppose a possible date but Lina, who is in love, will still give herself to Ferrari clandestinely, until the latter manages to convince the young girl's parents of her feelings. Subsequently, Lina Lardi was hired within the Scuderia Ferrari as secretary. She will accompany Ferrari to Milan at the Alfa Romeo headquarters, even three times a week, and on the race fields when the Scuderia Ferrari cars race, while Laura Garello will remain at home with her son Dino. Although Lina Lardi will be out of sight, to the point of disappearing among the people, the drivers, the mechanics, the technicians and the journalists, she will actually take on an indispensable role, because in fact she will always remain at Ferrari's side.