‘Second is the first of the losers’: Enzo Ferrari  

Think Formula One and you think of legends like Fernando Alonso, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher. The common thread that binds these drivers is Ferrari.

There are probably just a handful of people (motor enthusiasts or not) in the world today who wouldn’t have heard of Ferrari. The luxury car and the motor racing team is the dream of many and the man behind it all was Enzo Anselmo Ferrari, whose vision changed the world of cars, motor sports and ultimately, many a life.

Born on February 18, 1898 in Modena, Italy, Ferrari had dreamt of racing from the age of 10. But he entered the world of motor racing only at the age of 20. During his stint at Alfa Romeo as a mechanic/racer, Ferrari experimented with various designs and ultimately, founded the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, one of the most popular teams today in the sport. He also went on to create the Ferrari automobile marque.

Witty and arrogant, Ferrari was aggressively competitive and believed that competition always brought out the best in people. In fact, he was known to pit his drivers against one another and create little mind games that would create a sense of fear and as a result, bring out the best in them.

Ferrari was known for his sharp tongue as much as his cars and though he rarely gave interviews to the media, many of his quotes are popular till date. On the occasion of his 119th birth anniversary, let’s take a look at some of his most quotable quotes.

Enzo Ferrari in the 1920s. Photo credit: www.grandprixhistory.com


“Race cars are neither beautiful nor ugly. They become beautiful when they win.”

“I don’t sell cars; I sell engines. The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines in.”

“The client is not always right.”

Enzo Ferrari speaks with reporters during the 1967 Italian Grand Prix.

“I have never gone on a real trip, never taken a holiday. The best holiday for me is spent in my workshops when nearly everybody else is on vacation.”


“I build engines and attach wheels to them.”


“Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.”

“I have yet to meet anyone quite so stubborn as myself and animated by this overpowering passion that leaves me no time for thought or anything else. I have, in fact, no interest in life outside racing cars.”


“The Ferrari is a dream—people dream of owning this special vehicle and for most people it will remain a dream apart from those lucky few.”


“What’s behind you doesn’t matter.”

Enzo Ferrari and Gilles Villeneuve. Photo credit: www.grandprixhistory.org

“One must keep working continuously; otherwise, one thinks of death.”


“No one remembers who took the second place and that will never be me.”


“Second is the first of the losers.”


“Everyone dreams of driving a Ferrari, it was my intent from the start.”


“You stick to building tractors and I will stick to building sports cars.” (to Ferruccio Lamborghini)


“The fact is I don’t drive just to get from A to B. I enjoy feeling the car’s reactions, becoming part of it.”


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