Mauro Forghieri

Mauro Forghieri (born 13 January 1935) is an Italian mechanical engineer, best known for his work as a Formula One racing car designer with Scuderia Ferrari during the 1960s and 1970s. He is credited for introducing the first designed rear wings to Formula One at the 1968 Belgian Grand Prix,[1] and designing the first transversal automatic gear, also known as T gear.

Mauro Forghieri
Mauro Forghieri.png
Forghieri in 2005
Born (1935-01-13) 13 January 1935 (age 85)
Modena, Italy
OccupationFormula One car designer

Early lifeEdit

Forghieri was born in Modena, the only child of Reclus and Afra Forghieri. His father Reclus, a turner, did war work during World War II for the Ansaldo mechanical workshops of Naples. During this time, Mauro lived primarily with his mother, spending time in Naples, Milan, Modena and Abbiategrasso. After the conflict, the Forghieri family reunited and returned to Modena, where Reclus began working in the Ferrari workshop in Maranello.[2] Meanwhile, Mauro completed the Liceo Scientifico and in 1959 obtained a laurea in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bologna.[3][4]


Forghieri (right) with John Surtees inspecting a Ferrari 1512 in 1965 at the Nürburgring.

Despite his initial interest in aviation design, Forghieri accepted an internship offer from Ferrari, where he had been introduced by his father.[5] Beginning in spring of 1960, he started an apprenticeship in the engine department. Forghieri began working alongside many engineers involved in Ferrari's early history, including Vittorio Jano, Carlo Chiti and Luigi Bazzi, as well as race director Romolo Tavoni. He also worked alongside Gian Paolo Dallara, who joined Ferrari shortly after Forghieri in 1960. Forghieri's early work at the factory involved both racing cars and production road cars.[3][4]

In 1961, a few key figures at Ferrari, including chief designer Carlo Chiti, left to join the breakaway ATS Formula One team, in an event that became known as "the great walkout". Forghieri remained as the only credentialed engineer on staff. Soon after the walkout, Forghieri was personally asked by Enzo Ferrari to begin studying the "full technical questions of the Factory" (Forghieri's words). As he was only 27 years of age at the time, Forghieri received guidance from a few more experienced staff members, including Franco Rocchi, Walter Salvarani and Angelo Bellei. Forghieri was soon appointed Technical Director for racing cars, a position he would remain in until 1984. His responsibilities included overseeing technical development, managing the technical section during races and collaborating with other Ferrari departments, including the testing department and the drafting department.[4]

Forghieri left his position as technical director in 1984. In January of 1985 he began work on the Ferrari 408 4RM concept car. The 408 project was completed in Spring of 1987 and Forghieri departed Ferrari for good shortly after.[4]

Notable designs at FerrariEdit

Forghieri was involved to some degree in the development of every racing car produced by the Factory between his hiring in 1960 and his departure in 1987.

The sports racing cars designed under Forghieri's supervision included the GT-class 250 GTO, the development of which Forghieri continued after the original team headed by Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini left during the 1961 walkout.[6] Other GT-class cars included competition versions of the 275 GTB[7] and the 330 LMB. Sports prototypes designed by Forghieri's team included the P series and later iterations of the Dino series, starting with the 1965 Dino 166 P. Forghieri has stated that the 1967 330 P4 was his favorite out of all the cars he has designed.[8]

In 1964, Forghieri designed the V8-powered Ferrari 158, in which John Surtees won the 1964 Formula One World Championship.

Forghieri (kneeling, right) with driver Carlos Reutemann testing the Ferrari 312 T3 at Zandvoort in 1978

In 1970, Forghieri designed the Ferrari 312 series (consisting of the 312 and 312B formula one cars and 312P and 312PB sportscars). He also designed the first transversal automatic gear and Ferrari's first turbocharged engine. Under his guidance Ferrari won the driver's F1 world championship title four times, with John Surtees (1964), Niki Lauda (1975 and 1977), and Jody Scheckter (1979). Ferrari also won the constructors F1 world championship title eight times.

Lamborghini and BugattiEdit

In September 1987 Forghieri joined Lamborghini Engineering,[4] a department created by Lee Iacocca, the then CEO of Chrysler, who had bought the Emilian car firm Lamborghini.

In that organization, which had the ex-Ferrari Daniele Audetto as sports director, Forghieri designed the naturally aspirated Lamborghini 3512 V12 engine, which made its racing debut at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix. The V12 engine was used exclusively by the Larrousse team in the 1989 F1 season.

Following the encouraging performance of the engine, the project of designing a whole car was conceived, thanks to financing by the Mexican businessman Fernando Gonzalez Luna. The car, whose bodywork was designed by Mario Tolentino, was slated for a 1991 debut, but the day before the official presentation to the press, Gonzalez Luna disappeared with a conspicuous amount of money that had been paid by sponsors. Nevertheless, the car debuted thanks to financing by Carlo Patrucco, of the newly created Modena Team (also known as Lambo).

The latter was an unsuccessful enterprise, however, and Forghieri left Lamborghini soon afterwards. In 1992, he became the technical director of the re-emerging Bugatti, where he stayed until 1994. In the same year, he was also called as an expert in the trial relating to the death of driver Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Oral Engineering GroupEdit

On 1 January 1995, Forghieri co-founded with Franco Antoniazzi and Sergio Lugli the Oral Engineering Group, a mechanical design company.[9][10] Forghieri is still active in company operations, which include design, research and development of automobile, motorcycle, marine and go-kart engines and components.[9] Clients include BMW, Bugatti and Aprilia.[11] Oral Engineering was commissioned to convert the Ferrari Pinin concept car from a static display into a driveable vehicle.[12]

Project 1221Edit

Around 2005, Forghieri joined Project 1221, an Italian automobile company developing a new MF1 sports car, as chief engineer.[13][14]


  1. ^ Fagnan, René (31 January 2018). "The first appearance of wings on Formula 1 cars". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  2. ^ Fragale, Martina; Forghieri, Mauro (15 January 2018). "Mauro Forghieri - Chapter 1". International Classic. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Mauro Forghieri Biography". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mangiamele, Guy; Forghieri, Mauro (February 1989). "Mauro Forghieri: A Look Back". Cavallino. 49: 17–20.
  5. ^ Behnia, Afshin (13 June 2013). "Legendary Ferrari F1 Engineer Speaks About His Life & Career". Petrolicious. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  6. ^ Pourret, Jess G. (1987), Ferrari 250 GT Competition Cars, Haynes, ISBN 0-85429-556-9
  7. ^ Rosetti, Giancarlo (May 2005). "Legend of the GTO 65". Forza. 61: 36–42.
  8. ^ "Mauro Forghieri Biography Pt 2". Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Informazioni Generali". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  10. ^ "I Fondatori". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  11. ^ (22 January 2015). "Ferrari engineer Mauro Forghieri at 80: Still "Furia"…". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Bonhams : The Turin Motor Show,1980 Ferrari 'Pinin' Sports Saloon Chassis no. TBA". Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  13. ^ AlKhalisi, Farah (14 December 2006). "Retrospective: Automobiles and aeroplanes: Project 1221". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 16 February 2007.
  14. ^ "Project 1221 Updates Archive". Project 1221. 27 June 2005. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2020.

External linksEdit