Our most eagerly awaited moment of the year has arrived as Scuderia Ferrari prepares to tackle the 1000th Grand Prix in its history. Not only that, but this milestone takes place at the Mugello Circuit, the facility owned by the Maranello marque, which gets to host a round of the blue riband category of motor racing for the very first time.
Historic. The Maranello marque has planned several initiatives, starting with a celebratory livery. Over the weekend, the SF1000s will feature a Burgundy colour, which is a faithful reproduction of the shade of red of the very first Prancing Horse car, the 125 S, and of the 125 F1 which took to the track in the Monaco Grand Prix on 21 May 1950. For the past 71 years, Ferrari has been ever-present in every year of the championship.
Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will also have special race suits for this unique race, a limited number of fans – 2880 – will be allowed into the grandstands from Friday onwards, all socially distanced, a sign of confidence and renewal. The celebrations will spread to nearby Florence with an event in the heart of the city.
Before the race start, Mick Schumacher, a Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) student will take to the track at the wheel of an F2004 that his father Michael drove in his last championship-winning year: a fitting tribute to the Scuderia’s most successful car and its incomparable driver.
Reference point. Opened in 1974 as a natural evolution of the Circuito Stradale established in 1914, the track is laid out in the hills of the municipality of Scarperia and San Piero a Sieve. The Mugello circuit has long been one of the favourite circuits for drivers in all motorsport disciplines and has been owned by Ferrari since 1988. It is one of the few tracks to receive an FIA 3 Star level certification. In fact, the facility has exceeded the environmental tests established by the FIA, thus recognised for its excellent policies and sustainability.
Iconic corners. At 5.245 kilometres in length, Mugello is one of the most spectacular tracks in the world. The braking point for the first corner, San Donato, is one of the most demanding on the track, coming at the end of a long flat-out straight. On the exit, drivers have to be ready for the esses made up of the Luco and Poggio Secco corners. A short straight lead to second esses, made up of Materassi and Borgo San Lorenzo, followed by a tricky sequence of two corners in the opposite direction, Casanova and Savelli. These are followed by the two most spectacular turns on the track: Arrabbiata 1 and 2.
The second is particularly tricky because it goes over the top of a hill and it’s not easy to work out the best line to take. The next set of esses is made up of the Scarperia and Palagio corners. A short straight brings you to the long bend known as Correntaio after which there is the fourth quick set of esses made up of the Biondetti 1 and Biondetti 2 bends. The lap is nearly over apart from the Bucine corner, a 180-degree turn that brings you back to the start-finish straight.
Piero Ferrari Vice Chairman
“Scuderia Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix is a very important milestone, therefore it had to be marked in a special way. That’s why we decided to run a unique livery on the cars for this event, with the SF1000s taking to the track at the Mugello Circuit in the Burgundy colour first seen on the 125 S, the first racing car to carry the Ferrari name. Even the look of the race numbers on Charles’ and Sebastian’s cars will reflect the tradition of the past, giving the impression of being hand-painted onto the bodywork, while the drivers’ race suits will also match the car colour.
It’s a tribute to our origins: to our starting point for the amazing Ferrari story, characterised by an endless desire to compete, alongside the will to build road cars that are exceptional in terms of technology and design. Ferrari is unique in the world because the company has the soul of a car manufacturer and of a racing team, an inseparable link that is never questioned.
Only a few months ago, no one could have imagined that our thousandth race could take place at our own Mugello circuit. I am pleased that in the Grand Prix official name, Formula 1 chose to pay tribute to Ferrari, the only team that has always been present in the sport’s seventy-one-year history.”
Sebastian Vettel #5
“It’s a great honour to be driving a Ferrari in what is the 1000th Grand Prix for this, the longest-serving of all Formula 1 teams. It will be even more of a pleasure to celebrate this anniversary at the Mugello Circuit and also because, for the first time this season, a few spectators will be allowed into the grandstands.
It is a very nice and super technical track with changes of gradient and very demanding corners. The track should better suit our car, so let’s hope we can deliver something to please the Tifosi, both at home and at the circuit.”
Charles Leclerc #16
“I can’t wait to be on track at Mugello with Ferrari. The circuit is really beautiful and on top of that, we are celebrating our team’s 1000th GP in Formula 1. I’m also pleased to learn there will be a few thousand fans in the grandstands.
The track has a very long straight, but it’s not super fast like the past two we raced on and so it should be a bit better suited to our car. It will be important to make the most of the track time available, as we have no data from which to start. We hope to put on a show for the people at home and those in the stands and also get back to picking up some good championship points.”
In the early September, Scuderia Ferrari took part in the Italian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, it was an extremely disappointing weekend as it ended with both cars retiring. Sebastian had to pull out after just six laps with a brake system issue, while Charles Leclerc crashed heavily into the barriers at the Parabolica while he was in a virtual third place. Fortunately, he was uninjured.
Also, the usual engineering debrief took place in which all the data from the Monza race was analysed. At the same time, preparations were underway for the Grand Prix at Mugello, although there is no particularly useful data available given that the test back on June was carried out using a two-year-old car. The track shares some characteristics with Silverstone, even if the surface material and the nature of some of the corners make it completely different from any other venue.
GP contested 999
Seasons in F1 71
Debut Monaco 1950 (Alberto Ascari 2nd; Raymond Sommer 4th; Luigi Villoresi ret.)
