After the conclusion of the ten-year partnership between Hublot and Ferrari, the most famous and important team of the F1 circus was left without a watch sponsor and many were wondering who would take Hublot's place. Well, on February 22, 2021 with a press release Ferrari and Richard Mille announced that they have signed a long-term partnership between the two companies that will go beyond the obvious commercial purposes.
A natural partnership
Formula 1 fans will already know how Richard Mille has been orbiting the sun called Ferrari for a long time, through prominent personalities and various drivers; but let me point out a few details.
Ferrari's current top driver, Charles Leclerc, has been Richard Mille's brand ambassador for a long time (before 2016) and Richard was one of the first supporters of the Monegasque talent, accompanying its growth in all the minor categories (GP3, GP2) and then arriving at Formula 1. Choice revealed fully apt given the results and the talent he showed in his seasons in Sauber first (2018) and then in Ferrari (2019 and 2020). Furthermore, his current manager is Nicolas Todt, son of Jean Todt, a close friend of Richard Mille and supporter of the brand practically since his birth (we remember the editions dedicated to him such as the RM 11-03, RM 050, RM 056 and RM 036).
Spanish Carlos Sainz, the new Ferrari home driver, is not a new face for Richard Mille as his previous team, Mclaren, boasts a close collaboration with the brand inaugurated in 2016 and from 2019 we find him in the paddock with his trusty RM 011 On the wrist.
Other very important drivers for Ferrari were and still are ambassadors of Richard Mille, I am talking about Felipe Massa (the first and historic ambassador of the brand to whom several models have been dedicated) and Kimi Raikkonen to whom in 2019 the 'RM 50-04.
Finally, let's not forget that the two Ferrari-powered circus teams, Haas and Alfa Romeo Orlen (Sauber), have long featured the Richard Mille branding on their car liveries and it's easy to see Richard Mille watches worn by various team members, drivers and not, like the Sauber Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur.
Given these relationships as a whole, the collaboration between Ferrari and Richard Mille turns out to be the natural culmination of the path taken almost 20 years ago by Richard, capable of creating a strong link between the world of watchmaking and Formula 1, apparently distant and detached, sharing the development of new materials, manufacturing technologies and design philosophies.
Synergies and shared values
Ferrari and Richard Mille have in common the sharing of values such as the search for the maxim technological expression and excellence absolute in their products. Both companies have been able to properly mix well-rooted and apparently difficult know-how to reinvent in their areas of interest (internal combustion engines and watchmaking) with avant-garde developments, constantly seeking to overcome their limits and positioning highest levels of their respective categories.
The multi-year partnership between the two brands will not only concern Formula 1, but the 360 ° Ferrari universe including the endurance program (WEC), GT competitions, the Ferrari Challenge, the Ferrari Driver Academy and the Ferrari Esports Series. In particular, Richard Mille will be committed to supporting the Ferrari Driver Academy, a forge of young talents with high potential (such as Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman), and will be an active supporter of Ferrari Challenge where many gentlemen drivers militate. This last initiative is also perfectly in line with the activities undertaken so far by Richard Mille, such as the organization of the LeMans Classic.
What to expect?
Over the next few years it has been declared that a line of watches dedicated to the horse will be developed through the close collaboration of the design teams of the two brands. The legacy and the media weight that Ferrari brings with it is difficult to manage; it is not enough to place a pony on the dial by adding red details here and there to create a watch worthy of this legendary brand, indeed worthy of the most recognizable brand in the world.
However, if there is a maison that can succeed in the enterprise of create a truly unique product capable of paying homage to the Prancing Horse, with the help of the Maranello designers led by Flavio Manzoni of course, that's Richard Mille. Over the years it has shown several times that it is able to find the right balance between aesthetics and technique to pay homage to important brands such as Perini Navi and McLaren, appropriately exploiting the innovation that its watches contain.
I therefore hope to see a technological collaboration rather than an aesthetic one, exactly as happened with McLaren and the consequent creation of the masterpiece called RM 50-03. Ferrari, Richard Mille, amaze me!