Everything about Ferrari oozes cool, from the sleek design of the Ferrari California to the effortless swagger of Fernando Alonso as he walks down the pit lane.
Enzo, the company’s founder, should have been the President of Italy.
If I’d had a son, I would have called him Dino, the same as Enzo’s first born. Instead, I’ve had to settle with having a sister called Dina. You can’t deny it, those lucky souls involved with Ferrari family are some seriously cool customers. Or so I thought.
Once a year the extended families and crew of the Ferrari and Ducati – the motorbike manufacturer – racing teams descend on the lovely resort of Madonna di Campiglio to launch the new season as well as thank their staff and favourite media professionals with a five-day break in the beautiful Italian Dolomites.
Schumy with his 500 enroute to his favourite hotel in Madonna di Campiglio – The family-run Hotel Gianna.
It’s no surprise that they go to Madonna; as well as boasting some gobsmacking vistas within reasonable distance of Ferrari HQ in Maranello, it has a first-class ski area and some great hotels and restaurants to boot.
Ignore the view in the foreground and enjoy the background view of Dolomiti di Brenta.
Whilst these facts alone ought to be enough to go on, rumour has it that the tourist office director of the area knew someone well in Philip Morris, parent company of Marlboro – the iconic title sponsor of the Ferrari Formula 1 Team. Naturally, one thing led to another and Madonna became the alpine home of Ferrari, rather than the more established Cortina d’Ampezzo, Courmayeur (or any other ski resort in the Alps).
These days, there’s branding all over Madonna to remind you of this fact, including a Ferrari bar and nightclub.
What a show they put on in the third week of January, too. The buzz in the resort is palpable as current and former Ferrari drivers including Michael Schumacher himself come for a ski with their team. The frozen lake in the middle of Madonna becomes an ice racing circuit, featuring Ducati, the Fiat 500, karts or whatever the flavour is that year.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited as a guest of Ferrari – as I was – then there are also some incredible parties on and off the mountain, as well as a ski race.
Felipe warming up.
Yours truly enjoying the hospitality.
But here’s the thing: despite all the excitement and ambience in Madonna, with everyone walking down the street in their Ferrari uniforms looking uber cool, special edition Ferrari skis over their shoulders, none of them can actually ski. Seriously, none of them. Every single one makes their way to the bottom of the hill in either a snowplough or have their bottoms or arms positioned awkwardly and in the wrong place. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, in normal ski gear. But dressed to the nines is Ferrari red? Just not cool. If I was in charge of this lot, I’d say: ‘have your fun and practice your skiing… but not in my uniform please! There’s even a black ski run called ‘The Schumacher.’ I mean…?!
Felippe Massa – Ferrari F1 Driver
Casey Stoner – Former MotoGP World Champion
Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari F1 Driver and former World Champion
The boys waiting for the arrival of his Excellency, Luca Montezemolo Chairman of Ferrari and lots of other things in Italy.
Family photo with Luca and Team boss Stefano Domenicali
Luca being interviewed by Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter. Whats her name?? Wait a minute… Did I not see her on some poster on Wandsworth Bridge or is that the other sister?
My friend Chris Madigan was convinced she was Sarah Palin
And the party continues
This guy rocked up in Courmayeur’s pedestrian zone. Honestly, no need to show off. You are cool as it is.
Regardless of this Event, this is a great week or weekend to go to Madonna di Campiglio. Its not busy, and Ferrari put on a great show for the public on Madonna’s frozen lake and generally add a great buzz to the whole place.