Sunday, November 20, 2011

CAR interviews Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa (2011)

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CAR interviews Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa (2011)

By Phil McNamara
Motor Industry
11 October 2011 10:28
This week CAR is publishing a string of interviews with Ferrari management. Today we speak to Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa, a trained engineer who now runs Ferrari day-to-day. CAR’s October 2011 issue – on sale now – contains a VIP tour of Ferrari and interviews with the company’s top brass: president di Montezemolo, Ferrari CEO and engineer Amedeo Felisa and design chief Flavio Manzoni.
We covered so many fascinating topics that some great material could have finished up on the cutting room floor. Instead we’ll publish the full transcripts of the interviews this week. Read on for the full conversation with Felisa, and for the pictures of our access all areas visit, pick up the October issue of CAR (free digital preview here).

CAR: What did you make of the recent British tests pitching the 458 Italia against the McLaren 12C?

Amedeo Felisa: ‘We have very good results especially because it was UK journalists, we were expecting some comment veering in the direction of the McLaren. We were surprised.’

Do you really think the British media lack objectivity?

‘Well, only you British can find a certain level of performance in Aston Martins!’

Ferrari recently commissioned 50 design schools from around the world to design the hypercar of 2025. What did you make of the results?

‘This was the second time Ferrari has done such a competition. Last time the brief was more general and we got [a wide-ranging] perception of Ferrari from young people: some were speaking of F1 cars, some sedans, GT and so on. Perhaps our brief was too specific this time. We asked creative people: ‘think of the Ferrari [hypercar] 20 years from now’. It’s interesting to get the mind of people who are not connected [with Ferrari], what they think of the future for this special brand. The young often speak of green cars, for example.’

What other trends did you see?

‘The students concentrated on hyper technological performance cars. That’s probably the area where we have enough information and ideas!’

Ferrari has just launched the 458 Spider at Frankfurt. What can we expect from this car?

‘The 458 Spider is different to the 430 Spider, it has a rigid hard top. We decided several years ago that the Spider’s future was in that direction. Now it’s easier to make the development of the rigid hard top that in the past was really difficult; the technology is now in the hands of the designers. The problem in the past was the investment, the cost, due to the different linkage between the top and the body was very difficult, it needed lots of tests and tooling to prepare that. Now with new technology and our suppliers, we can do it. The top is totally is different from the California’s: it’s not as complex and the 458 Spider’s is two piece. Easier to move, quicker to open and close, and [needs less] space. I think it’s the first Spider with a rigid hard top [on a mid/rear engined car].’

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