Tracing the history of Scuderia Ferrari is tracing the history of F1 from the origins … or almost! Although it was absent from the inaugural round, it is the only team to have lived through all the seasons since 1950. The Scuderia is celebrating its 1000 this Sunday.e Grand Prix at Mugello, Italy, on a circuit that belongs to him. A nice wink, even if this historic milestone occurs in a very dark context, against a backdrop of controversy, a failed car, catastrophic results and internal crisis. But this is not the first time by the way!
Almost all of them!
1000e GP for Ferrari, 1027e for F1: where did the missing 27 races go? We have already mentioned the 1er GP of Silverstone in 1950, failed because Ferrari was engaged that day in a more profitable race. Other missed races are often linked to voluntary non-commitments in the 1950s, where nothing required a regular presence, especially as the constructors' championship did not exist. This is especially the case of the Indianapolis 500 miles, which was on the official calendar until 1960. There were also the 1973 Dutch and German Grand Prix which were deliberately skipped in the face of tuning concerns. But the absences are also, unfortunately, linked to tragedies which forced the team to withdraw: this is the case of the 1976 Austrian GP, which followed Niki Lauda's accident at the Nürburgring (a false pretext, because this withdrawal, initially announced for the rest of the season, was a political maneuver against the sporting power, which the Scuderia accused of favoring McLaren) or the Belgian GP 1982, following the death of Gilles Villeneuve.
100e GP: Germany 1963, the 1time by Surtees
And yes, due to a lack of a light schedule at the time, it took 13 years for Ferrari to reach its 100e race! When you think that 100 GP are now achieved in 4 and a half seasons … Ferrari, too conservative at the time, always seems to be one step behind. After missing the rear engine revolution in 1959 against Cooper, the 156/63 still rests on a tubular chassis, while Lotus and BRM impose the monocoque chassis, with great success. In this year 1963, Jim Clark was unbeatable with his Lotus and had four straight wins at the start of the season. In the German GP, he started again from pole position but a failure of his V8 Climax allowed Surtees to take the lead and win his 1time race, the first for two years also for Ferrari. Soon after, the Scuderia introduced the much more modern 156 Aero, which served as the basis for the 158 of 1964, which enabled the Briton to win the title.
200e GP: Brazil 1973, Agnelli and FIAT bang their fists on the table
Since John Surtees slammed the door in 1966, the Scuderia seems to be in a never-ending crisis. Driven by financial difficulties, Enzo Ferrari was forced to "sell" his brand to FIAT in 1969, while retaining control of the sporting management of the Scuderia. But apart from a few feats occasionally accomplished by an Ickx, a Regazzoni or an Andretti, the seasons follow and resemble each other, with many disappointments. Ferrari V12s are being chopped off by the dashing V8 Cosworth and the chassis are often disappointing, prompting Ferrari to fire their iconic technical director, Mauro Forghieri. The atmosphere is also heavy in Italy, amid the economic crisis, union tensions and political tensions with the Red Brigades. But in 1973, it was the last straw. The 312B3 is a total flop. The internal situation is tense with Ickx, who slams the door after Monza. Ferrari even allows itself to miss two GPs in a row, in the Netherlands and in Germany! Agnelli bangs his fist on the table and demands a profound reorganization: Forghieri is recalled and Ferrari must sacrifice the sport prototypes to focus on F1. Enzo Ferrari must also accept the appointment to sports management of a new man placed by FIAT, Luca di Montezemolo. Finally, to compensate for the departure of Ickx, the Scuderia made the bet – criticized at the time – to bet on a young Austrian, Niki Lauda. We know what happened next, with the launch in 1974 of a formidable winning machine.
300e GP: Netherlands 1979, Villeneuve the tightrope walker
In 1979, Ferrari responded to wing cars English with the 312 T4. Because of the flat 12 cylinder, the Ferrari cannot exactly reproduce the aerodynamic phenomenon of the side skirts, but it compensates with its transverse gearbox, engine power and very competitive Michelin radial tires. Gilles Villeneuve is unleashed in Zandvoort and takes the lead at 11e turn in passing Jones at the cost of a daring maneuver. Only, true to his habits, the Quebecois does not spare his mount and uses a lot of his tires. Around the middle of the race he started to suffer from a slow flat tire, but that didn't seem to bother him. At 47e turn, Jones puts pressure on him and pushes him to fault. Villeneuve leaves with the knife between his teeth, but at 51e turn, his left rear tire bursts in the straight line! He spun around the Tarzan bend and ended up in the gravel… but where most of the drivers would have given up, Villeneuve came back to the track and decided to end his lap! The wheel and suspension do not hold up for long, so the Ferrari sway and the chassis scrapes the ground in a fireworks display! Villeneuve brings his broken mount back to the stand. A balancing act which is useless, but which forges a little more the legend of the Canadian … while arousing strong criticism because of the reckless risks taken by the pilot. Not enough to cool him down …
400e GP: USA 1986, Enzo Ferrari prepares his last revolution
The story repeats itself. In 1986, Ferrari was still struggling, stagnating because of the lag behind the British but also Japanese competition, in this case Honda, which imposed its incredible V6 turbo. Despite having joined the movement launched by Renault in 1980, Ferrari found it very difficult to master turbo technology: its V6 makes quite a few horsepower, not to mention the reliability problems. On the chassis side too, it was stagnation, despite the opening abroad of Ferrari which recruited the English Postelthwhaite and the French Jean-Claude Migeot. The lack of a proper wind tunnel penalizes the Scuderia enormously, as F1 enters the field of electronics and CAD. Behind the scenes too this year, FISA wanted to ban Turbo engines by 1989 and even considered limiting atmo engines to 8 cylinders. A heresy for Ferrari which keeps its V12 at all costs and even plans, just to put the pressure on, to go in Indycar. In the USA, in the hot streets of Detroit, the 500e Ferrari GP is anonymous, with a 4e Alboreto's place and Johansson's retirement due to an alternator failure. Enzo Ferrari drew all the consequences of this dull 1986 season and, even if it meant offending the purists, made a daring choice: he recruited John Barnard, famous McLaren designer, at a gold price, giving him carte blanche to develop future Ferraris. from its design office based in England!
