The other day — on April 20 — Italian businessman Paolo Barilla celebrated his own 60th birthday. But now the Italian together with his brothers runs a famous company, and many years ago Paolo did not seek to become a family businessman and at the same time tried himself long and hard in motorsport. Let’s remember his story.
The famous Barilla company, famous all over the world for pasta and other products, has always positioned itself as a family business-from grandfather to father, from father to son, and so on. However, the younger generation was not required to continue the family business at all costs: it pulls into another sphere-please. This is exactly how it was with Paolo for the time being, when he decided to engage in racing. He was not cursed and even provided with the necessary funding.
Starting with successful performances in national karting, Paolo moved to Formula Abart in 1980, and then to Italian Formula 3. After a number of successes, Barilla went further-to Formula 2, where he first crossed paths with Giancarlo Minardi and his team. During the whole season, it was not possible to score points, and after similar problems in 1983 (already in other teams), Barilla decided to temporarily change the trajectory of development, going to endurance racing, but he continued to dream of Formula 1.
Therefore, gradually Paolo began to return to the “formulas” again: international Formula 3000, Japanese… However, no serious success could be achieved in any way: Barilla consistently performed weaker than his teammates, including such pilots as Pierluigi Martini and Bertrand Gachot. Nevertheless, in 1989, Paolo managed to become a test pilot for Minardi, which had long since switched to Formula 1. One step remained before the fulfillment of the dream!
Barilla was lucky: the main pilot of “Minardi” Martini had to miss the Japanese Grand Prix, and Paolo was put in the cockpit instead of him. We were also lucky that it was on a perfectly familiar Italian Suzuki. He managed to qualify, showing the 19th result — it seems to be good for Minardi, but that season, thanks to special Pirelli tires, Martini rose much higher
Paolo could say in his defense that, firstly, he had no experience in F-1, and secondly, he barely fit into the small cockpit of the car. “In qualifying, I managed to drive only one attempt due to pain, and the clutch failed in the race. Perhaps it’s good that this is so, ” the Italian later recalled.
Well, then the results went down. Having failed to qualify three times in a row, Paolo parted with the F-1 two stages before the end of the season. His best career result was 11th place at the San Marino Grand Prix.
“The new car was also too small for my height,” the driver complained later. — I decided to continue anyway. We achieved good results, but the tires became a big problem. “Pirelli” then could not supply all customers with equally good products, they preferred “Tyrrell” Alesi.
After finishing with the F-1, Barilla actively joined the management of the Barilla Group company, whose affairs at that time were led by his brothers — Guido and Luca. “I realized that I would never reach the level of Ayrton Senna. I will not become a world champion, a great racer. Then I decided to learn a new profession and become the best in it”
In 2016, Barilla was elected president of the International Pasta Organization (its goal is to raise the popularity and consumption of pasta around the world), Paolo previously held a similar post in the Association of Italian Confectionery and Pasta Manufacturers, which emphasizes the status of Barilla and his company.
…When Paolo is asked about his best lesson as a manager, Barilla also recalls Formula 1: “An athlete in F-1 knows what the weaknesses of the car are, and the faster you find them and eliminate them, the sooner you can go faster.” Racing does not let Paolo go. Even at the age of 60.