The rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren is one of the most intense in motorsports, and has evolved from a series of championship battles that have often spilled over into off-track controversies. Adding spice, it’s a contest hat now involves road cars as well, with McLaren’s MP4-12C unashamedly venturing into Maranello territory. “If you think where McLaren was 25 years ago, we were an F1 team,” says McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “Ferrari was the mega brand and we were just a small team. We’ve grown that brand, we’ve grown the team.
I think we’ve got some guys in the
organization doing some great initiatives,
and I think that’s important.”
In the era of Whitmarsh and his opposite
number at Ferrari, Stefano Domenicali, the
McLaren/Ferrari relationship has become
rather more gentlemanly than it has been
in the past. But it could only take a little
dispute over a technical infringement or
similar for the temperature to rise again.
“I think everybody in motor racing was
always aware that McLaren and Ferrari
were the two key protagonists,” says
veteran sponsorship guru John Hogan,
who in his Philip Morris days dealt with