500e GP: Hungary 1992, Montezemolo bis!
Another crisis! If 1991 was a annus horribilis, with the implosion of the Scuderia against a backdrop of internal war, the dismissal of Cesare Fiorio and then that of Alain Prost, the 1992 season was even worse in terms of performance. The F92A is unreliable, lags significantly behind Williams and McLaren in terms of active suspension and electronic aids, not to mention the concept of a double flat bottom which is proving ineffective. Jean Alesi does what he can with his red wagon while his poor teammate Ivan Capelli, totally out of the way, will come out of this 1992 season broken (but he nevertheless scores 1 point in Budapest!) Irony of history, as in 1973, Luca di Montezemolo once again arrives as a savior. Having become president of Ferrari in 1991, he announced in Budapest the return of John Barnard to technical management, three years after his surprise departure. An announcement soon followed by the recruitment of Gerhard Berger, and the first contacts established with Jean Todt, then at the head of Peugeot Sport. The first fruits of the resurrection of the Scuderia are in germ …
600e GP: Belgium 1998, Schumi red with anger!
The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix went down in history for several reasons. First, the start, in the rain, which was marked by an apocalyptic pile-up involving about fifteen cars! Under these conditions, Schumacher shows himself, as often, to his advantage and takes the controls, rolling a tone above the competition. This is an opportunity not to be missed for the "Kaiser" as his main rival for the title, Mika Hakkinen, was initially eliminated. While the McLarens crushed the start of the season, Ferrari returned to the race. The German could take back the lead in the championship!
At 25e lap, Schumacher is about to take a lap from David Coulthard, dead last and totally in distress in the rain of Spa. In the small straight line which precedes Pouhon's double left, Coulthard lines up on the right of the track and slows down sharply to let the German pass … except that the latter, blinded by the splashing water, does not see the deceleration of the Scottish and hit the McLaren head-on! Schumacher found himself on three wheels and had to retire. Arriving at the pits, furious, he got out of his car and rushed towards Coulthard to settle his account… but the numerous mechanics present in the pitlane avoided the fight. The retirement will weigh heavily in the final scoring of the championship.
700e GP: Belgium 2004, Schumi power 7
In 2004, Ferrari sickened the competition and transformed F1 into a powerful televised sleeping pill. The challenge of a grand prize comes down to who will be 3e, or even 2e if Barrichello isn't having a good day. This is the peak of the "Dream team" Ferrari worn by Jean Todt and his driver. Arriving at Spa, Schumacher won… 12 races out of 13, the only exception being Monaco where he was taken out by Montoya in the Safety-Car tunnel. For once, Ferrari is not crushing everything in its path to Spa, even leaving the pole position to Jarno Trulli (Renault) and the victory to Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren). But by finishing 2e, Schumacher already secures his 7e world title! A record that few people thought was accessible, but which is now in Lewis Hamilton's sights!
800e GP: Istanbul 2010, far from the leaders
No miracle with its special livery, Ferrari was anonymous in this race, despite the vista of its new recruit, Fernando Alonso. Spanish finishes 8e, just behind his teammate Massa. The Reds did not make a show, unlike Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who clung to the front of the race and gave the McLarens a double! Ferrari will nevertheless return to the title race in 2e part of the season.
900e GP: Belgium 2015, Vettel already not varnished
Ferrari suffers at the start of the hybrid era, subject to Mercedes' law. Nevertheless, Sebastian Vettel, the new signing of the Scuderia, has just won in Hungary while Kimi Raikkonen, who returned in 2014, is confirmed for 2016 despite criticism of his pace. Ferrari had a bad Saturday at Spa. Vettel was a disappointing eighth while Raikkonen had to stop in Q2 due to a drop in oil pressure. After changing his gearbox, he will only start from sixteenth place. In the race, things got even worse as Vettel, who started to finish on the podium behind the Mercedes, saw his right rear tire explode at full load in the Kemmel straight, two laps from the finish. The poor German lost the podium, recovered by Romain Grosjean. Pirelli tires will be singled out after the numerous incidents noted during the race. Already!
No other team, in any other car championship on the planet, not even Penske in the USA, has such a rich history and such a rich track record. You may have noticed, it took Ferrari 42 years to reach its 500th race (1992), only 28 years to double the score! We hope for Ferrari and the tifosis that the 1000th GP will not be too painful (can it be more difficult than Monza?) But it occurs once again in a context of crisis, which recurs periodically in the history of the Scuderia : late 60s, mid 80s, early 90s after the disappearance of the Commendatore, failed technical revivals of 2009 and 2014… (ouch let's pray for 2022!) Let's not forget that, in 70 years of F1 history , it is also natural that crises occur, especially when we carry such a weight of heritage and that we are under such pressure. that's still a lot, and F1 needs a strong Scuderia.
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