The story of Scuderia Ferrari has been the story of a man’s passion of motor racing and nothing else. It has been a roller-coaster of a journey of a man who had the urge to make his brand one of the most successful brands in motor sport. It’s quite an exhilarating tale that should be told.
When Ferrari’s founder, Enzo Ferrari, was in his early years, his father took him and his elder brother to see a motor race. A young Enzo saw a lot of fast cars and thus got obsessed about fast cars and motor racing. But the First World War diverted his obsession about motor racing and moved towards survival. After the end of the war, he was seeking for various jobs in Turin (the centre for the Italian car industry). He tried to take a job at Fiat, the biggest company at the time. But he was refused the job. This made Enzo so disgust that he decided to defeat Fiat in almost every way possible.
He joined hands with Alfa Romeo and joined as a racing driver for them. He did win a lot of races with them. But he was quite well known for the way he tweaked every single component on the car which would make it faster. Eventually, in 1923, he started Scuderia Ferrari along with 2 of his closest friends, who were brilliant engineers. They reworked the Alfa Romeo cars and raced them. They almost dominated all the forms of motor sport. This made Ferrari even more famous in the paddock of a grand prix. But, in 1947, he produced the Tipo 125, the first proper Ferrari without any Alfa Romeo technology to be launched. It raced in the Mille Miglia in 1948, where it not only won the race but also one of its drivers along with some spectators died after the driver crashed. This caused a big stir in the motor sport world. This was the Ferrari that we all knew during its inception.
Relationship with FIAT
After the First World War, Enzo was devastated physically (after surviving a deadly illness), mentally (because of a job he wasn't made for) and emotionally (after losing his father and his elder brother). In these circumstances, he tried to look for a job in FIAT which was based in Turin. It was one of the biggest companies at the time. But, Ferrari wasn't given the job even though he was in the military. This was enough to light a spark in Enzo’s mind. His main objective was to crush FIAT in almost every form of motorsport which would make them pay for the mistake that they did.
He defeated FIAT in every form of motorsport which was enough to throw them out of the motorsport world. But in the 1960’s, when Ferrari was under huge debt losses and on the verge of bankruptcy, Ferrari decided to join hands with FIAT. FIAT ran the road car business of the company, while Ferrari still handled the racing business. This gave Ferrari the freedom to develop and race even faster cars. Eventually, this 4 8 year old relationship ended in mid-2015, when FIAT sold all its shares of the company. Volkswagen sensed this opportunity and bought 90% of the company in late 2015 for a huge $11 billion. This would make Ferrari handle the racing arm and Volkswagen would handle the road car arm of the business.
In 1950, the first World Championship for Formula 1 started at Silverstone. But Ferrari wasn’t a part of the first season due to some unknown reasons. But it joined the World Championship in 1951. It took absolutely no time for Ferrari to win it’s first ever race at the French Grand Prix. But the championship was very tightly fought between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. These two teams had the best drivers at the time. But eventually, Alfa Romeo won the championship. Alberto Ascari won two driver’s championships in 1952 and 1953, defeating Juan Manuel Fangio in the process. In 1958, Mike Hawthorn ensured Ferrari’s first driver’s championship in the newly regulated cars, where the engines were limited to 2.5 litres in displacement. During the 60’s, Ferrari was in the mix to win the championship, but never managed to win it. In the 70’s, new challenges from McLaren gave Ferrari a run for it’s money. But in the end, it didn't succeed to win a driver’s or even a constructors
As the years progressed, Ferrari’s performance was improving, but hampered with reliability issues, giving chances to other teams like McLaren, Williams and Benetton to taste success. But, in 1996, a ray of hope was seen when double world champion Michael Schumacher joined the team from Benetton. This made the team a lot stronger than it already was. Since 1997, Michael and Ferrari dominated the seasons. Except in 1998 and 1999 when Mika Hakkinen won the championship in the McLaren, surprising everyone. But at the turn of the millennium, Ferrari was just unstoppable with Michael at the helm of this dominance. This domination made Ferrari the team we all know today. Even though a few times it was hampered with reliability issues, it managed to show strong performances in the years. 2005 saw the end of the V10 era and also the end of the Ferrari dominance when Renault and Fernando Alonso won the championship twice. Michael Schumacher retired in 2006 from Ferrari, giving way for Kimi Raikkonen. 2007 was the year that Ferrari thought they wouldn’t win at all. Hampered by reliability issues during winter testing, Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen consistently performed above expectations to win the championship by 1 point over Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton (both McLaren drivers). 2008 was also a clash of the titans between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. Felipe was on course to win the title for Ferrari at the Brazilian Grand Prix but was denied the championship after Lewis Hamilton passed the Toyota of Timo Glock to win the championship. 2009 was a mixed year for Ferrari. Firstly, Felipe Massa surviving a dangerous incident when a spring from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car hit Felipe’s helmet, causing an injury to Felipe’s right eye. Ferrari couldn’t salvage any wins that year.
