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Seattle, Washington, United States
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There were rain and wind and sun, sometimes all at once. There was the Wall of Champions. There was nothing happening in first place and nothing happening back in sixth during the race, but everywhere else - from the time the weekend began - it was surprises, passes, spins, more passing, flying carbon fiber and finally a couple more last-minute surprises. The Canadian Formula One Grand Prix was a proper race for all the right reasons... well, except for the part where the crowd booed the winner.Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:59:00 EST
Ferrari has got to be a great place to work. In fact, it's named as one of the best places to work in Europe year after year. Add to that the pride of making some of the coolest cars in the business, running one of the winningest teams in all of motorsports (even if the Scuderia isn't doing so well thus far this season) and all around standing for the best Italy has to offer, and you've got the makings of a dream job. And it just got a bit sweeter.
That's because Ferrari has just awarded each and every one of its employees a bonus of 4,096 euros - the most the company has ever paid. That's equivalent to over $5,600 at today's exchange rates, and represents a whopping 20 percent of the annual salary for a recently hired young employee. Following two advances of 1,000 euros each, that means employees will find an extra 2,096 euros in their pay checks this month, which may not be enough to buy a new California T or 458 Speciale, but should finance a nice shopping spree of t-shirts and paperweights at the Ferrari Store or a family vacation to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.
The bonuses are part of a deal signed with the union in 2012, but are enabled by record profits reported by the company over the last couple of years. After 2012 emerged as Ferrari's most profitable fiscal year, it moved to reduce production, thereby increasing the value of each new car it sells to drive profits up even higher. Nice work, in short, if you can get it.
I'll never forget the day I bought my very first Ferrari. It was a bright-red F40, I'd saved up for it for what felt like an eternity and I couldn't wait to get home so I could park it next to my other four-wheeled piece of pride and joy, a stealth-black Lamborghini Countach, so I could compare their blunt-edge, wedge-like shapes and massive spoilers in microscopic detail.
The year was 1987, and the event felt like the pinnacle of my life's achievement. Though both of my Italians had been die-cast in 1/18th scale, I coveted the two supercars with the verve of a true collector, taking in the intricacies of their engine bays, opening their doors and turning their working steering wheels. In reality, the two could have hardly been more different, and yet they both looked like finely crafted perfection to my seven-year-old eyes, their questionable day-to-day practicality completely overshadowed by their unquestionably exotic shapes.
More than two decades later, I'm belting myself into the driver's seat of the 2015 Ferrari California T, the first turbocharged Ferrari since the F40 went out of production in 1992. The Tuscan countryside spreads out ahead, a twisting barrage of two-lane roads on the agenda, and I can't help but reminisce of my much younger self as I twist the red key and thumb the equally red ignition button on the steering wheel.