The Scuderia – the most successful team in Grand Prix history

Ferrari are the only team to have competed in Formula One since the championship’s inaugural year back in 1950.

The Prancing Horse have gone on to become arguably the most iconic racing teams – and brands – in the world. The Scuderia have also become the most successful team in Grand Prix history to fulfil Enzo Ferrari’s dream of Grand Prix success. Ferrari have since won 15 World Drivers’ Championships and 16 World Constructors’ titles, although neither accolade since 2008.

Unlike other teams, the Scuderia started the 1950 season at the Monaco Grand Prix, missing the first ever Formula One race at the earlier British round weeks before.  The Alfa Romeos of Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio were the dominant force of the year and Farina would go to win his only World Championship later that year, but Alberto Ascari still proved competitive around the streets of Monte Carlo.  He would finish second in Monaco while teammate Raymond Sommer was fourth.

Ascari, Luigi Villoresi and Sommer would retire in Switzerland after all three missed the Indianapolis 500, while Ascari would net another second place at the season ending Italian Grand Prix at Monza. There would be another points finish before then though as Ascari was fifth in Belgium at the fearsome Spa-Francorchamps circuit, while Sommer and Villoresi were not to trouble the scorers after Monaco.

The only other Ferrari podium would come courtesy of the privately entered Peter Whitehead at the penultimate French Grand Prix. Ascari would win the World Championship with Ferrari in 1952 and 1953 as the team began to establish themselves on the Formula One scene.

1950 was not a fairytale debut, but it set the foundations for one of the greatest teams in racing history.

Enzo Ferrari, The Italian Legend

“Aerodynamics are for people who cannot build engines” Enzo Anselmo Ferrari

Enzo Anselmo Ferrari, born in Modena on the 18th of February 1898, his birth registered two days later due to heavy snow. When Ferrari was 10 years old, his father, took him and his brother Alfredo, to watch a motor race in Bologna. The race is won by Felice Nazzaro and that moment was enough to create a spark and a secret love in Enzo’s heart about Motorsport.

The following decade was a tragedy for Enzo and his family. In 1916, the flu killed his father and his brother, Enzo forced to quit his studies in order to look for a job. He found a place as an instructor in Modena’s fire service workshop. The following year, Ferrari joined the Italian army, he became a member of the 3rd Alpine Artillery Division, but he was seriously ill and after two operations he was honourable discharged.

In 1919, Ferrari moved to Milan to join the C.M.N ( Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali). In his debut as a racing driver, Enzo finished fourth at the 1919 Parma-Poggio di Berceto hill climb race. On November 23rd he took part in the Targa Florio but he lost due to a leak in his fuel tank. One year later he left from C.M.N in order to join Alfa Romeo.

Enzo won the Circuit del Savio, in 1923, after his victory, he met the parents of WWI flying ace Francesco Baracca, they suggested him to use the emblem that decorated their son’s plane for good luck. The emblem, which is now known in the whole world, was a prancing horse. In the same year Ferrari married Laura Dominica Garello.

One year later, Enzo Ferrari became a Cavaliere (Knight) for his sporting achievements, it was the first official title which he received from the Italian authorities. In 1925, he made a Cavaliere Ufficiale and his passion about journalism lead him to become the main founder of the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport in Bologna.

cc Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

The Born of Scuderia Ferrari

In 1929, Enzo founds the Scuderia Ferrari in Modena, the purpose of his company was to give the ability to owner drivers to race. His idea was very successful and after a while he created an official team. Scuderia included both cars and motorbikes. A few years later, in 1933, Scuderia became the official racing department of Alfa Romeo.

Ferrari’s final race as a driver was at Circuito Tre Province on August 9th, 1931, one year later he became a father, Alfredo or also known as Dino, was born on January 19th 1932. Enzo had to close his Scuderia, in 1937, because Alfa Romeo claimed back its racing department, five years later he left from Alfa Romeo, but he was not allowed to use the name Ferrari as a racing team, for at least four years.

After his departure from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari had a secret passion, he wanted to create his own racing cars. He opened Auto Avio Costruizioni in Modena, Ferrari forced to move his factory in Maranello, because during the WWII the government interfered with his plans. In his new factory in Maranello, Enzo decided to focus on grinding machines.