But in 2010, Fernando Alonso came to Ferrari, replacing Raikkonen. He cemented his place in the team when he won the first race with the team at Bahrain. But he suffered a lot of retirements mid-season. He then came back strongly to win in Germany, Singapore, Italy and Korea. But at the final race in Abu Dhabi all went wrong for Alonso as he only managed 7th and Sebastian Vettel won the race, thereby losing the championship by 4 points. 2011 was not a good year for Ferrari with just a solitary win for Alonso in Great Britain. 2012 was a good year for the team as Alonso lead the championship for most of the season until Sebastian Vettel started to chip at the championship lead, eventually winning the championship by 3 points. 2013 and 2014 saw Ferrari take a few podiums but no win. But when Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015, he made the “Tifosi” rejoice with his wins in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore. But he couldn’t win the championship because of the dominance of Mercedes. Last year was, just like 2013 and 2014, a quiet year for the Prancing Horse. No wins, but a lots of unfortunate retirements and a few podiums for Vettel and Raikkonen. But this year, the revised regulations have certainly motivated the team with 3 wins in the first 8 rounds. Hopefully, Ferrari can reinstate the domination of its merry years this time around.
Ferrari Tipo 125S, the first Ferrari road car
The sole aim of Enzo Ferrari selling road cars to customers around the world (mostly America) was to finance his passion for racing. He was not very fond on selling road cars, but had to sell them just to make sure that his passion for racing didn’t have any financial problems. Ferrari road cars were considered to be some of the most exclusive, the most pretty and the fastest cars in the world. The first Ferrari-badged road car, the 125S, was launched in 1947. That was when the Ferrari business started to take shape. There were many cars that followed the 125S. The most famous is the 250 GTO, which is considered to be the most expensive road-legal car sold in the world. It was sold to an American communications magnate for US$ 38.1 million in May 2012. No car has beaten that record since.
The LaFerrari Aperta, the most recent Ferrari in its stable
There were a lot of pretty and exclusive Ferrari sold all around the world. Some of them were good to drive too, like the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, F430, 360 Modena, etc. Some cars even broke the rulebook out of the window. These cars redefined the way we look at Ferrari road cars. These cars included the 458 Italia and Speciale, 488 GTB, LaFerrari, etc. When Fiat bought the company in 1969, they made sure that Fiat handled the road car business, while Ferrari handled the motorsport business. Ferrari produced many types of cars like front-engined V8 & V12 GT’s, mid-engined V-12 supercars, mid-engined V6 & V8 sports cars, etc. Some of the mid-engined V6 & V8 sports cars were renamed after Enzo Ferrari’s son, Dino. Some cars were just simply racing cars for the road, like the F40, F50, Enzo and LaFerrari. Ferrari is the most valuable brand in the world as of 2016. Ferrari road cars are associated with the red colour, which has made it famous.
Future of Ferrari
The future of Ferrari will be just like what the other companies have been doing over the past 5 years. They are thinking of increasing its sales all around the world. The only way that they know will work is to make hybrids which are not very expensive to own. Also Ferrari is thinking about reducing its CO2 emissions and the fuel economy of their cars. Some of these sports cars which will be launched in the future will be either turbo-charged or hybrids. They are also planning on making a modular chassis for all front and mid-engined cars. They will be relaunching the Dino brand in the coming years. So overall the future of Ferrari is just like every other supercar manufacturer like Lamborghini, Pagani, McLaren, etc. The main aim of Ferrari will be to increase sales along with strict emission regulations in order to be more environment-friendly.