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The Ferrari myth in Formula 1: red for the world

The Ferrari myth in Formula 1
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I n Bernie Ecclestone's office there was only a hint the realm in which he has ruled for so long. The picture shows Enzo Ferrari. Bernie sums up his admiration in a nutshell: 'For me he is Mister Motorsport.'

The myth lives on. Even 30 years after the death of the company founder. Even without a world title. Even in the crisis. Or maybe because of that. There are many reasons why Ferrari is a legend, why you cannot imagine racing without the Maranello brand, why the color red is inextricably linked to the racing team of hearts. The charismatic company founder. The persistence to be there from the start, in bad and good times. The arrogance of a diva who knows that she is something special and that lets the world feel it. The aura of 15 drivers 'world championships, 16 constructors' titles, 235 GP victories, nine successes in Le Mans, eight in the Mille Miglia, seven in the Targa Florio and two in the Carrera Panamericana.

Race cars belong on the race track

But it's not just the victories that make Ferrari a religion in all cultures. The defeats have welded the jumping horse and its supporters even closer together. The greater the suffering, the more intimate the admiration. The company's automotive legacy is not complete. Enzo Ferrari failed to collect his cars. The reason reflects the presumptuous self-image of the company founder: 'Race cars belong on the racetrack, not in the museum.'

The boss and the journalists: Audience with Enzo Ferrari.

Ferrari does not place any ads, does not shoot TV Spots. After all, you're on the social networks. The advertising spaces are the race tracksthis world. But if you want to advertise on a Ferrari, you pay double the price. And has to adapt to the color code. A lot of red, a little bit of white. Historians will object that Ferrari has already driven in white and blue and even won the world championship with John Surtees in this outfit in 1964. Correctly. Enzo Ferrari protested.

The old man was quickly offended and let his surroundings feel that too. Back then, 55 years ago, the Italian Automobile Association had refused its 250LM homologation as a GT racing car. Enzo Ferrari handed the officials his license to participate and competed in the last Grand Prix in 1964 under the application of the North American Racing Team. The anger of the followers turned to the bandage. This is exactly what the company patriarch had intended.

Withdrawal as an instrument of blackmail

If BMW, Renault, Honda or Toyota leave Formula 1, then that is forgotten after a week. If Ferrari just threatens it, it will trigger an earthquake in the scene. The lonely commendatore knew how to use blackmail as an instrument. When Niki Lauda had an accident at the Nürburgring in 1976 and two decisions made by the sports authorities played against World Cup opponents McLaren, Ferrari decided not to take part in the Austrian GP. The small warning shot was not without effect. James Hunt was subsequently disqualified because of a rule violation at the GP England and Lauda was declared the winner.

Ferrari was there from the start, but did not take part in all races. Of a total of 997 Grand Prix since 1950, the world's most famous racing team has contested 970, won 235, started 219 from pole position, set the fastest lap of 248, completed 14,737 laps and scored 8,656.6 points. We have elegantly condensed the statistical part of the motorsport work into one sentence. The starting shot was fired at the second race in the premier class, the Monaco GP in 1950. Apparently, Silverstone, the birthplace of Formula 1, could not agree on an entry fee. How much of it is legend and truth cannot be verified. The story could be true because it fits Ferrari. The old man has always been a bit peculiar.

Bitter laurels in the 1958 season

The first decade of Formula 1 brought Ferrari four titles. After narrowly losing the big duel against Alfa Romeo in 1951, the regulations passed a through ball to Ferrari in the following two years. The Formula 1 World Championship was advertised for Formula 2 vehicles. With the Tipo 500, Ferrari had the best car in this class in its portfolio. Alfa Romeo stepped back and Maserati woke up too late. Alberto Ascari won both championships single-handedly. Then came the 2.5 liter formula, Mercedes and Juan-Manuel Fangio and German thoroughness, and Ferrari followed suit. 1956 made Ferrari rich legacy. The car from Lancia, the driver from Mercedes.Juan-Manuel Fangio drove to his fourth title in the modified Lancia D50, which had to be officially called Ferrari 801. But the maestro did not warm to Ferrari. As well as. There could only be one icon on the team. Fangio suspected a preference for his Italian teammates Luigi Musso and Eugenio Castellotti and left the team worn out by the political maneuvers in the underground. His offended employer barked after him: 'He suffered from a strange paranoia.'