At the end of the Second World War, Enzo returned to designing racing cars, the first official Ferrari was the 125 S which was tested in March 1947. Ferrari had to wait a few months in order to celebrate his first victory in Rome at the Rome Grand Prix. A series of great victories were achieved the following seasons. In 1948 Ferrari won at the Mille Miglia, the next year he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in 1951 Ferrari won the British Grand Prix.

Alberto Ascari was signed, in 1951, by Enzo and won Ferrari’s first world championship in 1952. During those years Enzo was also started designing cars for commercial use.

A serious illness cost the life of Enzo’s beloved son, Alferdo. In 1956, Dino died from muscular dystrophy. Ferrari was designing the new 1500 cc V6 engine alongside with his son, the engine made its debut 10 months after the Dino’s pass, all the V6 engines were named in his honour.

It was the hardest years of Enzo’s life, six of his drivers were killed between 1955 and 1965, he was also accused for manslaughter in 1957 as nine spectators lost their lives after one of his Ferraris lost control due to a puncture and crashed onto the spectators.

Some years later, in 1969, Ferrari decided to partner with Fiat Group, he knew that he needed a strong partnership in order to continue developing his company. Enzo, gave the 50% of his company to Fiat Group.

The End of Ferrari’s Legacy

Enzo Ferrari decided to build the Fiorano Circuit, which was officially launched on April 8th 1972. Ferrari, resigned as a company from his company in 1977, even though he retired, he still had the control of Scuderia Ferrari.

The F40 was the final car which was launched (1987) under Enzo Ferrari’s management. Enzo also received an honourable degree in Physics from the University of Modena in 1988. The August of the same year Enzo passed away in Maranello at the age of 90.

The first official entry of the Scuderia Ferrari in Formula 1 championship was in 1950 at the Monaco Grand Prix, since then Scuderia has celebrated 16 constructors’ championships and 15 drivers’ titles. Ferrari has scored 228 race victories and 211 pole positions.

“No one remember who took second place and that will never be me.” Enzo Ferrari

Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion

 

 

‘Il Leone’, The Nigel Mansell and Ferrari Story

Driving for Ferrari in Formula One is seen as more than just driving the car. You become an icon of an army of fans in Italy and indeed around the world. You become instantly recognised in Italy, and are hailed as a God.

Many drivers have endeared themselves to the Tifosi, even non-natives. Such examples include Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda and Jean Alesi. However one of the best drivers to race for Ferrari, was Nigel Mansell.

The 1992 world champion drove for the Prancing Horse in 1989 and 1990, with the Brit having the honour of being the last driver Enzo Ferrari signed before he passed away in 1988.

It didn’t take Mansell long to embed himself into the heart of the Tifosi. Affectionately named Il Leone, because of his fearless driving style, Mansell won his first race for the team in Brazil.

Though it seemed more likely Mansell would be leaving early. The team’s revolutionary semi-automatic gearbox was so high-risk, that Mansell retired from most of the sessions that weekend. There’s a paddock rumour that he booked an early flight home midway through the race as he was so confident his car wouldn’t see the finish!

However against all odds, and a steering wheel coming loose mid-race, Mansell took the win, in the hometown of perennial rival Nelson Piquet.

It was to be a trying season for Mansell and Maranello, as the car was in a constant flux of development for a title push in 1990. He retired from the next four races with various issues, such as a gearbox failure at Imola.

Source: deviantart.com

His form picked up midway through the season though, with podiums in France, Britain and Germany, but it was at the Hungaroring where ‘Il Leone’ showed his fighting spirit.

Qualifying 12th, Mansell made his way up to second behind Ayrton Senna’s McLaren with just 20 laps to go. Hungary is still a tough place to overtake, with it being known as ‘Monaco without the barriers’ but Mansell hunted down the legendary Brazilian with aplomb.

When Senna hesitated to lap Stefan Johansson, Mansell seized his chance. He swung to the outside and passed both of them, taking the lead and winning the race. In Mansell’s autobiography, Staying On Track, he describes it as one of his favourite overtaking manoeuvres.

The rest of the season didn’t quite pan out as Mansell was banned for the Spanish Grand Prix after colliding with Senna and being disqualified in Portugal the week before. However he finished fourth in the championship with 38 points.

1990 saw reigning world champion Alain Prost move to Maranello, and a year of turbulence was on the horizon.

The Tifosi adored Mansell, giving him various awards and accolades. As well as his nickname, he was given a golden helmet, a small lion statue, and when he left the team at the end of the 1990 season, he was sent a trophy with the words ‘Our World Champion of 1990’ inscribed on it.

Meanwhile Prost stayed at Ferrari until 1991 when he was sacked for criticising the car. “In Japan, the car was like a horrible truck to drive. No pleasure at all. I’ve underlined the defects of the Ferrari throughout the season, but no-one has listened to a word.” Prost was fired by Ferrari and paid off to not drive for 1992.

Source: deviantart.com

He was also partially the reason Mansell left the team. Prost was notorious for being very political, playing the gallery to suit his needs. Mansell was number one driver when Prost arrived, but that changed as the Frenchman was given preferential treatment.

At Silverstone, Mansell’s home race, Prost supposedly saw Mansell’s car was much better and ordered the team to switch their cars, meaning Prost now had the better car. This knocked the steam out of Mansell and so he saw the season as a ‘retirement year.’

However there was one incredible moment in the ’90 season. At Mexico, Nigel was approaching former team mate Gerhard Berger in the McLaren approaching the high speed Peraltada corner. After a few weaving moves down the straight, Mansell moved to the outside and passed Berger around the outside. It’s considered one of the best moves in Formula One history.

Mansell was ready to retire following his acrimonious year with Prost, until Frank Williams intervened and asked him to return to Williams, where he finally won the title in 1992 after over 10 years of trying.

Nigel is still revered by the Tifosi, and while many Brits have driven for the Prancing Horse, such as Tony Brooks, Mike Hawthorn and Eddie Irvine, none are more loved than ‘Il Leone’ or as we know him, ‘Our Nige.’

Jules Bianchi – A Lost Star

While it’s natural to remember Jules Bianchi around the Japanese Grand Prix, as Ferrari Week here at The Pit Crew Online falls near the second anniversary of his death it’s fitting to look back at the life and career of one of Maranello’s former rising stars.

Born in Nice in 1989, Bianchi arrived into a family that was already well-acquainted with motorsport. His grandfather Mauro raced GT cars in the 1960s and participated in three Grands Prix in 1961. His great-uncle Lucien drove in 19 Grands Prix between 1959 and 1968, scoring a handful of points, and achieved victory at Le Mans in 1968 alongside Pedro Rodriguez. Given his great-nephew’s affiliation with Ferrari, there’s a certain irony that Lucian’s Le Mans victory came behind the wheel of a Ford GT40, which broke Ferrari’s early 1960s string of Le Mans victories. Jules was not the first Bianchi to die in motorsport; Lucian was killed during testing at Le Mans in 1969. Jules’ father Philippe owned a karting circuit, providing a young Jules an early platform to begin honing his skills. At 15, Jules made the decision to pursue racing as a profession and at 17 signed a management contract with Nicolas Todt.

Looking back over Bianchi’s career, he seemed destined for Formula One. Having proved his skills in karting, placing first in multiple series in 2005 and 2006, Bianchi moved into the junior formulae. He made his single-seater debut in 2007, the final season of the French Formula Renault 2.0 series, driving for SG Formula. He secured a comfortable first place with 5 wins and 11 podiums, finishing 49 points ahead of the second place finisher Mathieu Arzeno.

2008 saw Bianchi move up to the Formula 3 Euro Series, driving for ART Grand Prix, where one of his teammates was Nico Hülkenberg. During his deubt season, he placed third overall with two wins and seven podiums for 47 points as well as placing first in the Masters of Formula 3. He continued competing with ART in 2009, his teammates including Valterri Bottas and Esteban Gutiérrez. That season Bianchi claimed the title, earning nine wins and twelve podiums and ending the season with 114 points.

2009 also saw the BBC and James Allen, among others, link Bianchi with a race seat at Ferrari due to Luca Badoer’s disappointing performance. Though this never materialized, December 2009 saw Bianchi become the first recruit to the Ferrari Driver Academy after the young drivers’ test at Jerez. Maranello clearly found Bianchi a worthy investment, and he was to remain a member until his death. The Ferrari Driver Academy still officially acknowledges that Jules was the most promising young driver that has participated in the program thus far.

Interviews during this period paint a picture of an affable young man, aggressive and ambitious on the track but aware that he’s still learning and maturing. He is quick to give credit to his influences, crediting his grandfather and manager for their help in his formation as a racing driver, as well as his fellow drivers for the self-management techniques he learned from them.

He progressed up the ladder to GP2 in 2010, again racing for ART Grand Prix. In his debut season Bianchi placed third in the championship with 52 points. Though he claimed three poles and was on the podium four times, he won no races this season.

FDA – Bianchi quarto in Gara 1

For 2011, despite remaining third overall he improved his record by claiming one win and six podiums. He totaled 53 points in the 2011 season. Significantly, 2011 also saw Bianchi debut as a Formula One test driver for Ferrari, coming closer to a coveted race seat.

In 2012 Bianchi competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Tech 1 Racing. He placed second in the championship, with three wins and eight podiums, and a total of 185 points. He continued his Formula One testing career, this time on loan to Sahara Force India from Ferrari. During his tenure as Force India’s test and reserve driver, he participated in 9 Friday free practice sessions, gaining valuable track time.

Bianchi’s big break arrived in 2013. Though Force India selected Adrian Sutil to replace Nico Hülkenberg upon his departure to Sauber, another seat opened when Marussia driver Luiz Razia’s sponsors failed to meet their financial commitments to the team. Jules had finally achieved his race seat, opposite Max Chilton. Though Marussia ran solidly at the back of the field and Bianchi retired in Monaco, Germany, and Japan, he nonetheless finished ahead of his teammate in every remaining race other than India and finished the drivers’ championship in 19th place, 4 places above Chilton. Marussia finished 10th in the 2013 Constructors Championship, securing much-needed prize money.

SILVERSTONE (GRAN BRETAGNA) 09/07/2014
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO X FERRARI

2014 saw Bianchi continue opposite Chilton with Marussia. Despite an inauspicious beginning to the season, failing to complete 90% of the race distance in Australia and retiring in Malaysia due to brake failure on lap 8, Bianchi continued to outperform his teammate. In a major step forward for the team he brought in both his own and Marussia’s first points at Monaco. While good fortune in the form of a number of retirements doubtless contributed to his 9th place finish, and his own illegal serving of a 5-second penalty under the Safety Car cost him 8th place, Bianchi and Marussia were justifiably pleased with the results. Though forced to retire when Chilton collided with him in Canada, he finished ahead of his teammate for most of the season other than a retirement late in the Belgian Grand Prix due to a gearbox failure.

And then came Suzuka.

The category four Typhoon Phanfone brought significant rain to the Suzuka Circuit on Sunday October 5th, but due to the Russian Grand Prix being scheduled for the following week freight concerns prevented organizers from delaying the Grand Prix until the next day. Charlie Whiting suggested that the race start time be changed, but both the circuit owners and FIA opposed changing the both to allow spectators to arrive at the circuit and due to television coverage concerns. The race began under the Safety Car and was suspended after two laps, then restarted under the Safety Car 20 minutes later. Conditions slowly improved, but there was still significant standing water on the track and heavy rain again began to fall in lap 36.

Adrian Sutil lost control of his Sauber and crashed at Dunlop Curve on lap 40. One lap later, Bianchi lost control at the same place and slid partway under the crane that was recovering Sutil’s Sauber. Striking the crane at 123 km/h, the impact was forceful enough to jolt the crane off the ground and cause the Sauber to drop back to the ground. In the crash, Bianchi’s Marussia sustained massive damage on its left side and its roll bar was destroyed. Later analysis determined that the impact generated a peak of 254 g. Bianchi was unresponsive, and was determined to have suffered significant head injuries.

As the medical helicopter was unable to land at the designated hospital, Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in nearby Yokkaichi, Jules was transported instead by ambulance, arriving 32 minutes later. He was rushed into surgery to reduce the severe bruising to his head. His first visitors included Graeme Lowdon, Marussia’s CEO, team principal John Booth, Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci, and Bianchi’s fellow driver Felipe Massa. Bianchi’s parents, siblings, and a close friend arrived over subsequent days.

Bianchi’s management team also visited Bianchi in hospital. FIA Medical Commission president Gerard Salliant was also present, and Ferrari continued to show its support for Jules by requesting that Sapienza University of Rome neurosurgeon professor Allesandro Frati travel to Japan. Ferrari’s outgoing president Luca di Montezemolo further told the media that Bianchi was to be the third Ferrari driver should the then-possible shift to three-car teams become a reality.

The Bianchi family publicly expressed appreciation for the support Jules had received thus far, as well as confirming that Bianchi had suffered a diffuse axonal injury in the crash. At this time, Bianchi was in critical but stable condition.

Though Marussia originally entered their reserve driver Alexander Rossi, the team elected to only run Chilton in the Russian Grand Prix. As a show of support, the team prepared and had Bianchi’s car scrutineered at Sochi, but did not race it. Perhaps Marussia’s fate would have been different had they raced Rossi. Perhaps Marussia’s financial backer Andrei Cheglakov would have continued to fund the team had Rossi turned in a respectable performance, but the tribute was fitting, expressing the hope that Bianchi would recover and rejoin the team.

The Formula One community, indeed the entire motorsport community, rallied in support of Bianchi. The day after the crash, Fellow Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne arranged for all the drivers to wear stickers proclaiming “Tous avec Jules #17”, and the Marussia team added #JB17 to their livery. The successor Manor team continued this through the 2015 season. The hashtag #ForzaJules proliferated across social media, and along with #JB17 was even made into stickers in the physical world. Fans across the world used these stickers to visibly express their support for Jules. Moments of silence, race win dedications, and other tributes flowed from the community.

The FIA conducted an investigation into the incident, determining that while there were many contributing factors there was no single root cause of the crash. While Bianchi clearly hadn’t slowed enough under the double waved yellow, ‘enough’ wasn’t clearly defined. Bianchi lost control less than two minutes after Sutil, and the recovery crane had almost cleared the barriers, so the double waved yellow was considered enough under accepted practices. The crane’s presence itself wasn’t considered unusual, even though Martin Brundle nearly collided with a similar crane 20 years previously. The brake-by-wire system’s failure to cut off the throttle wasn’t definitively determined to have played a significant role, as Bianchi’s pressing the brake and throttle together may have been within acceptable parameters. Given the forces involved in the crash, no reasonable changes to the chassis could have helped.

Sadly, all the hope and support proved to be in vain. Though Bianchi was removed from an induced coma in November 2014 and able to breathe on his own, and was subsequently moved to Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice, he did not regain consciousness. His supporters, his family chief among them, initially took hope from Michael Schumacher’s improvement after his skiing head injury, however slow, but over time this hope waned.

Just over two years ago, on 17 July 2015, Jules Bianchi died. He never regained consciousness. A moment of silence, with the Bianchi family present, was observed at the Hungarian Grand Prix on 26 July.

 

GP GRAN BRETAGNA F1/2017 (SILVERSTONE) –
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER FERRARI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)

Bianchi’s legacy includes positive safety developments ranging from improved rules and procedures such as the Virtual Safety Car and changes to recovery procedures, to additional head protection, including informing the process that led to 2018’s Halo. With the support of Prince Albert of Monaco Jules’ father Philippe created the Jules Bianchi Foundation to provide funding for promising young drivers. The Jules Bianchi #17 Association was also created to support the Unité de Soins des Cérébro-Lésés(Unit for brain damage) at Hôpital l’Archet in Nice.

 

The Bianchi family additionally filed a lawsuit against the FIA, Marussia, and the Formula One Group in May 2016.

This July, we are left with the memory of a promising career cut short, and a young life extinguished before its time.

#CiaoJules