Esteban Palazzo, el diseñador del McLaren Senna | Autonexo

Esteban Palazzo, el diseñador del McLaren Senna | Autonexo


He’s been McLaren’s
Principal Designer for 5 years. The last model he’s designed
is the McLaren Senna. It’s an honor
to have him here today. Let’s give a warm welcome
to Esteban. He’s been so kind
to join us today. To understand Esteban,
we need to understand his roots. He comes from Tucuman, Argentina.
The youngest of eight siblings, he went to Europe
when he was just 18. He was hungry for glory. He went there
to cover himself in glory. He went there
to become a car designer. And he fulfilled his dream
in none other than McLaren, one of the top
sports car manufacturer. Today, McLaren’s most extreme,
ultimate vehicle is the Senna
and Esteban Palazzo did it. It’s the car… Esteban is very sweet. Everybody loves him. When I was pregnant,
I thought: “Oh, my God!
Eight children! Bless him!” All his siblings were excited
to have a new little brother. And it was Esteban. At school, his classmates
asked him to draw cars for them. He spent all his time
drawing cars. The teacher told him:
“Esteban, stop drawing cars. Study. You won’t get
anywhere drawing cars.” There was a pool where
we now have the garden. The pool guy had a Fiat Palio.
It was all tuned. I hated what he had done
with the car. I asked him
if I could draw his car. And I drew a different fender,
and different parts. He encouraged me to go
to Noren’s auto repair shop. I started going there. I thought Noren
would kick me out. But he invited me in. He taught me
to apply putty, and to prime a surface
before painting. My father was afraid
I would end up painting cars. For me,
that was not a problem. My dream at the time was
having a great auto repair shop. I wanted to do something
cool or vintage. In Tucuman at the time, it was unusual for me
to find so close to home an auto repair shop
for American cars, for European cars.
It was rare. I used to tell him
it was very close to home. I felt I couldn’t be
closer to my dream. I was over the moon. You weren’t 17 when you
started coming to the shop. I was 13
when I started going. That’s right. And drawing was already
a vital part of your life. He started high school. I was his art teacher
at Boisdron High School. Picture him at 12!
He was always drawing cars. I don’t want to be repetitive,
but he was always drawing cars. Between one page and the other,
he always drew these things. We met again when
he was finishing high school. He called me to see if I
could teach him to draw cars. I told him:
“I can teach you to draw. I can teach you
all the drawing techniques. But you have to bring
the creativity to the table.” He never judged me.
He never told me not to draw cars. He told me: “If you want to draw
cars, you’ll be good at it. You’ll learn to do it well. With the appropriate perspective.” I had classes with him
on Saturdays at his mother’s. I think she had a store.
I don’t remember very well. She had those big rolls of paper to wrap eggs and stuff. Brown paper rolls.
We draw there. In front of the place
where we had classes downtown, there was a Fiat 600. I told him:
“We will transform that Fiat. Turn it into a racing car. Change the shafts,
bring it down. Think!” I wanted him to emulate that,
and be closer to… I wanna say “real life”. Mind you,
I’m just a school teacher. An art teacher. I know nothing of mechanics. But I tried to encourage him
to let his imagination fly. And he took up the challenge. This is Esteban’s
kindergarten folder. It’s always at hand… because it’s a nice memory. I think Esteban was born
with a car in his hand. Ever since he was a child,
when he started walking, he has been fascinated by cars. As soon as he started drawing,
he began sketching cars. When he was in kindergarten, he always drew cars. Look, more cars! Esteban was never
a problem for me. – His father was!
– Yes! He wouldn’t let him go
study Design in Europe. He was adamant in his refusal.
He said he was too young. He might let him go to Germany
because he had family there. He said Esteban needed
to be supported. But he didn’t need
any of that. I knew
he was born to succeed. As soon as I saw him,
I thought: “He will be famous.” The key
to a successful parenting is listening to your kids. You shouldn’t fear
what they might say. – It’s worked for us.
– Exactly. I spent all my time
drawing cars. Really. Today, I would be sent
to a psychopedagogist, to a I-don’t-know-what-gyst,
to the mechanic, but no. My teachers scolded me:
“This is not right”. When I took the career test, they asked me
what I wanted to study. “I want to design cars.” “Choose a career
that actually exists! Time went by,
and I went to university. I studied Mechanical
Engineering for half a year. “Why do you study this?”
“I have to study something.” Then my Dad asked me:
“What do you want to study?” “Car design, Dad!” Okay, look into it
and we’ll see what we can do. And I looked into it.
I looked into it in the US. It was great.
$45,000 a year! I then looked into it in Italy.
It was closer to my budget. We heard the same school
would open in Barcelona. And it was affordable. With my parents’ help… Please, indulge me today.
Give them a round of applause. Yesterday’s speech
was very emotional for me. I don’t come across
as a very serious person, but I take people’s lives
very seriously. Many people in the audience were
listening to take the next step. I think I managed
to drive my message home. The kids’ feedback
was amazing. It was awesome. I felt great. And I could fulfill
a dream of mine, asking for a round
of applause for my parents. Because they gave it their all
to me. They gave it their all to me. Their way.
But they did it. Esteban wanted
to study design, but he couldn’t do it
here, in Argentina. It wasn’t easy to find out
where to study abroad. His father wrote to a TV show,
“A todo motor”, hosted by Rubén Daray,
who was very famous at the time. He asked him
for some guidance. I sent him an e-mail asking him where Esteban
could study design. Because the US courses
were very expensive. He said the best school in Europe
was in Turin. Our TV show had turned
into a point of reference. We were able to help many people because we had an agreement
