Agnelli, former co-owner of Ferrari and head of Fiat, was a man who knew both the automotive and sporting industries like the back of his hand. Agnelli was remembered by his grandson Lapo Elkann as a true sportsman, and in an interview with Oggi Magazine, he spoke of his grandfather’s love for Formula One and its drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Gilles Villeneuve, and Ayrton Senna.
Agnelli’s love for Ferrari was not limited to its cars but also extended to its success on the track. He was known to have a fondness for drivers who displayed talent and courage, which is why he was a huge fan of Schumacher. Elkann also spoke about Agnelli’s contribution to saving Ferrari from being sold to an American company and how he picked the right people to run the iconic F1 team, including Luca di Montezemolo and Jean Todt.
“His favourite driver was the one who won. I think that’s why he loved Michael Schumacher.
“Then he liked Gilles Villeneuve, his way of driving.
“And Ayrton Senna, who, had he not died so tragically, would have come to Ferrari the following year.
“He loved talent and courage and also recognised them in his opponents. He was a true sportsman.”
According to Elkann, Agnelli had a great appreciation for the finer things in life and believed that taste cannot be bought. He emphasized that it’s not enough to be rich to appreciate beauty. Sadly, Agnelli passed away in 2003, but his family remains heavily involved in the automotive industry.
“He saved the Prancing Horse, preventing it from being sold to the Americans. Then he chose the right people: [former Ferrari chairman] Luca di Montezemolo and Jean Todt.
“He loved Ferrari cars and he loved all the beautiful things in life. It’s not enough to be rich to appreciate beauty. Taste cannot be bought.”
As Ferrari heads into the 2023 F1 season, the team has its sights set on closing the gap to Red Bull. With Monegasque Charles Leclerc and Spanish driver Carlos Sainz leading the charge and new team principal Frederic Vasseur at the helm, Ferrari will be looking to build on their second-place finishes in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2022.