Ferrari need no introduction, being the oldest, most famous and most successful team in the history of Formula 1.
The Italian outfit was on the grid from the very beginning, competing in the first-ever official season in 1950 and winning their first Drivers’ Championship two years later courtesy of Alberto Ascari. He retained his title a year later and was one of three drivers to become a World Champion with Ferrari that decade, the other two being Juan Manuel Fangio and Mike Hawthorn.
While they won four of the available 10 drivers’ titles in the 50s though, the Constructors’ Championship eluded them, They finished second to Vanwall when it was introduced in 1958 and second to Cooper the year after. Nevertheless, they had already established themselves as one of the heavyweight teams in the sport.
They consolidated that reputation in 1961, doing the title double for the first time with Phil Hill and Wolfgang Von Trips taking the top two spots in the standings. That was followed by two disappointing years in which they won just one race, but success returned in 1964.
In an extremely tight fight with BRM, they ultimately managed to win both titles by razor-thin margins with John Surtees scoring a point more than Graham Hill. That was ultimately as good as things would get for Ferrari in the 60s. They enjoyed some success in 1966, winning two races and coming second in the team standings but things went downhill after that.
In the final three seasons of the decade, they claimed just one victory and didn’t finish inside the top three of either championship once.
The team made a strong start to the 70s, fighting for and narrowly missing out on both titles in the first year thanks to the efforts of Jacky Ickx. They were poor for the next two campaigns before again falling just short on both fronts in 1974 with McLaren scoring eight more points than them and Emerson Fittipaldi scoring four more than Clay Regazzoni.
The championships finally returned to Maranello the next season with Niki Lauda dominating the competition in his second year in red, and that was the start of an excellent run for the Austrian and his team. He wasn’t able to retain his title in 1976 after a horrific crash in Germany caused him to miss two rounds, but Ferrari remained the best of the teams that year and the next, in which Lauda was able to become a two-time World Champion with ease.
Lotus were too strong for either him or Ferrari to challenge them in 1978 but the Scuderia headed into the 80s on a high, winning the Constructors’ Championship and the Drivers’ Championship, courtesy of Jody Scheckter, in ‘79.
The 70s had been an immensely successful period for Ferrari, but the 80s weren’t nearly as good. 1980 was one of their worst seasons ever as they scored just eight points and finished ahead of only one team in the standings. The following year was better but still not great, consisting of two wins but a whopping 15 retirements, causing them to finish P5 in the standings.
Things picked up again in the next two years with them managing to finish both as the highest scoring team, but the Drivers’ Championship eluded them. o too would the constructors’ title after that with the British teams of Williams and McLaren dominating for the remainder of the decade.
Ferrari had the resources and the drivers to compete with them, but it was becoming a more and more widely held view that they simply didn’t operate well enough as a team to do so, and that would remain the case for some time yet.
They headed into the 1990s with an immensely strong driver lineup, pairing reigning champion Alain Prost with Nigel Mansell, but even they couldn’t end the team’s title drought.
Prost came close to doing so in his first year there, finishing seven points behind Ayrton Senna, but after being given poor machinery in 1991, he publicly criticized his employers and was thus sacked before the end of the season.
Mansell had left before the start of after falling out with Prost, meaning they entered the 1992 campaign with a somewhat unspectacular lineup of Jean Alesi and Ivan Capelli. Such a lineup and yet another disappointing car led to a winless season.
Even with the signing of Gerhard Berger, another one followed after that before two years in which he and Alesi were able to give the team one victory each and two P3 finishes in the standings but nothing more.
Undoubtedly Ferrari’s best moment of the decade came off-track, when they signed Michael Schumacher ahead of the 1996 campaign. The German couldn’t bring glory back to the team immediately, but they did finally win the Constructors’ Championship again in 1999, and that was the start of something special.
Few teams have ever dominated the sport to the extent that Ferrari, led by Schumacher, did in the early 2000s. The German, along with staff members Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne were dubbed the dream team and revolutionized the way the team worked.
In the first three years of the 21st Century, they won both titles in comfortable fashion with Schumacher on another level to the rest of the field and Rubens Barrichello being the perfect team-mate to him.
Things were much closer in 2003 with Schumacher and his team prevailing in a thrilling three-horse race with McLaren and Williams, led by Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya. 2004 was a whole different story though as the German won 13 of the 18 races to cruise to his fifth-straight title.
That proved to be the end of an era as Renault and Fernando Alonso got the upperhand on the Italian team and their driver in 2005 and 2006, with Schumacher and Brawn both leaving at the end of the latter year.
With a lineup of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, they bounced back to win the Constructors’ Championship in the next two years, winning the drivers’ title in 2007 courtesy of the Finn before the Brazilian lost out to Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the final race in 2008.
After a poor 2009, Raikkonen was replaced by Alonso who fought for the title until the final race, often leading the standings. There, a poor strategy call dropped him down the order and allowed Sebastian Vettel to prevail, with his team, Red Bull, winning the constructors’.
It was a similar story in 2012 when, despite having poor machinery, Alonso somehow managed to challenge the vastly superior Red Bull of Vettel but again lost out in the season finale.
That was the last time Ferrari would challenge for a title in years with 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 all being disappointing as first Red Bull and then Mercedes dominated. With Vettel and Raikkonen driving for the team, they were finally able to fight the German team all year long in 2017 and 2018, but were ultimately beaten by Lewis Hamilton and co on both occasions.
2019 was a small step backwards, with Vettel and new team-mate Charles Leclerc taking multiple poles and wins but not being able to put together title challenges.
2020 was Ferrari’s worst season in a long, long time. More often than not, they were in the lower midfield and finished the year in P6 in the standings with no wins to their name. That was their lowest finishing position since 1980.
Decent progress was then made the next year, in which Carlos Sainz replaced Vettel, as they at least climbed up to the top of the midfield, prevailing in a tight fight with McLaren to take P3.
Regulation changes offered them the chance to get back to the front of the field in 2022, and with their excellent drivers, their vast resources and improved way in which they operated in 2021, it would be a surprise if they didn’t take it.
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