If you sat in a meeting with marketing types and discussed the brand values of Ferrari, one of the words that would pop up immediately is “passion”. The fans of the Italian race team are called the tifosi, a word that derives from the typhus fever. The implication is that the fans are feverish in their passion for the red team. Whatever the case, all Italians seem to be Ferrari fans.
I met one last night at the opening event of the Wrooom week in Madonna di Campiglio. It was an agreeable buffet dinner in the Hofer Hall of the Grand Hotel Des Alpes, where once the Habsburg emperors used to pass their winter months. It was a chance to catch up with F1 pals after six weeks apart and to meet some of the locals.
This is what I love most about F1 because you never know who you are going to meet next, and a lot of them seem to be unusual people. Last night it was the Marquese Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga, a delightful Italian aristocrat who speaks English like an Englishman and makes very fine wines at his Tenuta San Leonardo vineyard, near Verona. Like all Italians he is a big Ferrari fan and gets to visit a few races each year, thanks to the fact that he is married to the daughter of the boss of Pirelli.In the course of the evening news broke that one of Ferrari’s biggest fans – its head of communications Luca Colajanni – is to move on from his job to take over running the company’s communication for Europe and the Middle East, which in Ferrari terms also includes India. It is a big job for Luca who is a man who, as the saying goes, you could break in half like a stick of rock and find the Ferrari Prancing Horse logo running right through him. He has been with the team since 2000 and has been head of communications for 11 years. We didn’t always agree on things and had a few interesting times during the 2007 fight between McLaren and Ferrari, when he took to referring to DT and I as “the second McLaren press office” because we dared to believe the McLaren story rather than the Ferrari version of the same events, but we got over that and a couple of years ago he was kind enough to give us the chance to promote the Ferrari California by driving one from Budapest to Maranello after the Hungarian GP. I have a lot of respect for the job he has done, for the depth of his knowledge and above all for his complete passion for Ferrari. Luca, ciao e grazie.
The job will now be taken over by Renato Bisignani, who was previously the Business Development Manager of Ferrari, having joined the team from Renault F1 Team in March 2010, where he spent nearly five years in the commercial department.