Rules To Follow When Driving A Ferrari

The auto brand with the Prancing Horse logo is one of the most desirable in the world, but unlike many manufacturers, just buying a Ferrari doesn't automatically grant you access to its VIP club. In fact, the brand is famous for being highly selective with who it sells cars to, and owners are expected to obey a strict set of rules if they want to stay in the company's good books.

In many ways, you don't choose to buy a new Ferrari, rather Ferrari chooses you as a potential buyer. And, even if you're selected to buy one, owners who do something wrong can be quickly removed from the brand's approval list. Of course, the exact criteria for entering the upper echelons of the brand's circle of clientele is a strictly-kept secret. So, most of these rules are based on instances where an owner has slipped up, and Ferrari has voiced its disapproval.

Make friends with your local dealer

First and foremost, it's important that any would-be Ferrari collectors have a good relationship with their local dealer. The dealer will not only be their first point of contact for making any new purchase but will also be able to assist them if there are any issues with the car. However, forming a relationship with a dealer isn't as simple as just walking in and asking to buy a car. Apart from the usual financial checks, Ferrari is said to also conduct history checks that examine whether the potential buyer fits the image of one of its clients.

If the buyer passes those checks, they're then expected to buy at least one "lesser" Ferrari before the dealer will let them buy something higher in the range. This long-winded process has put off some collectors, with Jay Leno claiming he has no interest in buying a Ferrari because he simply "doesn't want to deal with the dealers."

Maintenance is key

Buying the car is one thing, but driving and maintaining it correctly is equally important. Ferrari expects that owners will properly maintain their vehicles at an approved dealership or workshop, usually at their local dealer. Anyone who becomes known for letting their Ferraris slip into disrepair can expect to get a frosty reception if they try to buy another. One particularly extreme example of this is the Sultan of Brunei, who at one point during the '90s was one of Ferrari's biggest customers.

His vast collection houses dozens of Ferraris, including several one-offs like the Mythos and the F90 Speciale. However, reports came out that most of his collection ended up lying abandoned in a run-down warehouse, and since then, he hasn't been seen in public driving any of Ferrari's more recent high-end cars. However, even buyers who don't have a warehouse full of rotting Ferraris should be careful where they service their vehicles. Cars with full dealer service histories tend to have a significantly higher resale value than those with mixed records, so anyone looking to sell their car later down the line should probably not cut any corners when servicing.

Don't lose it

This one might seem pretty obvious, but even so, some Ferrari owners didn't get the memo. Publicly losing your car and generating countless stories in the press about the fact that you can't find it is a surefire way to get on Ferrari's ban list. Canadian pop star Justin Bieber did exactly that with his 458 Italia, leaving it in the parking lot of a swanky Beverly Hills hotel and then forgetting exactly which swanky Beverly Hills hotel he'd left it at. After realizing the car was missing, Bieber reportedly sent an assistant to go and find it, although at first, it was nowhere to be seen.

His assistant eventually found the car a full three weeks later, by which time the story had leaked to the media, and Ferrari had undoubtedly caught wind of the saga. The brand never issued any public statement on the matter, but Bieber hasn't been seen in any new Ferraris since the incident. So, it's not unlikely that he isn't welcome as a customer anymore. As a side note, it's also not a good idea to abandon your Ferrari after crashing it. An owner in the UK recently left their totaled SF90 Stradale along the side of the road after hitting several parked cars, with the police unable to find the driver. After two days, it was still sitting abandoned, drawing headlines and, presumably, the ire of Ferrari once they found out.

Always pay on time

Another rule that might seem straightforward is to always pay for your new Ferrari. Still, it's not something everyone can manage, as rapper Tyga reportedly earned a spot on the brand's blacklist for stopping his payments on a 458 Spider. The car was leased through a Los Angeles-based rental company, and the rapper still owed around $44,000 when he suddenly stopped paying.

It was reported that the leasing company sued him for non-payment, eventually winning the case and repossessing the car. However, this alleged blacklisting didn't stop the rapper from picking up a used example of the LaFerrari from the official Ferrari of Beverly Hills dealership in 2019, although presumably he was made to pay in cash this time. Even if Tyga seems to have gotten off lightly, it now seems unlikely that he'd be selected to purchase one of the company's high-end cars brand new. Ferrari's bigwigs simply wouldn't accept any client who had a history of non-payment. In fact, he's lucky that the Beverly Hills dealer seemed happy to turn a blind eye.

Modifications are a no-no

As a general rule, modifying a Ferrari is always a bad idea. There are plenty of reports of the brand being unhappy with high-profile owners questionably modding their cars, but one of the most infamous is the case of Deadmau5. After plastering his 458 Italia with a brightly-colored Nyan Cat wrap and nicknaming it the "Purrari," the Canadian musician was sent a cease and desist letter by Ferrari for copyright infringement. They also took issue with the fact that Deadmau5 had put his car up for sale on Craigslist, as they saw it as making a mockery of the brand.

