Who are the greatest drivers in Ferrari's lucrative history?
This question was posed by GPFans as Ferrari look to celebrate their 1,000th race in Formula 1 this weekend. The only team to have been in sport for the entirety of its 70 years, it has given us some illustrious names over the years.
It is also time for change at Ferrari with the news being confirmed this morning that Sebastian Vettel is moving to Aston Martin from next season.
His six seasons at Ferrari will go down as a case of what might have been, with the German coming close to challenging on a couple of occasions, but never managing to win the Drivers' Championship, after four successive years of triumph at Red Bull.
Due to his inconsistencies at Ferrari and flattering to deceive during his time there, GPFans leave him out of their top 10 list, putting him in at 11th.
So who does make the top 10 list and what is the justification for their inclusion?
10) Jacky Ickx
A former Belgian saloon car champion who was adept in both two wheels and four wheels. He had two spells at Ferrari in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Winning six times in 54 races may not be the best record, but he was remembered for challenging Jochen Ridnt for the title back in 1970. He also had a very successful career at Le Mans 24-hour racing, winning the race six times.
9) Jose Froilan Gonzalez
Gonzalez gains a spot on the list, purely on the basis that he was the first Ferrari driver to win a race. He earned both of his wins in Formula 1 at the British Grand Prix in 1951 and 1954.
8) Fernando Alonso
Alonso joined Ferrari looking for that elusive third drivers’ title, which still eludes him to this day. He missed out in 2010 and 2012 narrowly behind Vettel, who was driving for Red Bull at the time. A team and a car that were very much in transition and poorly performing during his time there, it’s a testament to Alonso’s undoubted talent that he managed 11 wins during his time.
7) Alain Prost
Prost only spent two seasons with Ferrari. His first season ended up in a dog fight for the title with arch rival Ayrton Senna, with the Brazilian coming out on top in Suzuka. However, this was followed by a desperately disappointing season in 1991, in which Prost failed to record a single victory and thus his time ended abruptly at the end of that season after falling out with the team and publicly slamming the performance of the car.
6) John Surtees
Another man who was adept at both two wheel and four wheel racing. He still is the only man in history to win World Championships in both formats. He won the 1964 Championship for Ferrari, seeing off fellow Brits Graham Hill and Jim Clark in the process of making history.
5) Juan Manuel Fangio
A superstar of the sport, winning five Drivers’ Championships. However, his best years were not at Maranello. He joined Ferrari in 1956 and won five races and managed to win the world title that year, but it was not a happy marriage and both parties went their separate ways after the solitary season.
4) Gilles Villeneuve
The legendary Canadian did not have the greatest car during his time at Ferrari, but he consistently outperformed his teammate Didier Pironi. He racked up six wins at Ferrari, finishing second in the championship in 1979. His untimely death in 1982 at the Belgian Grand Prix cut a promising career cruelly short.
3) Niki Lauda
The great Austrian driver secured Ferrari’s first title after John Surtees in 1975. After his horrific accident at the Nurburgring in 1976, when on course for another title, he managed to battle back after a month and fought James Hunt for the title right until the end. Remarkably he notched another three wins and won it back in 1977 for the second of his three Drivers’ Championship titles.
2) Michael Schumacher
Schumacher dominated the sport in the late 90s and early 2000s. Five successive titles between 2000 and 2004 and he won 72 races out of 174 for Ferrari. Quite remarkably, he does not top GPFans list of all-time Ferrari greats, due to the that controversy surrounded him. The incidents in Monaco and Jerez mark a blot on his copy book which means he is pipped to the post of Ferrari’s number one.
1) Alberto Ascari
Ascari was Ferrari’s first champion and he dominated the sport in the early 1950’s. He still holds the record alongside Vettel for the most consecutive victories in the sport, with nine. He was later tragically killed in an accident in 1955. His legacy still lives on in Italian motor racing, being the last Italian to win a world championship.
Plenty of food for thought and debate within this list. Personally, I would have Schumacher at the top given his record, but either way, it is a compelling list with a number of legends of the sport.
- Sebastian Vettel joins Aston Martin
- F1 looking into introducing reverse grid races
- F1 game simulates race with reverse grid concept