with the Istituto Europeo di Design based in Turin, Italy. We had an agreement with them. All these kids
that later became designers were able to attend a 3-year master
in Turin thanks to the agreement. The same school
had a branch in Barcelona. I had to travel there. Every two years, I attend
a liver congress in Barcelona. I told him to come with me
to look into it. We were in Barcelona,
and my dad had to return. He told me:
“Come back with me if you want. You shouldn’t suffer.” Fortunately, I had the clarity
to tell him: “No, I have to do this. I know I have to.” And the following day,
that vivid image! Saying goodbye to my father,
and seeing him leave. I turned around, and went back to do
what I had to do. It was not
a financial sacrifice. It was
an emotional sacrifice. I was working in Barcelona. But my aim was to return
to the automotive industry. I had tried in Spain,
but it was not possible. For personal reasons,
I had to move to England. I started sending portfolios,
and looking for a job. It was very tricky. I was living in Spain
with a work visa, but they asked for a European
nationality. It was difficult. A friend of mine,
Jens Paulus, told me Frank Stephenson was coming
for a lecture at the university. At the time, he was
the Design Director at McLaren. Frank told many anecdotes
about his career. He talked about the time
they were creating the Mini. During the real-scale model
stage, they finish, they celebrate,
and they drink a Bud. He starts
walking around the car, and he realizes it doesn’t
have an exhaust pipe. And he adds two Bud cans
to the Mini Cooper. His design wins,
and goes into production. The supplier asked him
how he imagined the exhaust pipe. He literally gave him
a can of beer, and told him: “This profile”.
And it worked. I held to that idea. The conference finished, and I
didn’t have my portfolio with me. I didn’t know what to tell Frank
to strike up a conversation. And I introduced myself
as follows: “I’m Esteban Palazzo, a legal
representative from Budweiser. You talked about a patented design
for mass consumption being used in another patented design
for mass consumption.” In fluent Spanish, he answered:
“I won’t argue this with you.” “Neither will I because
I don’t work for Budweiser.” So he told me:
“Who are you?” “I’m a designer,
and a fan of your work.” He reached
for his business card, and he told me: “I want
to know more about you.” And he gave me
his business card. On July 9 2010, I travelled to England. I had an 8-hour interview
with Frank. At the end of the day,
he told me: “I’ve just confirmed
I can spend 8 hours with you. You can start
whenever you want.” It was an exceptional day. But I also woke up to the fact that I would have to improve
a lot to be on a par with McLaren’s designers. There were three.
I would be the fourth. I heard there was an internal
contest to design the 650S. I submitted my proposals
in secret because I was not invited to
take part in the competition. My proposal was different
in that it included prices. It specified
the manufacturing cost. There was one option
with brand new components, and another option,
that was finally manufactured, that used the P1 headlights. The CEO at that time
was Antony Sheriff. He chose my proposal. It was no short step.
I went from being a Junior to being a Project Leader
overnight. When we started
working on the Senna, we needed to create
the fastest car. While we were doing it,
we thought many times: “It’s not a nice car”. It hurts. We are designers.
We try to create beautiful things. When we launched the car,
people didn’t understand it. But as time went by,
they started understanding it. It’s rewarding now that people
don’t always identify… “Which Lamborghini is this?
The Huracan or the Aventador?” But the Senna is the Senna.
There’s no way around it! Like it or not, it’s the Senna. It has aggressive features. It’s been designed with a
completely different philosophy. Its personality is unique. Imagine, for example,
a drop of water. Picture a drop of water
made of carbon. The faster you want it to be,
the more streamlined it is. It’s called “biomimicry”,
you mimic Nature. You cannot ignore it. It’s been developing
for thousands of years. It knows how to behave
in the face of the elements. A bird that’s taking off spreads its wings to have
more surface to push. When the bird wants to hunt, it closes its wings,
makes a perfect fuselage, goes into a steep dive,
and reaches maximum speed. That’s what we do. If we want to brake,
we spread out. If we want to rev up,
we shrink. This car was born
to break speed records. For extreme grip. This was my room. Now it’s become
a treasure chest of memories. My mom fondly keeps
everything here. Everything! From the drawings
I did with Adrián to my technical drawing
classes from my very short time
in Mechanical Engineering. This is a thousand years old. I dreamt of turning a Fiat 600
into a roadster. I remember everything.
It was Noren’s idea. He wanted to put a VW engine
in a Fiat 600 to transform it. It was crucial for me.
I thought we would do it. I took it very seriously. I applied what I learnt
with Adrián. Look at this! The original plan was
to make a convertible Fiat 600. I think Noren got carried away. Me too. Of course. We made it wider.
We made it bigger. I took this project so seriously, we had even done the so-called
“orthographic projections”. To manufacture it. We had called it
“Deaco 600 Project”. Success is an anecdote. What happens meanwhile
is what’s most important. As life goes on…
I am 34 now. I think my career
has just started. But the engineers’ hard points are harder and harder
as time goes by. And you have
bigger responsibilities. If you haven’t dreamt big
as a child, it gets more difficult
once you’re an adult. But you shouldn’t
stop dreaming. That’s my message. Think abstractly,
make an effort, and turn it into
something concrete, okay? Thanks a lot. I’m a very fearful person. I suffer from anxiety. I’ve even had
some panic attacks. Those are the scars
of this effort. You shouldn’t ignore fear. You have to minimize it,
you have to write it, you have to talk about it. But you can’t tire
your friends with your fears. Nor your partner.
You must learn to cope with it. Once you learn
to cope with it, you become indestructible. You are invincible.