He backed down, and reportedly reverted the car back to stock before selling it. It's not the only time that Ferrari has sued to protect its brand from being associated with modifications, as a Belgian billionaire built a roofless F40 LM that Ferrari didn't approve of in the mid-'90s. After finding out about the custom roadster, the brand launched court proceedings to demand that its owner remove all the Ferrari branding from the car, which they did. The F40 went up for auction in 2005, but thanks to its official seal of disapproval from Ferrari, it failed to even reach its minimum reserve price of $195,000. For comparison, an unmodified example in good condition today can sell for more than $2,000,000.

Don't use the car for personal gain

Ferrari is notorious for its use of litigation to show its disapproval of customers who do things that the brand doesn't approve of. But, there's one case in particular where it's hard not to side with Ferrari. In 2018, the Italian brand accused fashion designer Philipp Plein of using Ferrari's trademark for his own personal gain, by including a Ferrari in his spring 2018 runway show, and in subsequent adverts. The brand also took issue with him showing off his latest line of shoes on Instagram by perching them on the rear window of his Ferrari, arguing that he clearly wanted consumers to make a connection between the two brands.

Plein's defense was that it was his own personal car and he could do what he wanted, but that argument didn't hold up in court, and he lost the case. Simply flaunting the car on Instagram would have probably gone unnoticed, but in Plein's case, it seems clear that he wanted to imply a commercial connection between his fashion brand and the Italian automaker. By winning the case in such a decisive manner, Ferrari made it clear that it doesn't tolerate any attempt by owners to use their cars for personal financial gain.

Don't flip the car

As well as using its cars as tools to promote a personal interest, Ferrari also takes a pretty dim view of anyone who buys one purely to make a profit. Buyers of exclusive cars that are found to be flipping them soon after owning them will face the blacklist, with Floyd Mayweather allegedly being on that list. He has become known for buying cars, keeping them for no more than a few months, then selling them on, often for significantly more than what he paid for them. He's also notorious for flexing his cars on Instagram more than driving them, another thing that Ferrari reportedly disapproves of.

It's worth noting that even blacklisted buyers are, according to Ferrari's official statement at least, still able to buy regular models of the car. Instead, it's just the limited–run special cars that Ferrari "reserves the right to decide on." So, any Ferrari drivers who have already run afoul of one or several of these rules probably shouldn't be too worried, unless they're looking to buy one of the brand's most exclusive upcoming cars.

Make sure to attend Ferrari events

So far, we've gone over a lot of things that drivers shouldn't do if they want the approval of Ferrari, but there are also plenty of things that should be done for buyers aiming to get into the VIP club. After buying a Ferrari for the first time, drivers can join an owners club to get access to exclusive events and meetings. It's important to show up and connect with fellow drivers and the brand's representatives to leave the best impression.

Participating in racing events like the Ferrari Challenge Series is also a good way to prove dedication to the brand, but for drivers with less spare time on their hands, just turning up to meetups and events is a good start. Even drivers with no intention of trying to get on the VIP waiting list should definitely make an effort to attend, as these events are some of the best places to meet like-minded enthusiasts and discuss all things Ferrari.

Drive it regularly

Another key rule for Ferrari drivers is to ensure that they drive their cars regularly. In an interview with Wired, businessman and Ferrari collector Robert Herjavec claimed that one of the key parts of getting access to the brand's most exclusive cars is proving loyalty to the brand, and the best way to do that is to get out and drive the Ferraris you already own. Not only that, but with all the rules around them, it's easy to forget that these are some of the greatest driving machines on Earth.

They're built to be enjoyed, and Ferrari actively encourages its clients to get out and enjoy their cars as often as possible. While most owners will be cautious about how and when they use their car, a few brave souls have even chosen to use their supercars every day. One Salt Lake City-based collector even uses his Enzo as a daily driver, and has racked up over 90,000 miles on it already.

Accept that sometimes, Ferrari just don't like you

For all the rules that come with trying to stay in Ferrari's good books, sometimes it simply isn't enough, and the brand will still refuse to sell a car to a particular buyer. In 2017, the Los Angeles Times ran a story on David Lee, a faithful Ferrari collector who owned a garage full of the rarest Prancing Horses in the world. He'd put his name down for the new LaFerrari Aperta, but the LA Times reported that he was refused a spot on the purchase list. He'd done everything right: He had a good relationship with his local dealer, and he even purchased a number of new "lesser" Ferraris in the hopes of getting his hands on the Aperta.

Unfortunately, the publicity from the LA Times article soured his relationship with Ferrari altogether, and it reportedly took five years for the brand to even agree to a meeting to discuss his concerns. He later managed to buy a LaFerrari Aperta anyway, but it's not clear whether it was direct from Ferrari, or through a used exotics dealer. The takeaway here is, obeying the rules only works up until a point, so anyone lucky enough to own and drive a Ferrari should probably just focus on enjoying it, rather than simply trying to appease the brand's dealers and executives.