This project, which brings the artistic expression of our time to Formula 1, is an initiative of Pirelli, the title sponsor of the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio d'Italia 2023, and of the Pirelli HangarBicocca museum of contemporary art. It is now in its third edition.
Tifone is the title of the trophy, of which four copies have been produced (three for the drivers at the podium and one for the representative of the winning Team). For this commission, the Italian artist Ruth Beraha has ingeniously transformed some mechanical components of racing cars such as the exhaust pipes into organic forms resembling snakes, with mythological overtones.
“I'm interested in refuting the duality of the conventional notion of winners versus losers – the idea that one wins on the other who loses. I started from the figure of the driver on the podium and I imagined the trophy as a creature that is tamed and domesticated when the winner holds it in his hands, but one that is always a potential threat and capable of taking everything back to square one.”
This is how the Italian artist Ruth Beraha (born in Milan in 1986, lives and works in Bologna) explains her idea for the Formula 1 winners. For many years, her artistic practice has explored the theme of human interactions within society, consistently juxtaposing strength and fragility, power and submission.
The outcome of this creative process is a vibrant, dynamic trophy that draws inspiration from the mechanical components of the car – and in particular from the exhaust system – in the form of Typhon, a creature from Greek mythology, which gives the trophy its name. The son of Gaia and the father of some of the most famous mythological monsters, Typhon is a creature of extraordinary strength with a hundred snakes on its head, and the personification of nature's most violent manifestations. This work of art, which is dedicated to all drivers, on the one hand represents a manifold of metal pipes from a racing-car engine and on the other a set of silver snakes with their jaws opened wide. Tifone is thus a metaphor for the enormous effort needed to achieve victory and for the complex relationship between the driver and the technology of the car: the power needed to attain victory but one that is hard to dominate entirely.
The artist envisions the driver on the podium as a contemporary incarnation of the Greek hero who, in the instant of his victory, restrains the seething bundle of snakes that are only momentarily tamed. Tifone conveys a powerful image, with its compressed energy seemingly poised to reawaken at any time, while evoking the transient and ultimately illusory nature of triumph.
The work was commissioned by Pirelli and the Pirelli HangarBicocca museum of contemporary art, which curated the selection of the artist. The trophy for the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio d'Italia 2023 is the outcome of a production process which combines hi-tech robotic processes such as 3-D design and cutting, with the craftsmanship of artisans specialized in welding, polishing, assembly and gilding – an intricate fusion of artistry and goldsmithing.
For the third consecutive year, Pirelli, on the occasion of the Grand Prix in which it is the title sponsor, together with Pirelli HangarBicocca, has commissioned an Italian artist to create the race trophy that will be raised on the podium. The initiative consolidates a tangible link between contemporary expressiveness and the never-ending pursuit of innovation in Formula 1. In 2021 the commission was entrusted to the artist Alice Ronchi on the occasion of the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna 2021 and in 2022 to Patrick Tuttofuoco for the Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio d'Italia 2022 at Monza.