There have always been rumors surrounding Ferrari. But most of those rumors have revolved around its road cars, if not its Formula One operations: that the company is planning to build this type of car or that, that the team is planning to hire this driver or that one. But this one rumor that has only grown with time revolves around the company's affable chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo.

A member of Italy's hereditary aristocracy and a lawyer by profession, Montezemolo was a prodigy of both Enzo Ferrari and former Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli and quickly rose up the ranks in the both companies to preside over each. He's also chaired influential industrial groups and coordinated the World Cup when it was held in Italy, to say nothing of the America's Cup sailing team and high-speed rail company he's run. But his latest move could elevate him to an even more central role.

Montezemolo has for years been linked to a potential run for the premiership of Italy, and fresh reports out of Europe suggest that moment is finally approaching. In 2009, he formed a center-left think tank called Italia Futura, which could, the pundits predict, be rapidly turned into a political party that may place Montezemolo as its candidate for prime minister. In that role, he'd succeed Silvio Berlusconi – the embattled, right-leaning former prime minister with whom Montezemolo has long been at odds – and the economist Mario Monti who took his place as caretaker just last month.

Elections are currently scheduled for 2013, and if Montezemolo manages to mobilize Italia Futura's 40,000 members, he could soon be changing his job description to that of the highest office in the land.