Posts Tagged ‘Ferrari 126CK’

GV Wolf WD1 Chev, Trois Rivieres 1977 (MotorSport)

1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve’s dad doesn’t have awe inspiring race-statistics, so why is he revered by generations of F1 fans born long after he died? Mark Bisset looks back at the French-Canadian legend 40 years after that tragic May 8, 1982 Belgian GP weekend at Zolder

Before the carbon-fibre era few of motor racing’s supreme automotive acrobats died quietly in their beds.

Bernd Rosemeyer, Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, Ayrton Senna, Stefan Bellof, Gilles Villeneuve and their ilk had God-given skills which awed fellow competitors and spectators alike.

Spectacular car control, seemingly impossible passes and flagrant disregard for their own safety were their modus operandi, performed without the many ‘safety nets’ of modern F1.

Attack! GV during the September 1977 GP de Trois Rivieres, Canada weekend. Q3 and 14th with engine problems aboard Walter Wolf’s Wolf WD1 Chev. Patrick Tambay took the win, Lola T333CS Chev (MotorSport)
Gilles during the 1977 British GP weekend at Silverstone, F1 newbie (LAT)

Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve (18/1/1950-8/5/1982) was one of the most spectacular practitioners of his art, he wanted – needed – to be the quickest racer out there in every session. To his ultimate cost.

Seville Villeneuve whetted his son’s competitive juices by giving him a snowmobile, by 1972 Gilles was a pro-driver with Skiroule, in 1974 he won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby at Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Villeneuve mounts his Alouette 650 single-track, all set to win at Eagle River in 1974 (CJ Ramstad)

Seville nurtured Gilles’ early interest in cars too. Villeneuve took a Jim Russell course at Mont Tremblant, then demonstrated the same mastery of machine on bitumen as on snow aboard a Magnum Formula Ford, winning a regional Quebec championship in 1973.

Villeneuve later said of snowmobiling “Every winter you could reckon on three or four big over 100mph spills. They slide a lot, which taught me about control. Unless you were in the lead you could see nothing with all the snow blowing about, it was good for the reactions and stopped me worrying about racing in the rain.”

GV, Magnum Formula Ford in 1973 Trois Rivieres? (MGV)
March 77B Ford BDA, Trois Rivieres 1977. Fourth from pole, Price Cobb won in another 77B (MotorSport)

Villeneuve progressed and was immediately quick in an Ecurie Canada March 74B Formula Atlantic (FA) in 1974 until the wild-man broke his leg at Mosport mid-season.

Fully committed, Gilles sold his home to fund a privately run March 75B the following year, travelling to the races with wife Joann and his children Melanie and Jacques in a motorhome. His breakthrough win came in the wet at Gimli, then he stunned visiting GP drivers by putting the March third on the grid at Quebec’s GP de Trois Rivieres street race.

Racing for the top-gun Ecurie Canada equipe again in 1976, he won Canadian and US (IMSA) FA Championships then popped the icing on the cake by winning Trois Rivieres from pole ahead of Alan Jones, James Hunt, Vittorio Brambilla, Bobby Rahal and Patrick Tambay.

Teddy Mayer tasked Leo Wybrott, Stevie Bun and John Hornby to look after Gilles’ McLaren M23/8. “He was communicating with me so well, and we started to change the set-up of the car and he went faster and faster. We were fourth or fifth quickest, eventually qualifying ninth. We didn’t qualify higher because we didn’t have access to the soft Goodyears” Wybrott recalled. (MotorSport)
Villeneuve lapping Silverstone in ’77. His first race outside North America was in the 1976 Pau GP for Ron Dennis’ Project Four outfit, Q10 and DNF in a year old March 752 Hart impressed the F2 regulars (LAT)

The international racing world was abuzz with the other-worldly-skills of the pint-sized Canadian magician. No less an admirer than James Hunt pressed his cause with McLaren’s Teddy Mayer who ran a car for Gilles at the 1977 British GP.

Villeneuve explored the limits of his M23, spinning on most of Silverstone’s corners as he worked out the car’s limits, outqualifying his vastly more experienced teammate, Jochen Mass. He finished 11th despite a pitstop for what turned out to be a broken water temperature gauge.

Further impressive Formula Atlantic drives and pace aboard Walter Wolf’s wilful Wolf WD1 Chev Can-Am car established his big-car credentials.

