Wednesday, November 30, 2022

F1: Mauro Forghieri, Distinguished Ferrari Designer Dies at 87

As this tall, lanky Bespectacled Engineer was responsible for much of Ferrari’s Glory…


What more can I say to sum up the remarkable career of the late Mauro forghieri, who took the Chequered Flag on November 2nd. Besides The Guardian’s Obituary noting His being the last Man to be capable of designing World Championship winning racecars from Chassis and Suspension, to Engine and Gearbox.


Most notably, Mauro’s known for leading John surtees, (1964) Niki Lauda (1975, 1977) and Jody Scheckter (1979) to their Formula 1 World Championships for Scuderia Ferrari.


Along with Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Carlos Reutemann and Gilles Villeneuve winning Grands Prix behind the wheels of His Ferrari F1 Chassis. In total winning 54 Grands Prix, four Drivers and seven Constructors F1 Championships.



Forghieri was also responsible for two of my All-time favourite Ferrari racecars, the Ferrari 312T2 and 512M. As reportedly, the Scuderia’s 312T for it’s Transverses Gearbox was the most successful F1 chassis, garnering an impressive 27 wins! And I was fortunate enough to see the 1975 312T’s of both Lauda and Regazzoni in action during the 1994 Monterey Historics.


And while I should be impressed over Mauro’s Monoposto F1 Designs beginning with the 158, to being the first to introduce a rear wing onto a Formula 1 chassis in 1968. Along with creating the stellar 312T series to His final creation, la Scuderia’s first turbocharged 126C chassis. I’m also suitably impressed with His Sports Car CV.


Reportedly Mauro began by redesigning the suspension on the most evocative 250 GTO, before being responsible for the 250P, Ferrari’s first rear engine Sports Car Prototype that won the 1963 24 Heurs du Mans. Followed by the 275P taking a 1-2-3 Sweep the following year. Along with ultimately la Scuderia’s final Le Mans triumph to date, the 1965 race with the controversial 250LM, albeit in the hands of Ferrari’s North American “Customer” team…


As forghieri was responsible for All of la Scuderia’s Sports Cars from 1963 to 1973, i.e.; 250P, 275P, 330P, 512M and 312P and other variants.


As Mauro’s Sports Cars won Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the famous Targa florio to begin with, along with countless other Sports Car races. As reportedly His favourite Sports Car was the 330P3/4 which fought a losing battle vs. Ford’s All Conquering Ford GT40’s!


Mauro was born on January 13, 1935 in Modena, Emilia-Romagna Italy and went onto earn a Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of Bologna. Although interestingly, Airplanes were His first passion and He’d originally planned to take up a career working for the U.S. Northrup Aircraft company instead.


Yet Enzo Ferrari who’d kept track of Him, with Mauro’s father being a Ferrari employee, Hired the young Forghieri in 1960 as an Apprentice working in the Engine Shop. And the rest as they say was History.


At Age 26, Mauro was unexpectedly promoted to Chief Designer and Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari following the Great Walkout of 1961. When Ferrari’s top eight Engineers were summarily fired by Il Commendatore, nee Enzo Ferrari following a Heated dispute over the previous firing of la Scuderia’s Production Manager.


Thus led by previous Technical Director Carlo Chiti, these men along with Ferrari F1 World Champion Phil Hill created the rival ATS Formula 1 team which failed due to miserable results in 1963…


Yet Ferrari weathered the storm, along with Forghieri leading la Scuderia to it’s 1964 F1 World championship.


Following the arrival of Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite at Ferrari in 1981, Forghieri was essentially pushed out of His leadership role at la Scuderia, albeit spending the next few years designing the Ferrari 408 Prototype Road Car, before leaving Ferrari entirely.


As I tend to recall from a long ago Sports Car Illustrated magazine, the 408 was a study by Ferrari upon how to bond Carbon Fibre to an Aluminum/Steel car’s chassis…


Mauro’s services were then snapped up by rival Italian Automobile Manufacturer Lamborghini, now owned by Crysler in 1987. Being commissioned to build a 3.5-litre normally aspirated V-12 Formula 1 engine, which was raced by Larrousse, Ligier, Lotus, Minardi and the Stillborn Modena F1 Team with fairly unimpressive results. As I believe the Lambo’s weakness was it’s thirstiness for petrol.


Although Aguri-san’, aka Aguri Suzuki scored Lamborghini’s lone F1 Podium when becoming the first Japanese Driver to stand atop the podium. Appropriately finishing third at the controversial 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.



Yet upon revisiting the Chrysler-Lamborghini connection, it triggered my memory into recalling that McLaren had tested a “Mule” version of it’s 1993 chassis, known as the MP4/8B, which Ayrton Senna was said to be most impressed with! Especially the Lambo’s superior Horsepower over the customer Ford HB V-8 the team was utilizing that  season.


Unfortunately thee Ronster’, aka Ron Dennis opted for the vastly inferior Peugeot V-10 lump’ for ’94 instead, and Crysler then killed it’s F1 involvment.


Next Mauro who would only work in His Hometown of Modena, went to work for the revitalized Bugatti concern, where He worked upon the EB110 Supercar, before creating His own Design company, along with remodeling His 18th century villa.


As ironically, Mauro Forghieri passed away following the public unveiling of la Scuderia’s first factory Prototype, the 499P, which will make it’s Competizione debut 50 years after Forghieri’s 312P was raced by Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti…