Maserati Donna: An Ode to a Racing Muse | Savoir Flair
Maserati Donna: An Ode to a Racing Muse
by Jana Shakhashir 5-minute read November 27, 2023

Embark on a journey through the enchanting streets of Modena, where the legacy of Maria Teresa de Filippis intertwines with the pioneering spirit of Maserati Donna, crafting a tale of speed, elegance, and empowerment.


In the bygone era of roaring engines and racing legends, Maria Teresa de Filippis emerged as a beacon of defiance and grace. As the first woman to compete in Formula 1, her hands masterfully steering a Maserati, she painted a vivid picture of courage against the backdrop of a male-dominated sport. Her story, steeped in determination and elegance, mirrored the very essence of the Maserati she commanded – a blend of power, beauty, and audacity.

Maria Teresa's journey on the race tracks of the mid-20th century was more than a tale of motorsport. It was a narrative that transcended boundaries, challenging perceptions and inspiring generations. Her presence in the fast-paced world of Formula 1, often marred by the roars of disbelief as much as the engines, was a symphony of resilience. Each race, each turn of the wheel, was a statement – a declaration that women belonged in the world of high-speed chases and checkered flags.


Fast forward to the present, the spirit of Maria Teresa de Filippis finds a resonating echo in the streets of Modena, Italy. This historic city, a tapestry of architectural splendor and automotive innovation, stands as a testament to the intertwining of tradition and modernity. The cobbled streets and ancient facades of Modena, whispering tales of a rich past, set the stage for Maserati Donna – an initiative reflective of Maria Teresa's legacy, aimed at redefining luxury car ownership for a new era of women.


Maserati's heart beats in Modena, a city that has become synonymous with automotive brilliance and innovation. Founded in Bologna in 1914 by Alfieri Maserati and his brothers, the Maserati brand has long epitomized luxury, performance, and quintessential Italian craftsmanship. The brand’s relocation to Modena in 1939 under the Orsi family marked the beginning of an 80-year legacy, intertwining Maserati's destiny with the city's rich history. Here, in its historic headquarters and the Maserati Innovation Lab, the brand has developed and tested cars that embody luxury, elegance, style, and unmatched quality, captivating hearts in over 70 markets worldwide. Modena, with its air redolent of racing heritage and forward-thinking, is the perfect cradle for Maserati Donna, a program that breathes new life into the narrative first ignited by Maria Teresa de Filippis decades ago.


Our journey into the heart of Maserati began at the Fuoriserie, the brand's showroom and customization studio where the dreams of clients materialize into bespoke automotive creations. Here, surrounded by the latest models and historical artifacts, the stories of women at Maserati unfolded. Engineers, designers, and executives, each narrating their unique journey, painting a vivid picture of a brand that embraces change, innovation, and female empowerment.

Elisa, Maserati's General Manager for Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Andorra, shared revealing insights into the changing landscape of luxury car ownership. Just three years ago, Maserati's clientele was overwhelmingly male, with women accounting for a mere two percent of their buyers. However, by 2023, this dynamic has shifted remarkably, with women now representing 12 percent of Maserati's customer base – a statistic that speaks volumes about societal transformation and changing preferences. Women, Elisa explained, are increasingly drawn to a unique blend of performance, luxury, and personalization in their vehicles, a trend perfectly encapsulated by the Grecale, Maserati's newest SUV to join the line-up. In her role as the first female General Manager in Maserati's storied history, Elisa represented a broader narrative of breaking barriers and forging new paths. Her presence in the boardroom, once a rarity, was now a symbol of progress, echoing Maserati Donna's mission of empowering women within the automotive sector and beyond.


Our exploration delved deeper into the art of customization with Livia, Maserati's Color and Material Specialist. Her passion for her work was palpable as she described how each vehicle is not just a machine, but an expression of its owner's personality. Livia emphasized that the process of selecting colors, materials, and finishes transcends mere aesthetics; it's about crafting a personal story, turning the car into a canvas for individual expression. She encourages customers to boldly choose what resonates with them, ensuring that their Maserati is a true reflection of their taste and character. Livia also delights in embedding unique easter eggs or personal references within the design – subtle details that serve as 'a little joy for their eyes only,' making each Maserati not just a car, but a treasure trove of personal anecdotes and surprises.

Maserati's commitment to sustainability also came to the forefront. Its approach extends beyond the mere adoption of electric technology; it's woven into the very DNA of the brand. Maserati cars are renowned for their enduring appeal; they don’t become outdated but instead are treasured for decades. The average lifespan of a Maserati can span 30 to 35 years, a testament to the brand's dedication to crafting vehicles that stand the test of time. The car's enduring quality is not just a hallmark of luxury; it is, in essence, a sustainable practice. The same philosophy is being applied to the Folgore line – Maserati’s aim is not just to introduce electric vehicles but to ensure that these vehicles, like their gasoline counterparts, are characterized by their longevity and timeless design.


When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), the environmental impact and hazards of discarded batteries often emerge as a topic of significant controversy and concern. When I asked the team about their plans for disposal in the design and functionality of their batteries, I learned that they're comprised of 32 individual modules. This modular design is critical, as it allows for the replacement of individual modules if issues arise, rather than the entire battery, significantly prolonging its overall lifespan. Then, the life of a Maserati battery extends beyond its use in the vehicle itself. Once a battery reaches a point where it's no longer efficient for automotive use, it finds a new purpose in energy storage. Maserati envisions these batteries serving critical roles in hospitals, arenas, and public buildings, acting as reliable power sources during outages, effectively replacing conventional generators. When the batteries have eventually reached the end of their lifecycle, Maserati has established a comprehensive recycling program to ensure that batteries are not only repurposed but also eventually recycled and treated properly. This program is supported by a network of dealers who are thoroughly instructed in handling the batteries, and partnerships and contracts are already in place to facilitate this process, and the car hasn't even been released yet. 


As evening descended upon Modena, our experience took a delightful gastronomic turn at Roots, a local restaurant that is more than just a culinary destination. This establishment, operated by migrant women living in Modena, not only offers a warm ambiance and authentic cuisine but also stands as a beacon of integration and empowerment. At Roots, the culture of Modena’s newest chefs comes alive with seasonal menus inspired by trainees from diverse backgrounds, including Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, and Nigeria. Each visit to Roots is a discovery, a journey through the stories and recipes of women from all over the world, converging in this unique space. The restaurant, functioning as a co-working space by day and a vibrant eatery by night, celebrates diversity and creates opportunities for migrant women passionate about food and eager to embark on a career in the culinary industry. The ever-changing menu reflects the evolving cohort of trainees, ensuring that each experience at Roots is distinct and memorable. Roots, in essence, aligns seamlessly with the ethos of Maserati Donna – both striving to empower women and provide them with a platform to showcase their talents and strengths. The restaurant not only nurtures the culinary skills of migrant women but also offers a window into their rich cultural heritage. 


The following day unveiled the thrill of the open road. Behind the wheel of the Grecale, the scenic vineyards of Modena unfolded like a painting. The Grecale was more than a car; it was a companion on a journey of discovery, blending comfort, elegance, and the joy of driving. It felt as though the car and I had been acquainted for years; it was an instantaneous connection, as if the vehicle was an extension of my own being. The comfort, the intuitive handling, the responsive throttle – it all came together in a harmonious symphony, making me feel at home, safe, and in control, despite it being my first encounter with a Maserati. The roads of Modena, flanked by rows of vineyards and the charm of the Italian countryside, became a playground for this exquisite piece of machinery.

As enjoyable as a leisurely ride through Italian vineyards was, the Dubai girl in me yearned for something more – I wanted to really see what the Grecale could do. But there I was, trailing behind the driver in the MC20. After some hesitation, wondering if I was overstepping, or if the Maserati team would appreciate a bit of boundary-pushing, I seized the opportunity and overtook the car, relishing the feel of the Grecale responding eagerly to my desire for speed. The open road ahead was inviting, and I didn't hold back, letting the car glide swiftly along the scenic route. It was exhilarating, a rush of adrenaline mixed with the sheer joy of driving. The moment was made even more memorable when we stopped for lunch and the Maserati team playfully ribbed the journalist driving the MC20. 'Overtaken by a Grecale, how dare you?' they teased. 


As our time in Modena drew to a close, the essence of Maserati Donna lingered. Inspired by the indomitable spirit of Maria Teresa de Filippis, this initiative was more than a campaign; it was a celebration of progress, a narrative of empowerment, and a vision of a future where luxury, performance, and equality drive forward in perfect harmony. In the enchanting streets of Modena, Maserati isn't just crafting cars; it's shaping experiences, forging memories, and sculpting a legacy that transcends the confines of the automotive world.

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