Julius Weitmann /Motor Presse Stuttgart
Alberto Ascari in the Ferrari 625 at the Italian GP in 1954.

The next two world championships were bitter laurels. Mike Hawthorn was able to thank his Dino 246F1 for reliability and the loyal service of his teammate Phil Hill in 1958. The Englishman only won one race. His Ferrari teammates Luigi Musso and Peter Collins died on the racetrack in this ominous season, Hawthorn only 95 days after his retirement in a traffic accident.

Ferrari nominated Phil Hill and Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips for 1960, slept but a turnaround. Although Cooper-Climax had long since succeeded with the mid-engine concept, Ferrari still held tight to the front engine. No surprise with a company philosophy that put the engine above everything. Front, back, no matter where. A car doesn't win races. The 1.5 liter formula introduced in 1961 brought Ferrari back to business. Because this time the English had slept. For a long time they did not want to admit that the FIA ​​relies on narrow-gauge engines. With the Tipo 156, Ferrari had the superior car and the best engine. On the day that was to crown the king, the disaster happened. Graf Trips was killed in Monza together with 14 spectators. Teammate Phil Hill won the race.

Dispute with Surtees costs the title in 1966

Nevertheless, no stone was left unturned at Ferrari. Six engineers and race director Romolo Tavoni left the team after a dispute with Enzo Ferrari and threw themselves into a project called A.T.S. The revolt meant that Ferrari could only start the 1962 season with a modified 156. Next to defending champion Hill drovethe young stars Giancarlo Baghetti and Ricardo Rodriguez. Lorenzo Bandini later joined them. Ferrari played no role in the title fight, even remained without a win. In 1963 Phil Hill also left the sinking ship: 'It was the worst decision of my life,' the American admitted in retrospect. “But the separation had to be. I wasn't the type of driver that Enzo Ferrari loved. The commendatore wanted pilots who were ready to die in his cars and therefore accepted more risk. But I didn't want to die for him. '

Julius Weitmann /Motor Presse Stuttgart
John Surtees in Le Mans 1965.

Ferrari had already found a replacement. Ex-motorcycle champion John Surtees and Mauro Forghieri, the new star in the designer sky, brought Ferrari back into shape in 1964. The 158 model with the 1.5 liter V8 kept up with the British competition from B.R.M. and Lotus amazingly well with. The three-way battle for the title between John Surtees, Jim Clark and Graham Hill ended surprisingly and also somewhat happily in favor of Ferrari. The decisive factor was a strong second half of the season. Ferrari had solved a problem with the injection of the 220 hp V8 in time for the German GP.

In the first year of the three-liter formula in 1966, Ferrari had the fastest car in the field with the 312 model and the next World Championship -Title actually on the foot. But Maranello scored a classic own goal. Race director Eugenio Dragone fell out with John Surtees in the middle of the season. After the separation, there was no one left who had the experience to further develop the initially critical vehicle. “Ferrari's problem at the time was that Le Mans always had priority. Only then did Formula 1 take care of. Enzo Ferrari was too busy in 1966 to give me my backing. He was just negotiating with Ford and Fiat to take over parts of his company, ”Surtees recalls.

Niki Lauda as Messiah and Judas

Ferrari fell into a long depression. Sometimes the money was so tight that only one car was at the start. Or the results were so bad that the boss ordered time off, hoping the engineers would think of something. After Lorenzo Bandini's death in fire in 1967 in MonteCarlo was criticized for Ferrari. It was calculated to the racing team that more racing drivers would have died in a Ferrari than in any other car. The succinct answer: “We are at the start more often than others.”

It wasn't until 1970 that the 312B was able to win races again on a regular basis. The twelve-cylinder with a bank angle of 180 degrees was later also used in the 312PB sports car model. But as so often, Jacky Ickx's attack came too late. After the short intermediate high, Ferrari went downhill again. Mauro Forghieri was temporarily sent to the desert. Out of sheer desperation, the cars were even built in England in 1973. With little success. Only when Ferrari installed the Agnelli pupil Luca di Montezemolo as race director, brought Forghieri back from exile and hired a powerful driver pairing with Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni, did the battered dinosaur recover.

