The team that arguably stands as a cornerstone in Formula 1 is the renowned Scuderia Ferrari. From the inception of Formula 1 in 1950, the Italian team has been a constant presence in the pinnacle of motorsport, fielding its iconic red cars. In the current season, the Ferrari drivers are Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with Fred Vasseur serving as the team principal, succeeding Mattia Binotto in 2023.
Founded by Enzo Ferrari in the 1940s, the team initially produced race cars using parts supplied by Alfa Romeo. While prototypes participated in various races, it wasn’t until 1950 that the first official Formula 1 race took place. From the outset, the Italians found success in the sport, a legacy that continues to this day. Ferrari has been racing at the highest level uninterrupted for an impressive 69 years.
Glory Years with Schumacher
For the most triumphant period in the Ferrari era, we don’t have to look far back in time—relatively speaking. Between 1999 and 2004, Scuderia Ferrari secured six consecutive titles, an achievement unmatched by any other team during those years. Led by top driver Michael Schumacher and team principal Jean Todt, the team dominated race after race, marking its most memorable era.
After securing two titles in 2007 and 2008, including one with Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari has faced a lack of success. Despite signing the highly successful Sebastian Vettel in 2014, the team has struggled to achieve significant victories.
Ferrari’s Disastrous Year in 2020
Ferrari’s position in 2020 was uncertain before the season began. In preceding years, the popular team consistently topped the time charts during winter testing, but this wasn’t the case in the 2020 test sessions. Prominent team members openly admitted that the car seemed disappointing even before the season started. Some suggested that the team might be intentionally downplaying its performance, a strategy known as ‘sandbagging.’
With the SF1000, Ferrari aimed to significantly improve downforce. The 2019 Ferrari was fast on straightaways, thanks to a powerful engine, but it struggled in corners. Team principal Mattia Binotto hoped that the new car for 2020 would allow Ferrari to compete with Mercedes and Red Bull Racing in corners as well. Ultimately, it turned out that the engine wasn’t competitive enough, leading Ferrari to lose substantial ground.
The 2020 season did not unfold as Ferrari had hoped. Despite expectations of contending for victories, the Italian Formula 1 team secured only one second-place finish and two third-place finishes. The car did not perform, and the data from the factory did not align with reality. The performance gap to the top was so significant that the team failed to score any points in five races. During the Turkish Grand Prix, Ferrari managed to secure 27 points, the best result of the season. Ultimately, Ferrari finished sixth in the constructor’s championship with 131 points, a disastrous outcome for the top team.
2021 Offers Hope for Ferrari in 2022
While Ferrari aspires to compete for both world titles each season, the team did not have the opportunity to do so in 2021. Mercedes and Red Bull outpaced the red cars, but Ferrari did show improvement compared to 2020. The team finished third in the constructor’s championship and seems to have a strong duo in Leclerc and Sainz. Leclerc secured two pole positions during the season, in Monaco and Azerbaijan. Although he couldn’t convert these into victories, Leclerc reached the podium once, while teammate Sainz stood on the podium four times. With a third-place finish, Ferrari outperformed rivals like McLaren.
This has laid a solid foundation for the Italian team heading into 2022. The new regulations could present Ferrari with an excellent opportunity to continue its upward trajectory. Team principal Binotto has expressed the team’s intention to compete for victories in 2022, even though a world championship might still be premature. Nevertheless, the team aims to narrow the gap with the frontrunners and regain its position among the elite.
Despite improved performance in 2022 and securing victories, Ferrari proved vulnerable to mistakes, and the car was unreliable at times. Leclerc finished second in the standings, but Verstappen dominated and won the title. Red Bull achieved the same in the constructor’s championship.
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