PEOPLE: IGNAZIO LUNETTA

Name: Ignazio Lunetta
Nationality: Italy

Ignazio Lunetta

Ignazio Lunetta 

 © Inside F1, Inc.

Sicilian Ignazio Lunetta grew up in the village of Caltanisseta, just a few miles from the old Targa Florio circuit and close to the Enna Pergusa racing track. Lunetta was surrounded by and enthused with racing. Like all young Italians he was a Ferrari fan. He studied mechanical engineering and cut his teeth in racing as an engineer in Formula 3 and Formula 2 in the early 1980s.

This led to a job in 1984 with the Osella Formula 1 team and for the next four years he worked for the underfunded Turin operation. In the end he became the team's chief designer and revamped the old chassis for Nicola Larini to drive. With the new Formula 1 regulations in 1989, however, Osella had to build a new car but there was no money to do so and so Enzo Osella sold shares to wheel magnate Gabriele Rumi of Fondmetal. The team then hired Antonio Tomaini as the designer and so Lunetta went off to work for the Alfa Romeo competition department - initially working on a Group C sportscar design and then in 1991 on the Alfa Romeo 155 touring cars which enjoyed considerable success in the Italian and German Championships.

In 1992 there was a shake-up of the engineering staff at Maranello and Lunetta was recruited by Ferrari to be the chief engineer of the test team. The following year - after further political upheavals - he joined the race team as Jean Alesi's engineer. The arrival of Jean Todt brought a period of stability and Lunetta went on working with Alesi until the Frenchman departed for Benetton at the end of the 1995 season. Michael Schumacher joined the team and Lunetta was chosen to be his engineer. When Schumacher was injured in 1999 Lunetta engineered Mika Salo but at the start of 2000 he was appointed head of track engineering at Ferrari. At the end of that successful year he left the race team to become head of Ferrari Racing's research and development.

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