Niki Lauda and his rival James Hunt.

Regazzoni missed the 1974 world title by just three points. Lauda was the fastest man of the season, but failed due to eight failures in 15 missions. Then came the 312T series with a transverse gearbox in front of the rear axle. Ferrari made the music again. Lauda became world champion in 1975 and 1977, and he would have been world champion in 1976 had it not been for the accident at the Nürburgring. At the end of 1977, Lauda said “Ciao” ​​and received an evil obituary from Enzo Ferrari: “Like Judas, Lauda sold himself to the competition for a few sticks of salami.” It did not fit into his worldview that a driver gave him notice. Usually it was the other way around. The T-model was further modified and looked like a bathtub on wheels in 1979. Although Forghieri was only able to partially implement the profitable ground effect principle in the 312T4 because of the wide engine, Jody Scheckter became world champion. For the last time, engine power and stability compensated for less than perfect aerodynamics.

On the ejection seat in Maranello

Scheckter earned the laurel, his teammate Gilles Villeneuve the sympathy of the fans. Seldom has a Ferrari driver been so adored, rarely has a Ferrari driver been allowed to go beyond the teamshine. Villeneuve also had a stone in the board with the company's boss. “He was a fighter by nature. You just had to like him, ”wrote Ferrari in his book“ Piloti, che gente ”. 1981 Ferrari entered the turbo era as the second manufacturer after Renault. The V6 turbo with the serial number 030 was as good as the engine from turbo pioneer Renault. 1982 could have been another Ferrari year with the Type 126C2, but fate struck cruelly with two serious accidents. Gilles Villeneuve died in the final training for the Belgian GP. Stable rival Didier Pironi suffered such serious leg injuries at Hockenheim that his career was over. Although the Frenchman skipped the last five races, he finished the year in second place in the World Championship, just five points behind World Champion Keke Rosberg.

After Scheckter's title win in 1979, nobody suspected that the Tifosi would face 21 difficult years . 21 years without a world champion in the red car. With seasons without a win like 1980, 1986, 1991, 1992 and 1993. With at least three constructor titles in 1982, 1983 and 1999, which gave the lost soul a little satisfaction, but were no substitute for what had become a trauma over two decades outgrowth. Ferrari racing director Jean Todt admitted after winning the title in 2000: 'If we hadn't made the championship again this year, Ferrari would have exploded.'

But before the former rally co-driver and longtime Peugeot racing director in 1993 stopped Recommendation of Bernie Ecclestone and Niki Lauda took office, Maranello had to survive a few more dark hours. Enzo Ferrari died on August 14, 1988 at the age of 90. After that, the race director and the chief of technology gave each other half-yearly intervals. The offices became the ejection seat. Fiat's attempt to smuggle in its own managers went terribly wrong. Just like the commitment of the then technology luminary John Barnard. Ferrari built two branches in England over the course of seven years for the headstrong Englishman, who absolutely did not want to move to Italy. The model was a failure because the team split into two factions. Barnard versus the rest.

Jean Todt sorted the chaos

Jean Todt had to come first to sort the chaos. In a one-two game with the new President Luca di Montezemolo, the French hired the then two-time world champion Michael Schumacher, the Benetton engineers Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, he finally swore off the twelve-cylinder and replaced it with the more compact V10 solution, he introduced clear hierarchies, industrial work processes and discipline into the sacred halls. And Todt was so well connected with the world federation that he achieved the best conditions for Ferrari.

Sworn duo: Michael Schumacher and team boss Jean Todt.

When Mercedes built the most powerful engine with the use of beryllium pistons, beryllium was banned by Ferrari. When Michelin showed up with tires that widened the tread after a certain amount of wear, the tire supplier had to backtrack the competition. And when in 1999 you yourself were suspected of having driven with illegal baffles, Ferrari's lawyers undone the disqualification at the GP Malaysia with a tricky argument.

Todt, Schumacher, Brawn, Byrne and engine man Paolo Martinelli were a sworn community. It was put to the test for five years. It took so long to finally reach the goal. In 1997, 1998 and 1999 you only lost the World Championship in the last race. With a collision, a blown tire and the wrong man in the title race. After Schumacher's broken leg at Silverstone, Ferrari had to put all the cards on his water carrier Eddie Irvine. The Northern Irishman had no chance against Mika Häkkinen in the decisive duel.

