Mike and Enzo Ferrari


Mike had an excellent relationship with Enzo Ferrari.  Ferrari gave him the nickname “Michelino” in reference to his height (6 feet 4 inches).  For his part, Mike had enormous admiration and respect for Ferrari.  When asked in an interview “What is Ferrari like as a boss?” Mike replied: “Commendatore Ferrari is one of the most intelligent persons I have ever met, extremely shrewd at judging character and personality.  Probably his greatest asset lies in his ability to judge people’s skills and employ them where they will give their best results.  With years of experience behind him he also has a great ability to foresee the successful and logical conclusion to technical problems.  He is sometimes criticized for being hard and ruthless, but I have always found him completely fair, even to the point of taking decisions which he knows may temporarily not be to his best advantage … Once he has considered any problem, technical or human, from all aspects, he will make his decision and then go flat out for the solution he has chosen.”

In his book “Piloti che gente” Ferrari has this to say about Mike: “Parkes and Scarfiotti: They were an ideal couple for long distance races.  A combination which displayed strength and the will to win.  One was complementary to the other. The Englishman, by then a Modenese, with his Italian habits grafted onto an English strength of will; and the Marchigiano from Turin with all the exuberance of youth, apparently without any problems in life.”

At about the time when Mike was considering leaving Ferrari he also received an offer of work from Colin Chapman.  In October 1969 Chapman wrote: “As you know, for a number of years I have been waiting for the day when you will have finished your assignment in Italy and will return to England to become the Engineering Director of the Lotus Group of Companies and Shareholder.   Is the day getting nearer or must I wait for ever? I will be pleased to hear from you the latest situation and when I can get your desk ready for you.”  Mike wrote back to enquire further about the terms of Colin’s offer but in the end nothing came of it.

Next: Racing as a “hobby”