Superbrands Ferrari and Apple come face-to-face
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Apr 2012   |  5:03 pm GMT  |  116 comments

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo this week sat down with the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, for a two-hour meeting during a visit to the world famous Stanford University in California, where he was giving a lecture to students.

The heads of two of the world’s most truly global brands came together for a lengthy discussion to chew the fat on their respective company’s ideas and visions, as well as sharing insight on strategy and management styles.

Although the industries of racing and car production and consumer electronics and computers might seem far apart in many aspects, Montezemolo – who also met the heads of Google at the conference which took place in the heart of the biggest market for Ferrari’s road cars – found Ferrari and Apple shared several core values including “attention to the brand, exclusivity, attention to the people, attention to the environment”.

The Italian shared details of his discussion with Cook during the course of his talk to the audience of 600 students and afterwards said: ”I was impressed by his availability and openness. We’re building cars, they build computers. But Apple and Ferrari are connected by the same passion, the same love for the product, maniacal attention to technology, but also to design.”

Interestingly, Montezemolo also drew a parallel between the role he played in transforming Ferrari’s fortunes on his return to Maranello in 1991 on both the race track and in the road car division with that of Apple’s Steve Jobs, the company’s revered co-founder who died last year.

In 1997, the year Jobs rejoined the company, Apple’s shares were worth just $3.19. The subsequent success of its computers, phones and tablets over the next 15 years meant its shares recently hit $644, with the company now the world’s most valuable. Montezemolo paid fulsome tribute during his speech: “When you’ve got a leader in a company like Steve Jobs, people have big respect and big gratitude for what he’s done.”

He was said to have gleaned an insight into Apple’s methods and goals and, according to Wired magazine, added in his talk to the students on his own management style and ethos: “Vision is something crucial for your people.” Give them clear goals, clear priorities and give everyone the possibility to grow up [internally].”

The meeting was described by Ferrari as “friendly”, as opposed to having any specific business agenda, although the discussion between Montezemolo and Cook is nonetheless bound to create some excitement in both industries.

Montezemolo’s chief F1 concern at the moment remains ensuring the team gets back to a more competitive level, Stefano Domenicali having revealed earlier this week that the president was “studying at first hand” the on-going process of changing the working practices and operations at Maranello.

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To all the Ferrari detractors (especially Lemons) – here is the bottom line: If Mclaren [mod] left F1, the sport would go on and within a year or two they wouldn’t be missed at all. If Ferrari left F1, the sport would die with them…there and then. F1 IS Ferrari..when are all these [mod] that criticise them going to realise they only have the sport because 90% of the world wants to see a scarlet Ferrari win!


Thanks. Are you the Horse Whisperer?!!


It’s funny how this article has nothing to do with McLaren and yet it quickly breaks down to Maranello vs Woking. The simple truth of the matter is that Ferrari are the most valuable racing team in motorsport and without question the sport’s biggest brand. For Apple to be associated with Ferrari is only natural. I’m not here to say anything negative about McLaren but if Stanford University wanted Ron Dennis to speak, he would have been extended an invitation. Dennis was never considered. Any parallels claiming McLaren are cutting edge like Apple are false. Ferrari set the design, innovation and manufacturing standards for a decade in F1. Now Red Bull have assumed that mantle and Ferrari, McLaren and all the rest are trying to catch up.


I was at the talk he gave at Stanford, and I was impressed by how friendly and excited to meet the students he was. He asked every single one where they were from because he was genuinely interested.

The best part of the talk were his thoughts on German cars, something along the line of…

‘I have a lot of respect for German engineering and cars. They work perfectly every time and do exactly the job they were designed to do. So basically like a freezer.’


A very strong point, well thought out. Thank you for sharing. Anyone who thinks or thinks they do, think out of the now 3D box, would enjoy these guys. Hope you all liked the think sequence.


As a few have suggested, one can’t help feeling that Ron Dennis would have been much more Steve Jobs’ type of collaborator. Given all that I’ve read about both, and, for example, the fanatical attention to detail Jobs bestowed on his retail outlets (obsessively designing and patenting the glass stairways found in most Apple Stores himself) with precisely the same kind of input Dennis injected into the design of Norman Foster’s Paragon, one could easily imagine them walking and discussing such matter earnestly for hours…

Jobs and LDM? Nah, I don’t see it at all…


It’s funny really.

Whenever you recruit people, whether to a work place or a business, you never hire people that have the same skill set as yourself.

You need other skills in other people that compliment your weaknesses.