Todt was twice on the hit list, and was saved each time by Schumacher. The beacon of hope in the cockpit threatened Ferrari to go with it. Only the Ferrari F1-2000 released the team from the shame of the eternal runner-up. The season was also a tremendous match. Because the car ate its tires in hot races. Only a modification of the rear axle got rid of the problem. Schumacher beat his World Cup rival Mika Häkkinen in a direct duel in Suzuka. The radio message from Ross Brawn when Schumacher returned to the track after the last pit stop in front of Häkkinen has been immortalized on a sound carrier: “It's looking good, Michael. It's looking bloody good. “

The golden 2000s

After that Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had a subscription to the title. The combination won five world championships in a row, three times so superior that the season was practically over at half time. Among the unbeatable models, the F2002 and F2004 stood out in particular. With 262 World Championship points, the F2004, also known internally under its chassis number 654, hoarded more World Championship points than its red brothers before. With 15 wins each season, the two successful models were tied. Chief designer Rory Byrne still gives the 2002 vintage theAdvantage: “Viewed over the entire season, the F2002 demonstrated greater superiority. That would have been better expressed in the points, had Barrichello not stopped three times before the start. ”

In 2005, Ferrari's success machine came to a standstill. You scored an own goal because you agreed to a rule change that forbade tire changes during the race. Believing that tire partner Bridgestone would have even better cards. The opposite happened. Michelin built the more durable soles. Renault driver Fernando Alonso interrupted the winning streak. A year later, the Spaniard was back in front of the Reds. Schumacher's eighth world title failed due to an engine failure in Suzuka.

The fall of the empire

Then the dream team broke up. First Schumacher stopped, then Ross Brawn and finally Jean Todt handed over the position of race director to his team manager Stefano Domenicali. Not without celebrating another world title for Ferrari in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen. The last one so far. Felipe Massa missed him by one point in 2008. Fernando Alonso 2010 and 2012 by four and three points. Ferrari has not built world championship cars since 2009. It was Alonso's merit that one could still dream of the title twice.

With the defeats the old volatility set in again. In 2011 they parted ways with technical director Aldo Costa. The Italian then built the best cars in the field for Mercedes. In 2014 Domenicali had to leave. He was replaced by Marco Mattiaci, who was complimented by the executive office after just 220 days. Ferrari then conjured the former Marlboro marketing manager Maurizio Arrivabene out of the hat. Engine boss Luca Marmorini, technology boss Pat Fry and chief designer Nikolas Tombazis also lost their jobs. James Allison came as Savior in 2013 and was hunted from the court three years later. The home grown Mattia Binotti is now directing the technical office. Luca di Montezemolo did not survive the era of disappointments either. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne put the charismatic president in front of the door and played the strong man in the team until his unexpected death in July 2018. With little carrot and a lot of stick. That has never worked at Ferrari.

Can Vettel repeat the Schumi era?

Fernando Alonso left the sinking ship at the end of 2014. Sebastian Vettel came with the aim of opening a second chapter for Schumacher. The first season with three wins and third place in the World Cup promised hope. In the second, Vettel landed hard. Not a single victory, like 1950, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2014. Then followed two seasons of hope. Until the summer break of 2017 and 2018, Vettel looked like a possible world champion. Then Ferrari stumbled upon homemade problems.

The ex-champion looks battered. Vettel realizes that the Ferrari crisis is notis solvable overnight because it sits deep in the roots. The team has unstable leadership, poor crisis management, no structure and sometimes no plan. After all, the technology office has been delivering winning cars in recent years. Formula 1 boss Ross Brawn believes that the world title has been squandered in the last two years: “Vettel has not won all the races he should have won. And, unlike Hamilton, he didn't win the races where he wasn't the favorite. ”Vettel is still not put off:“ It's moving in the right direction, but it doesn't go overnight. Some things just take time. ”

auto motor und sport celebrates the 1,000th. Formula 1 races this season with a large series in 100 parts. In the daily countdown we provide you with an exciting story and interesting video features from the history of the premier class. You can find all previous articles on our >> Overview page for the big anniversary Grand Prix.


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