Wins 238 (23.82%)
Pole positions 228 (22.82%)
Fastest laps 254 (25.42%)
Podiums 772 (77.28%)
Tuscan GP – Ferrari 1000 Facts & Figures
5. Drivers from Tuscany that have raced in Formula 1. Consalvo Sanesi, with Alfa Romeo in 1950 and 1951; Piero Scotti, who took part in one race with a Connaught in 1956; Roberto Bussinello, two races to his name in 1961 in a De Tomaso and in 1965 with a BRM; Alessandro Nannini, 76 Formula 1 races and one win at Suzuka in 1989 in a Benetton-Ford, and Nicola Larini. Born in Camaiore he is the only driver from Tuscany to have driven for Scuderia Ferrari, as a test driver in Formula 1. He raced four times with the Maranello team and he finished second in that sad 1994 San Marino Grand Prix on the weekend when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives. Apart from the races with the Maranello team, he competed in 45 other Grands Prix for Osella, Ligier, Lamborghini and Sauber.
7. Drivers currently racing in Formula 1 who have taken part in a test at Mugello at the wheel of a Formula 1. Kimi Räikkönen who made his debut there in 2001, Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Bottas, Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, who ran in the Formula 1 teams’ test session in 2012 and Charles Leclerc who drove here on Tuesday 23 June in the test preceding the championship restart.
14.5. Times round the circumference of the earth, which corresponds to the 580,000 or so kilometres that Ferrari cars have covered in 999 Grands Prix held to date. Of these, almost two (just under 80,000 km) have been led by Maranello cars.
18. The nationalities of the 110 drivers who have been entered in at least one Formula 1 Grand Prix at the wheel of a Ferrari. Of these, 96 went on to actually race. The country which has fielded the most Ferrari drivers is Italy with 32, including double world champion Alberto Ascari. Next is Great Britain on 16, including 1958 champion Mike Hawthorn and the 1964 champion John Surtees, France and the United States with 11, including 1961 champion Phil Hill. Five were German including Michael Schumacher and his five titles with Ferrari and of course Sebastian Vettel, currently in the team. There have been four Argentines, including 1956 champion Juan Manuel Fangio; two Austrians and Finns, with two titles for Niki Lauda in 1975 and 1977 and one for Finn, Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. Just one South African has raced for the Scuderia, with Jody Scheckter winning the championship in 1979.
2180. The number of GP appearances for Ferrari cars that have raced over the 999 Grands Prix of the Maranello marque’s time in Formula 1 to date. The year which saw the largest number was 1953 when the 500 F2 became the most commonly used car in the championship, also run by three privateer teams during the season. In eight of the nine races (no Ferraris took part in the Indianapolis 500) Ferrari had 46 entries.
September in our history
9/9 – In 1979, it was the day of the Italian Grand Prix. Jody Scheckter could wrap up the title with two races still to go. With ten laps to go the South African had it in the bag. The only threat could have come from his team-mate Gilles Villeneuve, who was making up ground on him fast, getting into his slipstream. If the Canadian won, the title would have to wait. But Gilles never attacked Jody, out of loyalty and friendship and also because Villeneuve believed Scheckter deserved the title and his own chance would come one day. Ferrari also won the Constructors’ title.
10/9 – On this day in 1950 and in 1961 two drivers who played their part in Ferrari’s history died. Frenchman Raymond Sommer, born on 31 August 1906 in Mouzon near Belgium and nicknamed the “Wild boar of the Ardennes” was at the wheel of one of the three Ferrari 125 F1s that had been run in the Scuderia’s first Grand Prix on 21 May 1950 in Monaco. Raymond lost his life in an accident during the Haute Garonne Formula 3 Grand Prix at the wheel of a Cooper. Wolfgang Von Trips born in Cologne on 4 May 1928 was the first German to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix. In 1961, he was fighting for the title with his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Phil Hill. He died during that year’s Italian Grand Prix in a crash that also involved Jim Clark in a Lotus. Von Trips hit the banking and then ploughed into the crowd at the side of the track and 15 spectators also lost their lives.
11/9 – In 1988, just under a month after the death of Enzo Ferrari, the Italian Grand Prix took place. The McLarens of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost dominated qualifying and the race got underway with the Brazilian inheriting the lead when the Frenchman had to retire. On the 50th and penultimate lap, on the main straight, Senna came up to lap two cars, his friend Mauricio Gugelmin and Frenchman Jean-Louis Schlesser in a Williams. Ayrton got past the former while the latter appeared to move over at the first chicane. However, Schlesser tried to make the corner after locking his wheels and hit the rear suspension of the McLaren, putting Senna out of the race. The two Ferraris thus found themselves leading at the start of the final lap. Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto crossed the line information to take Ferrari’s 39th one-two finish. So strange were the circumstances there were some who cited intervention from up above.
12/9 – At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari announced it had extended Kimi Räikkönen’s contract to the end of the 2010 season. The Finn thus seemed destined to team up with Felipe Massa for the next two years, but it was not to be. The partnership ended at the end of 2009 when Kimi was replaced by Fernando Alonso. The Finn returned to the Scuderia in 2014 staying to 2018.
13/9 – In 1998 Scuderia Ferrari scored its 43rd one-two finish with Michael Schumacher ahead of Eddie Irvine in the Italian Grand Prix. This result and Mika Hakkinen finishing fourth meant that the German was now equal on points with the Finn with two more races to go, the Luxemburg Grand Prix at the Nurburgring and the Japanese Grand Prix.
photo credit: Ferrari