The name ‘Ferrari’ is synonymous with Formula One, but the Italian team has struggled to replicate the success it enjoyed after five dominant seasons with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s.
Created by the ‘Commendatore’, the unique figure of Enzo Ferrari, the Scuderia is the only team to have constructed its entire car, engine included, throughout its Grand Prix racing history. It has done so since 1950, when the World Championship began.
When it comes to records, Ferrari is unmatched. The Italian outfit is the only team with over 200 victories, over 200 pole positions and over 200 fastest laps. No team has won more Constructors’ titles than Ferrari’s 16. No other team has seen 15 of its drivers crowned World Champion.
Ferrari’s first Grand Prix win came at Silverstone, in the British Grand Prix of 1951, when the Argentine driver Froilan Gonzalez, ‘The Pampas Bull’, took victory. Other legends have included Albert Ascari, who won Ferrari’s first World Championships in 1952 and 1953; the peerless Fangio carried on the tradition in 1956; and the iconic Gilles Villeneuve, who won six times for the Scuderia between 1978 and 1981 and gave his life in a Ferrari in 1982.
However their record combined cannot match the legendary Michael Schumacher. When the German joined the team in 1996, it had barely scored a dozen wins in a decade. By the time Schumacher took his sabbatical from the sport at the end of the 2006 season, he had claimed five titles driving for the Scuderia and 72 of his record 91 victories came during his Maranello years.
Ferrari’s most recent world champion driver, Kimi Räikkönen, won the title for the Scuderia in 2007. The team also won the Constructors Championship that year and in 2008, but Felipe Massa was cruelly denied his title by a single point gained by Lewis Hamilton on the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the season.
Fernando Alonso joined the team with the hope of adding to his two world titles, but after five seasons, the Spaniard had failed to do so. Ferrari endured a miserable season in 2014, failing to score a race win for the first time since 1993.
When Alonso quit the team, moving back to McLaren where he had spent a season in 2007, the team successfully lured Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion, to the squad as his replacement alongside Raikkonen.
A host of managerial changes preceded the 2015 season, including the sacking of team principal Marco Mattiacci after just seven months to be replaced with Maurizio Arrivabene and then the standing down of long-time president Luca di Montezemolo with Sergio Marchionne stepping in.
Those changes brought instant success as Vettel won in only his second race for the team and the German scored two more victories in 2015. But the team failed to match that feat in 2016 and went winless for the second time in three years.
The updated regulations for 2017 have given the team the chance to finally fight Mercedes for the championship and it has produced an aggressive machine in the SF70H. The Scuderia has learnt from 2016 – when it promised much and did not deliver – and the squad is quietly confident it can have a positive year in 2017.