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Mauro Forghieri obituary: Legendary Ferrari F1 designer dies at 87

Mauro Forghieri, the Italian engineer who became an iconic figure in Formula 1 as he helped Ferrari win numerous titles, has died aged 87.

Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari 312B

David Phipps

During a lengthy career as the technical chief at Ferrari, from 1962 to 1984, he helped guide Ferrari to four drivers’ titles, seven constructors’ crowns and 54 grand prix victories.

He originally joined Ferrari as an apprentice in 1960, having graduated from the University of Bologna with a mechanical engineering degree.

Having made a good early impression, following the departure of then chief designer Carlo Chiti in 1961, he was asked by team founder Enzo Ferrari to step up to head the technical side of the team.

Enzo Ferrari and Mauro Forghieri

Enzo Ferrari and Mauro Forghieri

Photo by: David Phipps

During his tenure, he was instrumental in creating some of the squad’s most successful and famous F1 designs.

This included the V8-powered 158 that John Surtees won the world title with in 1964, as well as the 312 series of both grand prix and sportscar fame.

Other drivers he helped win the championships with at Ferrari included Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter.

Forghieri finally left his position as technical director in 1984 and switched to a new role working on the Ferrari 408 4RM concept car. When that project was completed, he left Ferrari for good in 1987.

Following his long career at Ferrari, Forghieri moved to Lamborghini where he worked on its V12 engine that raced in F1 in 1989 and 1990.

He was also briefly involved in the ultimately stalled efforts for a new Lamborghini-backed GLAS F1 team, which then became the Modena squad in 1991.

When Lamborghini’s engineering department was reorganised at the end of 1991, and the Modena team ran out of funding, Forghieri left and helped set up the mechanical design Oral Engineering Group, whose clients included BMW, Bugatti and Aprilia. He was still involved with the project until recently.

Mauro Forghieri consults Niki Lauda

Mauro Forghieri consults Niki Lauda

Photo by: David Phipps

The Italian kept a close eye on F1 and several years ago famously made it clear how he did not like the current rules that allowed for DRS.

“I dislike the whole aerodynamics of the current cars,” he said. “I don't understand why it is not reduced in order to allow normal overtaking without DRS.

“Now, if one's opponent is less than a second behind, he can only watch as his pursuer goes past - and that cannot be correct.

“A world champion needs to be in a position to overtake his opponent without help. Otherwise, in my eyes, he is not a world champion.”

As the result of his historical contribution to Ferrari, Forghieri received honorary citizenship of Modena last January.

Jacky Ickx with Mauro Forghieri

Jacky Ickx with Mauro Forghieri

Photo by: Motorsport Images

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