Motor Valley’s Pioneers: Andrea Pontremoli
In these pages we will see a succession of characters from the Motor Valley and beyond, who in one way or another have made their passion a life vocation to export Made in Italy worldwide, innovating and creating excellences. Andrea Pontremoli.
Let’s start with a suggestion: what is your first memory of a racing car?
I remember when I went with my friends to see the Monza Grand Prix by hitchhiking. At the time it was different than today and the journey itself was an adventure! Hitchhiking was a method of transportation that I liked and allowed me to socialize; in that same period I was studying in Parma and by chance it once happened that I really took the right “train”, accepting the lift from a gentleman who, on his way to Bardi, asked to stop for a moment at a certain Giampaolo Dallara’s workshop. That was the first time I saw both him and the chassis of a Formula 3, and I never imagined they would become so familiar to me.
When did you first have the opportunity to drive a racing car? How did you feel?
Everything for me started with the passion for speed, which at the time I fomented by racing on motorcycles because it was cheaper than cars; my four-wheeled dream was called 112 Abarth, the first sports car I ever drove. To get to the racing cars we have to take a leap forward to Dallara, because here I drove first an F3 and then the Dallara Stradale, back when it was still a digital model in our simulator! Something very close science fiction.
When was the first time you “met” carbon fiber?
I would say in the early 2000s, when I always used to spend my summer holidays with Giampaolo, growing my interest in his activity. Our friendship was also born from these first approaches, which later led me to work here, in that workshop that has now become a company, and which had always fascinated me so much.
During the event for the presentation of the Maserati Restomod MV 3200 GTC project, you renewed your commitment and strong interest in the territory and the importance of education young people who were born in the Motor Valley or who aspire to become part of it. Both Bercella and Dallara are very active on these sides with the commitment, among others, to entities such as Innovation Farm or ITS Maker. Do you think there are still “missing pieces” in this puzzle? What can be done to make this engine run even better?
The main point of this speech is a concept that I really like, that a company nowadays cannot think of being competitive if it does not make the territory within which it is located competitive as well. Therefore, every company we work with has an interest, just like us, in creating a value that can then be transferred to the territory. And very often this value also translates into growth for customers, when together we manage to reach a solution that they hadn’t initially thought of.
The real step to take, and I think that it is partially already happening, is to transfer what we are doing for the Automotive industry, also for other areas for which the Food Farm, the Logistic Farm and the Mechatronic Farm are being born. This works especially when we compare education to technology, because without the first, the second is just a machine or a computer standing there with no one able to make it work at its best.
Secondly, there is the concept of Open Innovation, which transcends the boundaries of one company to join those of another, to create something that goes beyond the expertise of both.
Speaking instead of your role as CEO, since your return to Valceno you have immediately focused on the development and cohesion of the territory: do you perceive a different way of making business between local companies and with Partners who do not share these same roots?
The principles of the business do not change with respect to the geographical area, what really makes the difference is how much you are able to create value for the customer but above all how much you can sustain it over time. And this mechanism is maximally proactive even for the company, because it is forced to organize itself internally to always look for something new to leverage on. However, in the Motor Valley we perceive an important cohesion of values that is beginning to make it clear to the companies that are part of it, that they really have an added value to bet on.
Your education and in general you IT background goes beyond Motorsport, which you told us has always been one of your passions. How did you manage to proactively bring these areas together?
I have to say that in my life I have managed to transform my passions into work: first music, then electronics and finally speed, up to today where I am able to put all three together. From a professional point of view, however, I believe that the affinity with electronics has allowed me to convey the importance of digitization to Dallara, understanding that computers and simulators, as already done with the wind tunnel, are tools that offer the possibility to experiment and make mistakes at low cost and therefore to innovate faster. You can work in reality starting from digital data which by their nature are faster to obtain.
If you were to tell the Bercella’s collaborators what are the challenges you see as our client and explain the meaning of their work, what would you say?
It can really be said that Bercella is a fundamental part of the Emilian Motor Valley and of Dallara’s history, it is a company formed above all by friends with whom we also share many ideals, including certainly the education, that Franco Bercella strongly sustains. And we are lucky to have a relationship through which we can build together the future we need.
A next common challenge is certainly Space, understood as the new economy both from the side of the container with the construction of rockets and their components, and from the side of the content, i.e. all those things that will be launched into orbit with those same rockets. It goes without saying that Bercella has a great deal of experience on “containers” and their creation in composite, and we are gearing up for the “content”, so there are always opportunities to work together, but above all to work well together.
What was your best victory?
More than a sporting victory, I would like to talk about a personal victory, and in particular the 2008 Indianapolis 500, which was my first Indy 500. It was obviously clear that we were going to win because all the cars were ours, but in that moment I realized where I had achieved. In that moment you really realize that 500,000 people are anxious to see a beautiful race in which 33 cars compete, all made in Varano de ’Melegari. And you understand that America goes crazy for something born thousands of kilometers away on the Ceno River. It was one of the best days of my life.