Graduating with a law degree from the University of Rome, Montezemolo continued his studies in International Law at Columbia University in New York. He joined Ferrari, part of the conglomerate Fiat S.p.a., in 1973 to work closely with its visionary founder, Enzo Ferrari. Montezemolo would soon become manager of Scuderia Ferrari, the company’s racing team. There was no job more important within the company.
To Signore Ferrari, winning was the purpose of his company. Building road cars was necessary to fund the racing effort.
By 1975, with Montezemolo running the team, Ferrari was again at the top of Formula 1, winning World Championships in 1975 and ’77. Sales of road-going Ferraris began to rise supporting the racing effort. The reward? Montezemolo was given a sequence of increasingly important roles within the Fiat organization.
With Mr. Ferrari’s passing in 1988, the company began a slow decline. Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli responded, appointing Montezemolo president and chairman of Ferrari in 1991. Realizing that Ferrari’s prominence in Formula 1 must be restored in order to support sales, the challenge was clear. Without success in racing, Ferrari was vulnerable. Without new car sales, Ferrari racing was in trouble.
Under his guidance, new technologies developed on the track led to stunning new road cars while powering Ferrari to eight Formula 1 Constructor’s World Championships between 1999 and 2008. Demand for these new Ferrari road cars was fueled by Formula 1 success while the allure of limited availability, hand-built special vehicles like the F50, Enzo and 599 GTB further increased Ferrari brand cachet.
The best example of the successful fusion of beauty, technology, performance and rarity is Montezemolo’s triumphant finale, the LaFerrari. This remarkable accomplishment boasts the most extreme performance ever achieved by a Ferrari production car and features the most advanced and innovative technical solutions which will, in the future, filter down to rest of the Ferrari range.
Upon hearing the news he had been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, Montezemolo announced he would dedicate his award to his friend, Michael Schumacher. The seven-time world champion, who won an unprecedented five consecutive titles with Ferrari. Montezemolo indicated that he likely never would have received induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame without the indomitable spirit, brilliant intellect, and unique driving skills of Schumacher, who won 91 Grand Prix’s, including 72 victories for Ferrari.I would like to dedicate, he said, the award to the wonderful and competent people with whom I worked in Maranello, sharing the enthusiasm, the affection and the passion we all hold for racing.
However, at this time, as everyone will understand, I want to specifically “dedicate it to Michael who is fighting his hardest race.”