Giampaolo Dallara, a legend of motor sport

The Italian engineer talks at the 2016 FIA Sport Conference
Giampaolo Dallara

Over fifty years in motor sport means Giampaolo Dallara is something of a legend in this field, however, the car he considers his masterpiece is a road-going one, the Lamborghini Miura. “It was the first important car I designed,” explained the engineer in an interview at the FIA Sport Conference, currently taking place in Turin. “Back then, I had no idea how much I still had to learn and I was very enthusiastic: maybe today, I wouldn’t have managed to do it, because I’d be too scared of making mistakes!”

Dallara Automobili produces racing cars that are front runners at race tracks all over the world and this year, in collaboration with Haas, the company is back in Formula 1. “In the past, there were various opportunities, dating back to the time we raced our own car at the start of the Nineties,” recalled Dallara. “After that, we collaborated on various projects, with mixed fortunes and currently we are working on a very serious and structured project with Haas. Specifically, we are working under the technical leadership of Rob Taylor, the American team’s technical director, on the chassis, components and bodywork, while on the aerodynamic side, we produce the parts that are used in wind tunnel testing. For us, it’s a great opportunity to learn new things: every ten years or so it’s good for the company to acquire new experience from outside.”

With his in-depth understanding of racing in the States, Dallara is well placed to talk about the difference between Formula 1 and racing in America. “There is a different relationship between the participants and the spectators. In America, at the end of practice, the paddock is open to the public and people can see the cars up close and speak with the drivers, who are available for autographs and selfies, because if they don’t they risk starting from the back of the grid!”

Dallara’s level of enthusiasm is contagious, but what’s his secret for keeping it going for so long? “I am a lucky man because I have so many youngsters working with me and their passion and energy invigorates me,” he explained. “And also, there are always new lessons to learn, new mistakes to analyse so that they don’t happen again: I’d say my mistakes are the key to my experience.”