The founder of the mythical brand said that phrase after his pilot Froilán González achieved the first triumph of the team in F1
Enzo Ferrari was always a man of strong definitions, perhaps a direct consequence of a hardened character from that youth through the First World War. But of all the phrases and concepts that are known to him, that of July 14, 1951 is undoubtedly the most emotional and revealing.
A tragedy had not occurred, but quite the opposite: the “Il Commendatore” team, as they called it, had just achieved the first victory in the Drivers’ World Championship, which was later made official by the FIA (International Automobile Federation) as the beginning of Formula 1.
Just over a year passed from the start of that Championship, on May 13, 1950, until Ferrari’s first triumph.. Then the greatest myth of Formula 1 was born and the majestic architect of that achievement was the Argentine José Froilán González, “el Cabezón”, as they nicknamed him. The driver from Reef crossed the finish line of the Silverstone circuit, in England, in front of his friend Juan Manuel Fangio, who was chasing him aboard an Alfa Romeo 159.
Alfa Romeo, at that time, was the dominant brand in European competition, had become the maximum symbol of sportsmanship and had just crowned his career with the first great title: in 1950, he consecrated the Italian Giuseppe Farina, teammate of Juan Manuel Fangio, as World Champion. Although for Enzo Ferrari, Alfa was like his mother.
Enzo Ferrari was always clear that his future was in motorsports
It was not exactly a feeling of full joy that Ferrari experienced on the day of the first victory, but rather that there was pain in the tears that Don Enzo shed: the one who had taught him everything in the world of motorsports had won. He had brought Alfa to his knees to start the myth, and Ferrari knew that.
“When in 1951 José Froilán González at Ferrari, for the first time in the history of our direct confrontations, left behind the Alfa Romeo 159 and the entire Alfa team, I cried with joy, but mixed tears of enthusiasm with tears of pain because that day I thought: I killed my mother, “Il Commendatore later said.
Enzo Ferrari was always clear that his future lay in motorsports. As a young man, he had to drop out of a mechanical engineering school at the start of the First World War, but that did not intimidate him. Nor did she succumb to the early loss of her son Dino to typhoid fever. and, within a short time, from his father.
After military service, and with the family business bankrupt, he decided to go directly to Turin, the mecca of motorsport in those days, to begin to forge his future. Fiat gave him another painful setback by denying him a job application. He got his first job sometime later in Milan, and with those first salaries he bought an Alfa Romeo to race in competitions that did not stop spreading throughout Italy.
It was the beginning of a close relationship, almost tailored for one another. The young Enzo quickly stood out on board his Alfa in a traditional competition of the time, the Targa-Florio, and this opened the doors to the official team of the brand. There, in addition to being a pilot, he was a salesman and even a racing car technician.
Ferrari fulfilled the dream of founding its own team in 1929, while still working for Alfa Romeo. Furthermore, during the first years “Scuderia Ferrari” functioned as an appendage of Alfa, from whom it received support in exchange for technical support. His first creation was the Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta, a model that made him head of the competition department of the Milan firm.
Enzo Ferrari said that beating Alfa Romeo, the firm that gave him the first chance, was like “killing” his mother
Enzo made Ferrari great thanks to the support he always got from Alfa Romeo. Due to the birth of his son, Dino, he decided to leave, although he continued to collaborate with the development of some models.. He was only permanently retired in 1939, due to disagreements with the general director of Alfa Romeo, Ugo Gobbato.
That break with his mother brand prompted Enzo Ferrari to form a team that could beat the maximum automotive references of the time. He was not a friend of Don Enzo’s petty challenges. And so he scored Scuderia Ferrari in the first Championship of 1950. The victory did not come that year, but it did come in 1951 at the hands of Froilán González in the fifth race of that season.
The driver from Reef ran 26 Grands Prix in nine Formula 1 seasons (1950 to 1957 and 1960) and achieved two victories at the legendary Silverstone: one was that of July 14 with Ferrari, the first personal and brand. And he repeated three years later. He is one of the three Ferrari drivers to do a double at that track, along with Alberto Ascari and Michael Schumacher (the German won three).
That triumphant baptism at Silverstone was just the embryo of what would come next: Ferrari became the Formula 1 team with the most victories (238), the most drivers ‘(15) and manufacturers’ (16) championships. The myth was born. Although for Enzo Ferrari it has been a crime to have defeated his beloved Alfa Romeo.
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