62 thoughts on “Esteban Palazzo, el diseñador del McLaren Senna | Autonexo

  1. a quien no le puede gustar ese mclaren. como dicen en una pelicula…. "a los hombres nos gustan las mujeres… pero amamos los autos". muy buen docu.

  2. Que tremendo Documental…….INCREIBLE el trabajo de Gabriel Silveria…Filo… Que fenomenal manera de transmitir la Grandeza y Humildad de Esteban Palazzo…. Sencillamente Gracias!!!

  3. Msj a pergolini: desde el día que afirmaste apoyar a macri, Te cancele para siempre y no te Apoyé/ seguí más. Sabelo. Te lo digo por acá porque cobardemente no permitís comentarios en tu vídeo.
    Ni olvido ni perdón.

  4. Muy inspiradora la historia. Ya había leído bastante sobre este diseñador… Ahora lo que no se comenta en el doc es que el Senna se prende fuego. Aparece en el vídeo el senna de salomundo que fue un caso muy popular de cuando el auto de la nada se empezó a prender fuego hasta consumirse del todo

  5. Qué bien contada su historia… El merito es de Esteban, pero su entorno lo empujó con fuerza hacia arriba. Filo se pasó con este video. La primera vez que me emocionan y espero que no sea la última. Sigan así cracks…

  6. desde que conoci este auto me encanto y ahora mas que se que lo diseño un Tucumano, tremendo mini documental y hermoso homenaje

  7. Increíble la historia de Esteban. Gran carisma, profesionalismo, humildad y perseverancia. Un gran ejemplo. Gracias al Polaco por mostrarnos gente que vale la pena. Que orgullo que nos representen tan bien!!! Muchas gracias !!!

  8. Lastima no se si él llegue a tener uno y algo que me acorde y me vino a la mente fue el recuerdo de que a salomundo o salomondrin que es como llama a su canal etc etc mediante un gran esfuerzo se compro el sena que se ve en algunos segmentos y desgraciadamente se le incendio y mclaren nunca se hizo responsable es un fallo supongo mecanico u electrico no digo que el auto sea malo pero estaria bueno que ubiesen aclarado que fue lo que provoco esa desgracia y por que no se responzabilizaron dejando de lado eso mil disculpas y felicidades por enorgullecer a los argentinos

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