This is a story about an Italian man who had a dream. He turned his dream into a vision, and the vision quickly became reality. But, I wonder if he ever knew that reality would convert his name into a legend.
Exactly 90 years ago, on November 16th 1929, Enzo Ferrari founded the Società Anonima Scuderia Ferrari. Back then, Enzo was an admirable Alfa Romeo racecar driver. He established the company with the help from few other Alfa Romeo drivers, such as Mario Tadini, Ferruccio Testa, Augusto Caniato and Alfredo Caniato.
Enzo Ferrari standing next to the No.6 car. Credit: FormulaLibera.it
The idea was to create a private racing team that would help drivers in engineering their racecars. The word soon spread out and Alfa Romeo, aware of Enzo’s great skills, decided to make Società Anonima Scuderia Ferrari their racing department.
The birth of a legend...Credit: FormulaLibera.it
The good relationship with Alfa Romeo was important for the entire team, and when the Milanese company found itself in a tough financial situation in 1933, Scuderia Ferrari started to build and race their cars for Alfa.
The entire picture is black and white. But, there only one thing shining in red. Credit: FormulaLibera.it
Leaving Alfa Romeo
That went on until 1937, when Alfa bought the racing team and founded Alfa Corse. In their settlement, Alfa banned Enzo to race for the next 4 years under his name. In 1939, he was forced to leave from Alfa Romeo, and that’s when he started to work on his first racecar-Tipo 815.
Auto Avio Costruzioni Tipo 815. Credit: FormulaLibera.it
This car was designed by Alberto Massimino, and it was produced under the name Auto Avio Costruzioni. It featured (as the name suggests) a 1.5-litre V8 engine, but the WWII forced Enzo to put a halt to his project.
WWII pilot Francesco Baracca. Everyone knows why this picture is so special. Credit: ArtCityEmiliaRomagna.com
When the war ended, Enzo recruited few of his former Alfa Romeo colleagues and established a company that would become a motorsport giant-Scuderia Ferrari.
Ferrari's logo from 1947. Credit: MuseodelMarchioItaliano.com
Ferrari 125S. The beginning of a legend...
The first car to bear a Prancing Horse on its body was the 125 S. It rolled of the production line in 1947 with a 1.5-litre V12 engine under its bonnet. A year later, the company made an F1 version of the same car, showing their interest to enter this competition.
And in 1950, when Formula One World Championship was established, Ferrari entered their first season. The Scuderia Ferrari also remains as the only racing team to compete in all seasons of F1 Championship from the very beginning.
Alberto Ascari in the Ferrari 125 F1. Credit: F1.Fandom.com
Ferrari actually missed the first race of the 1950 season, because they did not pay the full entry amount. So, their first race was the Monaco Grand Prix on 21st May 1950, when 3 drivers competed with a Prancing Horse on their cars: Alberto Ascari, Raymond Sommer and Gigi Villoresi. But, it would take 2 years until Ferrari gets their first championship. In 1950 and 1951, Alfa dominated the F1 (despite Ferrari’s amazing win at the 1951 British GP), but as the rules changed in the 1952 season, Alfa backed down and Ferrari’s power came to life.
Alberto Ascari and his Ferrari Tipo 500. Credit: MotorsportRetro.com
Ferrari entered the 1952 season with a Tipo 500 powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine and they won almost every race they entered. And in the end, Ferrari got their first champion, Alberto Ascari. And not only did he win the 1952 championship, he won it in 1953 as well. By the end on the decade, Ferrari got two more champions: Juan Manuel Fangio (1956.) and Mike Hawthorn (1958.).
As the 1960s arrived, so did the new rule changes; it was now required for F1 cars to be rear-engined. The Prancing Horse was trying their best to keep up with their rivals Cooper-Climax, BRM, Brabham and Lotus. During this decade, Ferrari could only satisfy themselves with 2 champions: Phil Hill (1961.) and John Surtees (1964.).
The following decade, we witnessed some of the greatest rivalries in motorsport and only 4 teams were making the headlines in the entire decade: Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Tyrell. Those were the days of pure craziness and Ferrari’s first champion of the decade was the legendary Niki Lauda.
Clay Regazzoni, Niki Lauda and Enzo Ferrari. Three legends together in one picture. Credit: Phaidon.com
He won the championship in 1975 with his 312T. The following year, we witnessed his horrific crash at the Nürburgring, after which Niki was fighting for his life. His condition was so bad that a priest gave him his last rites in the hospital.
Lauda's crash at the 1976 German GP. Credit: GPToday.net
However, Niki came back to the pits only 6 weeks after the crash, making one of the most amazing motorsport comebacks. He was still fighting for the title against James Hunt, but the Austrian withdrew the last race (Japanese GP) since the conditions were dangerous, and Hunt won the championship by only 1 point. But Lauda made a full recovery the following year and Ferrari got two more championships by the end of the decade: Lauda again in 1977. and Jody Scheckter in 1979.
Jody Scheckter at his first race for Ferrari at the 1979 Argentinian GP. Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
During the 1980s Ferrari was not doing well in F1 and things got even worse after Enzo’s death in 1988, carrying the problems into the following decade. But, the age of problems for Ferrari disappeared when a very talented driver by the name of Michael Schumacher won the championship…and repeated that achievement four more times. He gave Ferrari 5 consecutive championships and we can all agree that the “Schumacher era” was the best era for the Prancing Horse.
Michael Schumacher winning his first championship with Ferrari at the 2000 Japanese GP. Credit: Automobilist.com
In 2007., Ferrari won their last championship with Kimi Räikkönen. After that, the Maranello company had some difficult years due to various rule changes and limitations regarding car development. Nevertheless, the iconic red color still shines on podiums reminding us that the Scuderia Ferrari is still one of the most important teams in motorsport.
What started out as Enzo’s dream quickly became history.
Here are some pictures of Ferrari's champions which I have taken at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello just few months ago.
And here are some numbers regarding Scuderia Ferrari in F1 between 1950 and 2019 (the last race counted is the 2019. US GP):
989 race starts
228 pole positions
16 Constructors’ Titles
15 Drivers’ Titles
255 fastest laps
84 one-two finishes
Grazie Enzo da Maranello, da Modena, da tutti i Tifosi!