The idea of a Ferrari design chief, just a few years ago would seem like something absurd. Since the 1950s, the name Pininfarina, the iconic Italian company had been responsible for designing Ferrari’s. But as times have changed, so has the relationship between the companies, and with Fiat bosses thinking more about integrating Ferrari and Maserati into a brand system with Fiat and Lancia, Ferrari design now means something new. In 2010 Ferrari appointed Fabio Manzoni as their Design Chief, after Frank Stephenson and Donato Coco, the position highlights the company’s decision for a more hands-on approach to design.
Since starting work in Ferrari in January 2010, Manzoni has already set the standard high and his achievements during his short tenure are of note. Ferrari’s new F12 Berlinetta, which replaces the 599 GTB Fiorano coupe has been hailed by the Italian company as one of their most important and is Manzoni’s first car as a leader of Ferrari’s internal design studio. The Berlinetta which is the most powerful road car made by the automaker is setting the benchmark for a whole new generation of 12 cylinder Ferrari’s. Designed in conjunction with Pininfarina and of course Ferrari’s design department led by Manzoni, the F12 Berlinetta has a startling 740-horsepower that propel the car from 0-62 mph in just 3.1 seconds. But it doesn’t end just at performance, with reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the vehicle is more sustainable.
In an interview with Jan Baedeker for Classic Driver, Manzoni alludes to the progression to a more sustainable car for Ferrari’s future: ” Already today, performance means something different from in the past. It used to be all about maximum speed, maximum acceleration; now the demand is much more complex, and we give much thought to lightweight materials. The Ferrari of the future needs to be a hypercar – hyper-technological, hyper-ecological and hyper-fast, all at the same time. This is the balance we have to find.” Manzoni, furthermore, claims that although he loves his job there is plenty of responsibility in trying to keep making Ferrari’s that carry the same language and beauty that the vehicles are known for.
Born in Sardiania, Italy Manzoni is not new to the automotive as well as design worlds. Holding a degree in architecture from the University of Florence with an specialization in Industrial design, he began his successful career with Italian automaker Lancia in 1993. After spending three years working with Seat, Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary in Barcelona, he returned to Lancia as its chief of styling center before moving on to become head of Fiat, Lancia and Fiat LCV styling centers. Following Walter de’ Silva, the VW and Audi designer, Mr. Manzoni moved to Audi in 2006 and then later to VW, where he worked on the new Scirocco, current Golf before moving on to Ferrari.
What do you think about Favio Manzoni and his work at Ferrari?