Book Review: Enzo Ferrari (Richard Williams)


Richard Williams’s autobiography “Enzo Ferrari: A Life” offers countless anecdotes and a stream of rarely-explained information to the reader. The books covers his birth in 1898, early life and career, the relationship with his family – particularly his son Dino – and co-workers, the successes and failings of Scuderia Ferrari and includes many short biographies on the drivers who came to work for the Italian marquee, too many of them experiencing their final moments in the Rossa Corsa-coloured stallions.

Williams’s 300-odd page journey will enlighten the most informed Formula One fan, its colourful tails bringing the personality of the famous Italian manufacturer to life. The reader soon understands Enzo’s outlook on motor-racing and the book doesn’t shy away from explaining Ferrari’s self-centred attitudes, some of which may be argued to still exist in motorsport today.

The book has no major flaws. That is, nothing that stands out as plain obvious. Its shortcomings are in the small details and sometimes the challenge of following the many Italian names that operated the high-level actions within the Scuderia force the reader to read a page or two again.

We’re rarely brought into the workings of Ferrari. The reader very much observes the actions of Ferrari from a glass window, stepped back many metres from the man himself. We watch and we understand what is happening in Modena and then Maranello, but the stories sometimes lack personality.

The book is printed wonderfully and the artwork on the front and rear really make it an attractive novel.

I was very much looking forward to reading Enzo Ferrari: A Life. For the most part, the novel explains in great detail the life of Enzo Ferrari. My knowledge of the man has gone up tenfold since picking up the book, though I must admit I knew very little of him to start with. I would recommend the novel for anybody who is looking to gain detailed insight into Enzo’s life and who also has a lot of time to read. This is not a quick, flick-through-the-pages autobiography and will take you time to understand each and every detail presented in the text.


The following quote does not contain information on Enzo Ferrari himself, but does highlight the delightful amount of detail placed into the novel.

Taruffi, who was not given a drive, watched the race and marvelled at the intensity of the struggle, which raged without respite for ninety-nine laps and three hours, the bitterness of the rivaliry undiminished by the cordiality that always existed between the two men. Certainly it was exacerbated, as such rivalries always are, by the contrast between them. Varzi, the younger by ten years, had a stern face and eyes that seemed to be looking inwards, towards the dark secrets of the soul. He raced in beautifully tailored white overalls and a white leather helmet. His hair was immaculately parted and brushed flat on his skull. Nuvolari, by contrast, seemed full of colour and humour and expression, his blue helmet, yellow shirt, blue trousers and yellow shoelaces – yellow was his lucky colour.


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