Continental Notes revisited: Ferrari 1953, December 2003

Jenks on Ferrari, ’53

The big question of the past few weeks has been the truth behind the statement issued by Ferrari that his cars will not officially compete anymore. He is giving the Modena race a miss, yet the drivers and organisation do not give any appearance of being perturbed.

Briefly, this can be put down to finance. In the last few years Ferrari has had a monopoly and could ask £1000 per car starting money, and expect to get it. Similarly, it could pick up £1000 in prize money, plus thousands for advertising.

But with Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati joining the fun, Enzo could no doubt see the ending of his years of ease. While he was alone the accessory firms could overlook his bills, but with four or five firms in the game they would have to stop, and starting and prize money would have to be shared. The whole matter boils down to him looking for backing, and it is likely that some wealthy Italian family will finance Ferrari next year.

Mercedes chief Alfred Neubauer was at Monza talking with Ferrari’s drivers, but it is unlikely that Ferrari will wind up. In the 1930s, Alfa announced it would not race any more, but in 1933 the team was racing again under Enzo Ferrari. It is likely that 1954 will see the same result, with some other young Italian taking over the team. — Yours, DSJ