The Rich History of Ferrari in Formula1

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Le fondateur de Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari, à Imola le 20 mars 1985, Italie. (Photo by Gianni GIANSANTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

“I want to build a car faster than all of them and then I want to die.”  – Enzo Ferrari

For over 70 years Ferrari has been the most famous team in the most famous series in motorsport—Formula 1.  Founder Enzo Ferrari often spoke of how he only sold road cars to support his passion for his race cars and racing.  From the very beginning, it was about winning and Ferrari’s drive to build the best cars in the world on the track led to some of the best cars off the track. Even the magnificent beauty of his cars was tied to their performance for Ferrari for as he said “Race cars are neither ugly nor beautiful. They become beautiful when they win.” It was the drive for speed and victory that drove Ferrari, not style or grace, but speed.  It was within the hallowed walls of some of the greatest tracks in motorsport—Monaco, Monza, Hockenheim, Spa, and others—that the dynasty that is Scuderia Ferrari was built, and along with it, the history of Formula 1.

The Rich History of Ferrari in Formula1

Enzo Ferrari’s first Formula 1 victory came in 1951 at the hands of José Froilán González (“the Pampas Bull”) at the British Grand Prix.  Ferrari had struggled beforehand to find the right combination of big powerful engines and sleek bodies.  All of the hard work came together that fateful day in England and Ferrari never looked back. Ferrari won back to back Championships with Alberto Ascari(1952, 1953) and the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio(1956) won his fourth Championship at the helm of the Prancing Horse. Mike Hawthorne finished out the 50’s by winning a championship with Ferrari in 1958. The 60’s saw the Ferrari legacy grow with championships for both Phil Hill(1961) and John Surtees(1964).  As Ferrari continued to prove their speed on a consistent basis, their popularity and power grew within Formula 1.

By the 1970’s Formula 1 was undergoing a revolution.  Driver safety, alongside technology, was changing at a blinding pace.  Enzo Ferrari found himself in the midst of a sport that was evolving.  The man that had said “aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines” was finding aerodynamics to be a bigger and bigger part of the formula of Formula 1.  Ferrari did what every great racer does-he found a way to be faster in the midst of all the changes. Niki Lauda(1975,1977) drove the Prancing Horse to victory twice in the drivers’ championship. Jody Scheckter(1979) won the last championship Ferrari would see for 21 years.

Ferrari finds a saviour

After many difficult years, Ferrari finally found redemption in the form of Michael Schumacher. In the 2000’s they would enter a period of domination that had rarely been seen in F1 before.  They won the championship double of the drivers’ and constructors’ championship from 2000-2004 with the brilliant Schumacher at the helm.  Then, in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen took what would be the last drivers’ championship  for Ferrari to date. The constructors’ championship in 2008 is the last title won by Ferrari.

Once again, Ferrari seems to be on an upswing.  Kimi Raikkonen is again driving for the legendary team, alongside former four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.  This season Vettel vied for the championship, being the first one to challenge the dominance of Mercedes in the hybrid era.  Vettel led the championship race for a large part of the season, however, mechanical failures and team errors saw him fall out of contention by the Mexican GP.

Now with the 2017 season completed, the focus shifts to the 2018 season and the hope that once again Ferrari will be atop the Formula 1 Championship standings.  With that comes the hope that Sebastian Vettel may do for the team what his hero and mentor, Michael Schumacher did, and continues to build an empire that in turn builds the history of Formula 1.

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