Staff of the Regional office in Dubai line up, from left to right: Francesco Marchionna, Leandre Rafflegeau, Lorenzo Bernadoni, Lamis Abdul All, Ayesha Mir, Aurelian Sauvard, Helmi Sghaier, Silka Oekermann, Thibault Dussarrat and Giorgio Turri
“If we have to organise a meeting”, jokes Hub manager Dieter Knechtel, an Austrian who has been with Ferrari since 2015, “we have to do it at two pm for Singapore, when it’s ten in the morning for Dubai, and in Sydney it’s five in the evening.”
Taking into account all these differences, the team that Knechtel manages – 54 people spread around Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney and Dubai, many of whom have been photographed for this feature in their respective locations – is made up of men and women of twelve different nationalities, many of which are from beyond the area.
“With such diverse markets it is more than ever fundamental to have experienced people in order to be able to understand what you’re dealing with. And at the same time we are aware that we always have to meet the House rules of Ferrari.”
The Tokyo Subsidiary office lines up, back row, from left: Donato Romaniello, Shoichi Tamai, Federico Pastorelli, Axel Dijoux. Front row from left: Rie Tanihata, Kyoko Iwata, Mitsuko Takagi, Daiki Okajima
In reality, the enormous geographical area includes some of the world’s oldest and most important markets. Although it is said that the first Ferrari ever bought by an Asian client was the 340 America, by Johnny Ysmael in the Philippines, it is Australia that boasts the first imported model: a Ferrari 212 Export Coupé, in 1952. Which meant that last year the country was able to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its ties to Maranello with a regional edition of Universo Ferrari.
One of the most notable aspects of the Australian market is its significant number of women clients, as was evidenced during the Ferrari 75th Anniversary tour that took 110 participants in 55 cars along the Gold Coast to Sydney. At the same time without doubt the biggest market is the Japanese one, where the Ferrari Purosangue was presented in Kyoto last November.
Sydney staff line up, from left: Theodora Vagenas, Jan Hendrik Voss, Joshua Degrassi, Alberto Leonardi, Vincenzo Bombardiero, Ryan Lewis, Andrew Yeung, and Gary Exall
“The relationship between Ferrari and Japan, which began fifty-seven years ago, is strong and enduring,” continues Dieter Knechtel. “And it is home to some of the most important Prancing Horse collectors in the whole world.
Elsewhere in the Far East, South Korea is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing Ferrari areas, with a clientele that, compared to the average, is very young but which has nevertheless a huge passion for the brand. Likewise, looking at the Middle East, we are witnessing a significant expansion in Saudi Arabia, a country that is making enormous investments in the future and one which is undergoing rapid change.
Then, naturally, there is Singapore, the point of our imagined compass where, at the end of last year the Ferrari Club Challenge was launched in South East Asia. “It is the heart of the Hub,” concluded Knechtel. “A small country, very modern, with a very high standard of living and a remarkable concentration of Ferrari. Here technological innovation is the order of the day, there’s a deep love of cars and motorsports and we recognise that our clients are knowledgeable and demanding: making them happy is our aim.”
Cover image: the Far and Middle East Head Office Staff, based in Singapore, from left: Danilo Trapani, Jade Fariello, Hui-Ping Lim, Laurent Flucklinger, Hub manager Dieter Knechtel, Francesco Sozzi, Charles Geneste