Jobs and Dennis may both be hyper obsessive about their respective businesses, but I could never imagine 2 people like that working together.

Norman Foster would have allowed any input from Dennis to be included because ultimately Dennis was his boss, but I have read enough about Dennis to know he wouldn’t have told him how to do his job.


A whole load of corporate guff for me.

I particularly liked Montezemolo’s line that Ferrari’s core values include “attention to the environment”. I literally cannot think of a business activity that does more harm to the environment than flying two cars and a 100 or so people half way round the world to race round a track. I am not sure the environment really wants the kind of attention they are getting from Ferrari.


Exclusivity and attention to the people. These are opposed terms, aren’t they?!


Apple and Maclaren yes. Ferrari.pfff.Looks like LDM is just out boosting image. Maclaren pioneered CF chasis in both F1 and road car. Brake steering, f duct, etc, , even williams with active suspenson. Personally Mclaren F1 is as good looking as any Ferrari. Saw friends 438 the other day and looks real average. 458 much nicer but dials everywhere-ridiculous!.


Prepare for an addition to the iPad color selection: racing red with Ferrari logo.

and the new Schuberth helmet with integrated iPod.

not to mention the pit light system controlled by Macintosh.


Apple will never sponsor an F1 Team and they wont have their logo on any cars. Ferrari have a partnership with Acer and they are supplied with Windows Acer laptops as far as i know. They also sell Acer Ferrari branded laptops with Microsoft Windows.

If anything id imagine Apple would be interested in getting involved in supplying Ferrari with Apple computers like Macbooks and iPads.

Still an interesting meeting or two giants.


Are you by any chance on the board of Apple?

How can you say Apple will not get involved in F1? Where do you get this information?


I wish i was! Apple is incredibly protective of its brand and image. It has never allowed its logo to be displayed on anything other than an Apple advertisement. After all it doesnt need to does it?

There will never be an apple logo on an f1 car or a ferrari branded macbook. Its more behind the scenes and maybe Apple looking to power the Ferrari software on Apple my opinion


You can bet that if Apple is involved in F-1 in any capacity, whether just a sponsor, or technology wise, they will have their logo on the car. What would be the reason to do so if not to advertise? I have an apple logo on my car, and Apple doesn’t even pay me for it. As much as their products are apparently overprice, they do have value. Never had a bluescreen, freeze, or crash of any kind on my Macbook.


“It has never allowed its logo to be displayed on anything other than an Apple advertisement.”

No, they give out free apple stickers with their products for you to stick everywhere, like your own car for example.


A bit presumptuous of him. Three-car Monte couldn’t even carry Steve Jobs’ lunch.


Just as Becken said, one can clearly see McLaren are more comparable to Apple than Ferrari. Sure Ferrari has the history and passion but take a look at McLarens’ work ethic, design and attention to detail and not to mention Ron Dennis’ tough leadership, you will have to say that Mclaren are the Apple of the Formula One world.


Steve Jobs actually said that he thought the original Macintosh should be more like a Porsche when someone mentioned Ferrari during a design meeting.


Dear James,

About 15 years ago, when there was huge rumour that MS (in this case Microsoft, and if in racing terms always Michael Schumacher)may buy over Apple today, when Apple sits on cash close to US$100 billion, is indeed a great journey. So from an icon in technology to an icon in automobile, it will be interesting to see what kind of colloboration would come about.

Ferrari though iconic is struggling in the difficult enviornment of Italy.


Ferrari posted their highest revenue last year, Italy maybe struggling but not Ferrari.


It made me chuckle to think of the shared value of “exclusivity”. Yes, Ferrari are exclusive due to their cost (some would argue on quality and performance as well but I wouldn’t). How “exclusive” are Apple products. I hate the things yet we have four of their products in our household – and I am made to feel like I am the only person left on the planet who doesn’t own an iPhone. So I can’t see that as an Apple value. Quite the opposite.

It would be interesting to hear from Ferrari employees to see if LDM’s “vision” is known, understood and shared by all or whether he is just spouting hot air to look good in front of a packed auditorium and the big wigs from Apple and Google.


I use Apple products and have read and seen articles about Jobs and the company.

I don’t think the “exclusive” is meant to mean rare.

I believe it refers to their products only being available through Apple.

Apple ipods, ipads, iphones, and Mac’s are all manufactured by Apple. They do not sell their license to anybody else.

Go to any PC re-seller and you’ll find PC’s and laptop’s all manufactured by different companies, or using different screens or different boards. You can build it yourself for God’s sake.

