On the 3rd of January, the Museo Ferrari in the Italian city of Maranello opened a special exhibition to celebrate the 50th birthday of the German driver six years after the skiing accident.
I drove from Bologna, my hometown, on a cold morning just a day after the opening ceremony and jotted down my impression on what struck me as a special moment in Ferrari’s history.
On arriving in Maranello, one can instantly feel that something is profoundly different from many other picturesque small towns in Emilia-Romagna. And not just because of the big prancing horse standing at the centre of the first roundabout leading to the city.
With a population of fewer than 20,000, the town carries the weight and memory of one of the greatest and most recognised Italian enterprises, which still inspires the entire world. Here, Ferrari’s long history of records and successes feels more real than ever. Visitors, whether they are car enthusiasts or not, are amazed by the incredible legacy forged by a group of talented and most of all passionate people.
After parking, I reach the entrance of the museum where I am greeted by the red F1 car standing on the wall. After getting my ticket, I proceed to the exhibition starting on the first floor, because 'Michael 50' is only a section of the larger permanent exhibition.
Once again, I find myself catapulted back 70-plus years, in Italy still reeling from World War II, when it all started. It starts with a beautiful 250 GT Berlinetta SWB (Short wheelbase) in the Tour de France livery, a real legend that won the race for three years straight, from ‘60 to ’62, along with Le Mans for two years and many others.
The first hall is completed by a rare Moto Scuderia Ferrari, a 166 MM, and a timeline with photos and quotes from important moments in the company's and its founder's history. This setting introduces the theme of the exhibition.
From there on, different halls show through the evolution of their cars the fascinating history of this company from different perspectives, the engineering (with engine evolution), the technology, and the design, as shown by the body shell of the light and nimble Monza 750 of 1954 which also won different races in the same year and inspired the latest models unveiled by the house of the Prancing Horse, the beautiful Monza SP1 and SP2.
Starting from old classic GTs up to modern models and to track-focused special editions like the 2018 488 Pista, the aggressive, more powerful version of the 488 GTB which already won an award as Top Gear Magazine’s “Super car of the year” and whose V8 720bhp engine won the “Engine of the year” award as well.
Then, walking through the legendary cars of Maranello you reach the entrance of the first hall dedicated to the best driver in Ferrari's history. Like for the rest of the museum, this special exhibition goes beyond just the brand success to show also Schumacher's personality, dedication to the sport, and his great achievements not only in racing but also in helping Ferrari's road-legal cars development. That is in fact the aspect highlighted in the first of the two rooms dedicated to Michael's birthday.
Here are displayed the two cars that he helped to develop, the 430 Scuderia and the California. Along with these, numerous photos showing the important moments of his career and his work in Maranello are paired with inspirational quotes from Schumi, as fans still call him, that reflected his work ethic, dedication, and determination.
The exhibition is organised with the Keep Fighting Foundation, a non-profit initiative celebrating the attitudes to 'Keep Fighting' and 'Never Give Up' inspired by the F1 Champion organisation and operating in numerous charitable projects developed directly or through partnerships.
Continuing to the second room, you reach the main area dedicated to this great racing driver. In hindsight, I am somewhat glad to have gone there alone and would suggest others do the same to fully appreciate such a powerful atmosphere. Many are in fact the people that by entering this ‘shrine’ remain almost in religious silence.
On the wall stand his astonishing records, 7 World Championships, 91 race victories, 155 podiums, and more. On the right side, an interesting display houses all the Ferrari F1 cars in tiny and incredibly detailed models. On the other, a timeline of all Ferrari’s World Champions, from Ascari to Raikkonen, including each one’s photo, helmet, and car model. As you raise your head you find that the whole wall is completely surrounded by Grand Prix Trophies.
Finally, the circular area, the real heart of the exhibition. The Eight most significant F1 Ferraris of the Michael Schumacher era. The first one of 1996, the F399 of 1999 when Michael missed the Title because of an accident and a broken leg in Silverstone but that brought the Constructor Championship back to Maranello, then the 5 titles, F1-2000, F2001, F2002, F2003-GA, and F2004 (Schumacher and Ferrari's most winning car), and last the 248 F1 of 2006, Schumacher’s last season for Ferrari before his first retirement (cars in order in the photo below). The setting is complemented by screens showing videos of his successes and powerful music that make the whole experience even more memorable.
I must have spent at least 40 minutes just in this room, remembering the Sundays at home watching Grand Prix. After a while, I proceeded toward the last bit of the museum and then the exit, with the music still resounding in my ears. I got in my car and drove back to Bologna.
All in all, this exhibition cherishes the achievements of a great sportsman, that changed completely the approach to this discipline and the image of racing drivers, affecting deeply also the future generations. His determination and clear goals vision are among the best example and strongest inspiration that one can find in our modern society, and that is why everyone, enthusiast or not should pay a visit to Ferrari Museum’s ‘Michael 50’. You have time until April, don’t miss out!
If you like what you read here and you would like to support me in developing this platform you can do it here:
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT ME AND THIS WEBSITE’s DEVELOPMENT