LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Five different drivers took the checkered flag during the Formula One season last year. The winning cars all had one thing in common -- brakes or clutches supplied by Italian parts supplier Brembo.
The Bergamo-based company established its foothold in the racing world 40 years ago. Since then, Brembo has expanded its customer base by supplying braking systems for car manufacturers such as Ferrari and Porsche, a business that has made the company's chairman, Alberto Bombassei, a billionaire.
"One of Brembo's greatest fortunes has been the opportunity to enter the world of racing in 1975, when the company started to supply Ferrari in Formula One," Bombassei said in an e-mail. "This has enabled Brembo over the years to test on the track new technological solutions, which over time have been transferred to road cars and bikes."
Demand for high-end vehicles has helped Brembo's share price double in the last year. Revenue increased 11 percent to 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in 2012.
Bombassei controls 53.5 percent of Brembo and has a net worth of $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has never appeared on an international wealth ranking. The billionaire's stake in the brake manufacturer is controlled through the family's holding company, Nuova Fourb Srl, whose shares are held in equal proportion under the names of Bombassei's two children, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.