This is why when Microsoft release new software operating systems, they also have to work on software updates because there is no standard PC spec anymore.


It would be interesting to see Apple sponsorship in F1, in fact I’m surprised they don’t already have their logo on any F1 cars. Does anyone know if they have ever been involved in the sport in a financial capacity?


Well there’s several tech companies in Ferrari, Kaspersky, Acer, AMD unfortunately they seem to be Apple’s competition so right now a sponsorship seems unlikely.


Talks commencing on building an iPad that will act as a steering wheel in the Ferrari. Developers at Marenello working overtime to incorporate DRS button into the app.

That was meant tongue in cheek, but thinking about it, i could actually see an iPad like device being used a steerting wheel. handles attached to a touch screen display to do everything the driver needs.

No reason that couldnt be done i reckon. except lack of testing time.


While possible, it wouldn’t be practice.

F1 steering wheels, like aircraft controls, need to have buttons that serve different functions be arranged, and shaped so that the pilot/driver doesn’t have to look down to find the right one.

There’s no tactile feedback with a touch screen.


Is there anything in the FIA rules that says the driver has to be in the car……think of the weight saving


Drone F1 pilots…


You’ve got to put balast in the car if there’s no driver.

The car has to have a minimum weight with or without driver.


This is great, two companies of which I am a fan and loyal customer due to their attention to detail, design, ambition and passion coming together to discuss business practices. Would’ve been great to have Steve Jobs there though, and of course Enzo, now that would’ve been something.

Wonder if the F2012 would gain a few tenths if it had an Apple duct instead of the Acer duct. =)


Lucky you, I can only afford Apple products!


I’m sorry, have you seen the interior of a 458, and if so, how can you seriously say that Ferrari has ANY “attention to detail” or “design”? The interior of the Ferrari 458 Italia has to be the most impractical and stupid interior design I have EVER seen… Between the knobs on either side of the steering wheel not being the same knobs (seriously?) and the blinkers being buttons on the wheel itself, you have to wonder what the guy was smoking when he got to designing the interior of the car…

And then you get in an MP4-12c and there is NOTHING you would change because it is just perfect, with everything pretty and everything where it should be.


Thank you, it’s refreshing when someone actually has experienced a car before they make statements.


Have you driven them both yet?

Or have you driven a 911 which has controls all over the place?


I was lucky enough to drive both the 458 Italia AND the MP4-12c on the same day. I rented the Italia and was thoroughly impressed with its performance, I have to say. Best car I had EVER driven.

And then, I decided to stop by the McLaren dealership to see if pulling up in a Ferrari would get me a test drive. It did! 😀

And OH-MY-GOD! (Sorry, I hate when people use this OMG crap, but that one time, it totally applied), the 12c is an AMAZING machine. To me much much better than the Italia.

So in the same day I beat my “best car driven” record twice! It was fun! 🙂

Weirdly enough, I have never driven a 911 before, but I’m taking a 997 Turbo out on Sunday, to go to the Ferrari Racing Days at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Will tell you how it stacks up in terms of controls and interior (and performance, I guess) on Monday! 🙂


indeed, how must acer feel about this?

you can’t imagine shell sanctioning luca attending a symposium with bp, for example.


Good point


Coming from Saratoga Springs, New York I can tell you horses love apples.


One company makes great products the other moans when things do not go there own way


Yes. One makes beautiful high performance road cars whilst the other is in courts all around the world trying to block its rivals in patent disputes.

oh wait.


Crap, this happened in my neck of the woods and I didn’t even know… Usually these lectures can be attended by the public. Too bad…


Given the current lack of success of Ferrari in producing beautiful cars (road or track) I hope that Tim Cook keeps Jonathan Ive away from Maranello: let Ferrari keep up their association with acer…


Are you serious?

The 458??

I can’t even be bothered to comment anymore!!




This is why I really miss university.

You had amazing lectures all the time and they were a great source for inspiration.

Back in 2006 we had Pat Symonds come to the engineering department at Warwick University to give a talk and I was surprised at how open to discuss a lot of the inner workings of his team.

It’s a shame what happened at Singapore 2008 but I still have respect for the guy because of this.


From Singapore 2008 to last week in Bahrain,indeed it is a shame that morality falls out of the definition of excellence.


Interesting, possible sponsorship opportunities?

Slightly off topic James, but are you hearing anything on the rumours linking James Key with Ferrari?


Nada niente!


“Ferrari and Apple shared several core values”

Pun intended?


A5X Quad Core 😀

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