Ferrari Logo Meaning – History of Ferrari Emblem

The Italian car manufacturer Ferrari is renowned for its premium performance vehicles, sports cars, and supercars. Given Ferrari’s origins in the world of racing, this comes as no surprise. Much like the company’s magnificent automobiles, the meaning of the Ferrari logo embodies sophistication and elegance and is steeped in a rich historical background. Each element within the Ferrari emblem has been meticulously designed and holds a profound connection to the company, its founder Enzo Ferrari, and the lives of those directly or indirectly affiliated with it.

Ferrari NV Information
Founded13 September 1939
FounderEnzo Ferrari
HeadquartersAmsterdam, Netherlands (Corporate)Maranello, Italy (Racing division)

In 1919, Ferrari initiated his career as a race driver with a small car company, but in 1920, he made the transition to Alfa Romeo. After a few years, he had a fateful encounter with the parents of Italian fighter pilot Francesco Baracca, who had heroically completed 34 missions during World War I. It was during this meeting that Ferrari first encountered the prancing horse, which had been painted on the fuselage of Baracca’s fighter plane. Countess Paulina, Baracca’s mother, suggested to Ferrari that he should adopt the horse as a symbol on his cars to bring good luck.

Francesco Baracca Prancing Horse

In Enzo Ferrari’s own words:

“In ‘23, I met count Enrico Baracca, the hero’s father, and then his mother, Countess Paulina, who said to me one day, ‘Ferrari, put my son’s prancing horse on your cars. It will bring you good luck’. The horse was, and still is, black, and I added the canary yellow background which is the colour of Modena [Enzo Ferrari’s birthplace].”

Ferrari heeded the advice and made some modifications of his own. One of the most significant changes was to the tail of the prancing horse, which he altered to point upwards. While Baracca’s horse had been painted red, Ferrari changed its color to black as a symbol of grief and mourning, paying homage to Baracca’s untimely passing. The Ferrari logo also featured a yellow background as a tribute to Modena, his birthplace. He incorporated all these elements within a shield that included Italy’s national colors at the top. Beneath the horse, Ferrari added the two letters “S” and “F,” which stood for “Scuderia Ferrari,” translating to “Ferrari Stable.”

Scuderia Ferrari Logo

However, Ferrari faced a temporary setback in using the prancing horse logo. The now-famous Ferrari emblem made its initial appearance at the 1932 Spa 24 Hours race in Belgium, adorning a two-car team of Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spiders. Scuderia Ferrari achieved a podium finish in this race, and interpreting it as a symbol of good fortune, Ferrari continued to use the prancing horse logo.

The resemblances between the Ferrari emblem and the Porsche logo are indeed striking. There is a theory suggesting that Baracca himself might have borrowed the prancing horse from a downed German aircraft, which featured the horse as the emblem of Stuttgart. Another theory proposes that Baracca selected the horse because of his earlier service in a horse regiment, where he had been an esteemed cavalryman. It’s also worth noting that the Baracca family was affluent and maintained several horses in their stables, potentially inspiring the prancing horse on his plane. However, it’s essential to mention that these accounts lack concrete evidence and remain unsubstantiated.

Following the inception of Formula One in 1950, Ferrari went on to become the most prosperous racing team. The Prancing Horse team boasts an impressive record with 16 constructors’ championships and 15 driver’s championship victories to its name. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the oldest surviving Formula One team and has been a consistent participant in every world championship. Scuderia Ferrari also shares a special bond with Michael Schumacher, who clinched five driver’s titles between 2000 and 2004.

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Success with road cars

Initially, Enzo Ferrari’s primary focus was on his racing career, and he had limited interest in manufacturing road cars. However, he recognized the financial potential of selling roadworthy versions of his race cars, which could generate the necessary funds to support Scuderia Ferrari. Over time, this road car business expanded rapidly and eventually surpassed the racing division in size. Ferrari maintains a corporate logo that features slight variations from that of the racing team.

Notably, the Ferrari corporate logo deviates from the shield design and replaces it with a rectangle as the framework for the prancing horse and other elements. In this corporate logo, the letters “S” and “F” are omitted to distinguish it from the Scuderia version. Instead of the “Scuderia Ferrari” initials, the corporate logo features the word “Ferrari” written in a handwritten typeface. However, it preserves other essential components, including the prancing horse, the yellow background, and the colors of the Italian flag.

Ferrari Corporate Logo

Corporate changes

Throughout its history, the company has experienced various business fluctuations. In the early part of 1969, it decided to sell a 50% equity stake to Fiat, though Enzo Ferrari maintained complete control over the racing operations. Fiat later escalated its ownership to 90% in 1988. However, Fiat also underwent significant transformations during this period, including a merger with Chrysler. The resultant conglomerate, known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), disclosed its intention to separate Ferrari from the group in October 2014. This was realized through an initial public offering (IPO) in October 2015.

Presently, the Ferrari logo stands as one of the most prominent names in the realm of luxury cars. In 2017, it reported a remarkable revenue of EUR 3.42 billion and an impressive profit of EUR 537 million, establishing itself as one of the most lucrative entities in the automotive industry. Additionally, Ferrari has earned a place among the world’s most influential and powerful brands.

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