History of Ferrari – From the 1950s to Today

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Posted: November 21, 2023

Updated: November 21, 2023

  • Ferrari is one of the most iconic and successful teams in Formula 1
  • Its past and present are a characterization of triumphs and tragedies
  • Let's go through the entire history of Ferrari and its fate in each decade

Ferrari is one of the most iconic and successful teams in the history of Formula 1, with a rich and storied past dating back to the inception of the championship in 1950. Learning the history of Ferrari would be interesting for car racing fans celebrating the end of the 74th Formula 1 season. 

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A Full History of Ferrari with Timelines & Biggest Names

Ferrari is a well-known brand you have heard about, even if you are far from being a car racing fan. It was founded in 1939 by Enzo Ferrari in Maranello, Italy, and initially focused on manufacturing sports cars, not competing. However, Enzo’s plans were more ambitious than being just a car manufacturer, which is pretty understandable. Hopefully, the upcoming Ferrari movie will cover Ferrari’s life and success, too, while we’ll focus on the brand’s constructors and drivers. 

As soon as a new racing tournament, that will be later known as Formula 1, was launched, Scuderia Ferrari Team was formed to compete in it. This is how the glorious adventure of “The Prancing Horse” in F1 began and continues to this day. 

As of 2023, Ferrari is the most successful team in F1. They have claimed sixteen Constructors’ titles and 243 wins in total, leaving Red Bull, Mercedes, and other teams far behind. Let’s take a deeper look at the history of Ferrari’s brightest stars in each decade and see why they failed or succeeded on the track.

1950s: The Rise 

1950 was the year the inaugural Formula One World Championship took place. Ferrari was one of the teams ready to compete from the very first season. If we had online sportsbooks in Italy back then, we’d have bet only on Ferrari drivers to win and for a reason.

Ferrari started dominating the championship two years after the launch. Alberto Ascari won Ferrari’s first F1 title in 1952 and repeated the feat next year. Legendary Juan Manuel Fangio joined Ferrari in 1956 and won the championship that year. Finally, Mike Hawthorn claimed yet another title driving a Ferrari car in 1958.

1960s: The Turbulence

At the start of the decade, Ferrari was the one mastering the sport. Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips fought for the title, and it looked like the German would win it, but a tragedy occurred at the Italian Grand Prix when von Trips was killed in a horrifying crash. With no opposition, Hill secured the Drivers’ Championship for Ferrari. 

Ferrari’s great form continued in 1964 with John Surtees who won yet another title for the Maranello team. The late 1960s saw Ferrari’s performance drop as teams such as Lotus and Tyrrell took over the leading places.

1970s: The Dominance

With the arrival of Niki Lauda, Ferrari picked up the pace and developed one of the best cars in F1 history – 312T. It drove Lauda to two championships for Ferrari in 1975 and 1977. The Austrian also had a good shot at winning the 1976 season, but the infamous near-fatal crash at the German Grand Prix caused a huge point loss to the other title challenger, James Hunt. Lauda’s remarkable comeback and James Hunt’s title win in 1976 were depicted in Rush, one of the best movies about Formula 1.

In 1979, Ferrari had another great season when Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve won both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles, with Scheckter claiming the latter. Nobody expected in Maranello that this would become their last title until 2000.

1980s: The Drop

In the 1980s, Ferrari experienced a significant drop in performance, but in 1982 they had a legitimate chance to win both titles. That was denied by the San Marino incident that later would cause Gilles Villeneuve’s tragic death at Zolder. Villeneuve’s death deeply affected the team, including Enzo Ferrari himself. 

In 1984, Ferrari won the Constructors’ Championship but had a difficult relationship with lead driver René Arnoux who would later leave the team. For the rest of the decade, Ferrari had to cope with mediocre cars and below average performances.

1990s: The Hope

Alain Prost joined Ferrari in 1990 and challenged Ayrton Senna for the title until Senna deliberately took Prost out at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix. Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger drove their cars, which were objectively worse than in the 1980s, to occasional podiums and even victories. 

The history of Ferrari changed again in 1996. Michael Schumacher joined the team and marked its comeback to form for challenging for the title. In 1997 and 1998, Schumacher fought for the title in the last race. In 1997, he infamously drove into Jacques Villeneuve at the last race and got himself disqualified from the entire season. The following year, he couldn’t do anything against McLaren Mercedes’ MP4-13, engineered by Adrian Newey. In 1999, Michael broke his legs at the British Grand Prix and could not challenge for the title.

2000s: The Dream Team

By 2000, the Ferrari’s dream team was formed. It included Schumacher and team principal Jean Todt, so it was the best time to bring the title back to Maranello. Michael Schumacher became the first F1 Ferrari champion in 21 years. He would go on to dominate the early 2000s, securing multiple championships. In total, Schumacher won five consecutive titles from 2000 to 2004.

Schumacher retired from F1 in 2006 and was replaced by Kimi Räikkönen. Another Ferrari superstar brought Ferrari another Drivers’ Championship in 2007 in a very memorable finale. The Finn remains the last Ferrari champion to this day. A year later, Felipe Massa narrowly missed the title, marking the new decline in the history of Ferrari. Bet on the brand to rise next season at online gambling sites in Italy.

2010s: The Hangover

After Schumacher’s retirement, Ferrari never claimed its title again so far. Fernando Alonso came close to winning championships with the brand but fell short in 2010 and 2012. The Maranello engineers could not compete with Adrian Newey’s creations driven by Sebastian Vettel. In 2012, Alonso drove the infamous F2012 that was fourth-fastest car on the grid, but he managed to challenge for the title until the last corner of the last race. 

After a horrendous 2014 season, Alonso was replaced by Sebastian Vettel, aiming to bring back championship glory. Despite competitive seasons in 2017 and 2018, Ferrari faced challenges in matching Mercedes’ dominance. On both occasions, it was self-inflicted damage that prevented Ferrari from winning the title. 

2020s: The Future

Ferrari entered the 2020s with a restructuring phase, parting ways with Sebastian Vettel. That year’s car was the worst in almost 26 years. The team faced challenges in regaining its competitive edge, with a focus on the long-term development of the car. In 2022, Charles Leclerc took a shot at the title and was considered a legitimate challenger. It lasted until a series of technical issues plagued the team. Leclerc’s crash at the French Grand Prix entirely demoralized the team. 

The 2023 season is only one race away from ending, and Ferrari are 4 points behind Mercedes-AMG to take 2nd in the Constructors’ Championship. Use the latest 20Bet odds to predict the team’s success in Abu Dhabi, or bet on their performance in 2024.

What awaits Ferrari in the near future? It is quite difficult to predict as the team has gone through multiple rises and falls throughout 73 years. The history of Ferrari in Formula 1 is a characterization of triumphs, tragedies, and a commitment to excellence that has made it one of the most celebrated and enduring teams in the sport.

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