At Ferrari, a chip trainer to tame the Testa Rossa

Lhis plan to convert thermal cars to electric is nearing completion. By ostensibly rallying to the watts, Ferrari itself gives in to this new religion which, however, will not immediately crush the sumptuous Italian mechanics which will survive for some time to come. At least for countries that do not give in to the ecological inquisition. But while he is about to celebrate his 75e anniversary, the Italian sports car manufacturer turns a page heavy with meaning by unveiling a whole new organization of its governing bodies.

At the head of these, not a brilliant motor, not a specialist in chassis or even an aerodynamicist but a trainer of learned chips. Cylinders, pistons, crankshafts and other overhead camshafts will soon be gone, for the grantee probably has no idea what it all represents. We pinch each other, but at the head of the dispensary which, let us remember, sells some ten thousand thoroughbreds good or bad, it is an expert in electronic chips who takes the reins of these watted horses.

“We want to push the boundaries in all areas by harnessing technology in a unique way,” said its new CEO, Benedetto Vigna. He took the wheel of the group last September, succeeding John Elkann who had acted as interim after the resignation of Louis Camilleri in December 2020.

One of his missions is to complete Ferrari’s electric turnaround. “We will have our first fully electric car in 2025”, after starting the electrification of models two years ago, he confirmed in November. The aim is to reorient innovation and product development and to “focus on achieving carbon neutrality by 2030”.

Thermal brains to grab

Among the first steps Vigna has taken is a Ferrari management reshuffle, announced in December, which has resulted in the departure of three managers, including CTO Michael Leiters.

The “product development and research and development”, “digital and data” and “technology and infrastructure” divisions will now report directly to the CEO, Ferrari said. The only survivor at this level of management, Gianmaria Fulgenzi, at Ferrari since 2002 and former head of the supply chain of its racing division, has been appointed to the post of product development manager.

On the other hand, Ernesto Lasalandra was poached at STMicroelectronics, the Franco-Italian manufacturer of electronic components where Benedetto Vigna had also worked, to become director of research and development of Ferrari. Davide Abate, with Ferrari since 2012, has been appointed Head of Technologies and Infrastructures.

Ferrari, which turns 75 this year, posted record orders and double-digit delivery growth in the third quarter, prompting it to raise its guidance for the full year.

The prestigious prancing horse brand delivered a total of 2,750 racing cars worldwide between July and September, up 18.9% compared to the same period of 2020 and 11.2% compared to 2019, before the pandemic of coronavirus. Petrol cars for the most part, the first significantly electrified car, the SF90, being confined to the plug-in hybrid.

In the world of supercars, Bugatti has also declared its intention to launch a revolutionary electric vehicle while the more traditional brands are also moving towards a share of hybridization on their future models. At Ferrari, this profound questioning will be carried out through a genre that the brand had never approached, an SUV called « Purosangue » offering for the first time a Ferrari with four doors.

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