Villeneuve in the Wolf WD1 Chev, circuit unknown, 1977. The Canadian was immediately quick in this challenging car vacated by Chris Amon upon his retirement from racing (unattributed)
GV and Patrick Tambay at Trois Rivieres in September 1977. Tambay won the race (and the series overall) in the Carl Haas’ Lola T333CS Chev behind him, GV DNF engine from Q3. #25 is Bobby Rahal’s Lola T296 Ford BDX (LAT)

When Mayer signed Patrick Tambay to replace Mass in 1978, Enzo Ferrari bagged Villeneuve. Gilles remained a Ferrari driver – surely ordained at his birth – for the balance of his way-too-short career.

His first 1977 start at Mosport ended with a DNF, tragedy followed at Fuji a fortnight later. Gilles challenged Ronnie Peterson’s Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler under brakes, the pair collided causing the Canadian’s Ferrari to vault the armco into a restricted area where it killed a spectator and a marshall. Despite a no-fault finding his year couldn’t have ended on a worse note.

Villeneuve mid-flight at Fuji with the fatal consequences imminent. Peterson’s Tyrrell P34 rear damage ‘clear’. Rare shot of the underside of a 312T2 Ferrari inclusive of the pipe-bender’s artistry (unattributed)
GV on the way to his first GP win at home in October 1978, Montreal, Ferrari 312T3. His future teammate, Scheckter was second in a Wolf WR6 Ford and present teammate Reutemann was third (unattributed)

1978 was character building. Villeneuve was unsurprisingly bested by his seasoned Ferrari teammate Carlos Reutemann who won three Grands Prix in the year of the dominant ground-effect Lotus 79, Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson.

After a series of early season DNFs and accidents the Italian press were baying for his blood, twelve months later they wanted him anointed a Saint.

Better performances in later ’78 were capped by a season-ending Mosport home win. His emotions at the year’s conclusion were the complete reverse of those twelve months before.

Gilles and Jody at Hockenheim in July1979. Alan Jones started his late season run of wins that weekend in his Williams FW07 Ford. Sceckter was fourth and Villeneuve eighth (unattributed)

Enzo Ferrari’s pairing of F1’s 1973 and 1978 enfants terrible, Jody Scheckter and Villeneuve in 1979 seemed a volatile Molotov Cocktail to many pit-pundits, but the kindred spirits gelled.

They extracted all Mauro Forghieri’s ground effect Ferrari 312T4 had. Gilles had the edge in outright pace – both won three Grands Prix – but Jody’s better placings, and Gilles preparedness to keep to team instructions, in a line-ball season edged out the Canadian by four points.

British GP, Silverstone 1979. Ferrari 312T4 14th on the day Clay Regazzoni i took a famous first win for Williams – FW07 Ford (M Lee)
It may not always have been the quickest way around a racetrack, but GV’s style sure was entertaining! Zolder, May 1979, 7th, Scheckter won (MotorSport)

Two races which partially forged the Villeneuve legend were at Dijon and Zandvoort.

Two-mad-little-Froggies, Auvergne’s Rene Arnoux and Quebec’s Gilles Villeneuve went at it hammer and tongs in the French GP’s final laps in an epic, breath taking, wheel to wheel-tapping battle between Renault RE10 and Ferrari 312T4 for second place.

 In a magnum-opus of car control the pair waged a dice the likes of which GP racing hasn’t seen since. The duo gave each other just enough room – centimetres – to carry off a balletic-opera rather than tragic-comedy which concluded in Gilles’ favour.

So all-consuming was this dice that Renault and Jean Pierre Jabouille’s first turbo-car, and first GP win (Renault RE10) were almost forgotten!

During the Dutch GP’s closing laps Villeneuve’s left-rear tyre exploded. Undeterred, and desperate for points he reversed back onto the track and headed for the distant pits shredding the tyre, wheel and left-side suspension assembly. Gilles devotees saw it as his passionate will to win while his detractors offered the display as further evidence that he was absolutely bonkers…

Crazy last laps at Dijon in 1979: Villeneuve 312T4 and Rene Arnoux, Renault RE10 (MotorSport)
Ferrari 126CK, Dijon DNF French GP 1981 (MotorSport)

1980 was a Ferrari disaster as more advanced ground effect cars bested the 312T5, limited as it was by the width of its 180-degree V12 (or Flat-12 if you wish) which impinged on critical sidepod/tunnel size.

Ferrari joined the turbo-age in 1981 with the 550-600bhp 1.5-litre 126CK. Its combination of tricky power delivery mixed with chassis and aerodynamic shortcomings created a machine in which Gilles comprehensively blew-off new teammate, Didier Pironi after Scheckter retired (Villeneuve outqualified Pironi 10-5 that year).

Villeneuve showed plenty of controlled aggression, winning at Monaco after keeping the tricky car on the island as others crashed or had mechanical misfortune.

Three weeks later at Jarama, Gilles took the Spanish GP lead on lap 14 then fronted a high-speed freight train of Jacques Laffite, John Watson, Carlos Reutemann and Elio De Angelis, nose-to-tail for 18 laps in a classic battle of a more powerful but ill-handling car holding off four better handling cars. The top-5 were separated by 1.5 seconds at the finish of a thriller in which Gilles put not a foot wrong.

On the way to winning the 1981 Monaco GP, Ferrari 126CK. Jones second in his Williams FW07C Ford and Laffitte third in Ligier JS17 Matra (unattributed)
Here we go with 2 laps to run, Imola 1982 (unattributed)

And so, to the Final Act.

1982 started as ‘81 finished, Gilles outqualified his friend Pironi – they were mates let’s not forget – four nil aboard the improved 126C2 at Kyalami, Rio, Long Beach and Imola.

Pironi was feeling the pressure, why would Ferrari keep him if he couldn’t deliver the goods?  The consistent gap between he and Gilles was marked.

The San Marino Grand Prix grid was decimated by the ongoing FOCA/FISA turf/sporting/commercial battle, ten of the FOCA teams didn’t enter. After the retirement of the leading Renaults, Villeneuve led Pironi (as usual).

Ferrari’s ‘slow’ pitboard was interpreted as slow and hold position by Gilles. Pironi passed Villeneuve, Villeneuve re-took the lead three times, and then slowed thrice. Despite this – Villeneuve’s superiority over the Frenchman crystal clear to all over the previous 15-months – Pironi passed again and took the chequered flag having interpreted the signal differently. Or took a win he badly needed and hadn’t achieved mano et mano in fair combat.

Gilles burned with fury, setting up the tragedy which unfolded at Zolder a fortnight later on May 8, 1982.

Zolder pits, May 8, 1982. GV ready for the off, Ferrari 126C2 chassis #056
GV 126C2 #055 at Kyalami in January 1982. The monocoque chassis was a composite structure made of Hexcel carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb, a far cry from the strength of the high speed carbon fibre dodgem-F1s of today

Fuelled by anger and determined to beat Pironi’s better qualifying time, Villeneuve set off on those final laps, fell short, then collided with Jochen Mass’ March at 120-140mph as both cars changed direction before Terlamenbocht – Mass moved his March, in fifth gear but going much slower than Villeneuve, to the right to allow the Ferrari to pass on the left – launching the Ferrari into the air and then a series of horrific cartwheels. The hapless racer suffered a fracture of the cervical vertebrae and a severed spinal chord, he died at 9:12pm that evening at the University of St Raphael Hospital in Louvain

Canada and the racing world mourned, as many still do.

Based on statistics Villeneuve isn’t one of the greats, but like Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Rindt and Peterson, Gilles is revered for the passion, brio, fire and electricity he produced in a racing car every time he jumped aboard.

When Villeneuve was on track the beer-tents emptied. The automotive acrobat was about to strut his stuff, sadly the catch-net and the gods were absent on that day in Belgium 40 short years ago.

“I know that no human being can perform miracles. But Gilles made you wonder sometimes,” quipped Jacques Laffite.

R.I.P Gilles Villeneuve. We salute you.

Credits…

MotorSport, LAT, CJ Ramstad, museegillesvilleneuve.com, Martin Lee, Leo Wybrott on auto123.com, Getty Images, ‘Gilles Villeneuve:The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver’ Gerald Donaldson

Tailpiece…

Last lap. Still on the hop, quallies useless by then but he was still on the hop…

Finito…

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Albert Park 2022 (formula1news.co.uk)

Ferrari have been fantastic this year, as they often are in seasons of a new F1 formula. Mark Bisset analyses that notion and calculates the Maranello mob’s likely chances of success…

Aren’t the 2022 F1 rules fantastic! The FIA tossed the rule book up in the air – in a highly sophisticated kind of way of course – and it landed as they hoped with a few long overdue changes in grid makeup.

Ferrari up front is good for F1, anyone other than Mercedes will do, their domination of modern times has made things a bit dreary.

It’s way too early to call the season, but two out of four for Ferrari has promise given the budget-cap. “It’ll be ten races before McLaren have their new car. And it won’t be all new, that’s not possible within the budget constraints,” Joe Ricciardo told me on the morning of the AGP.

By the end of the season, the new-competitive-paradigm will be clear to the team’s Technical Directors, next year’s cars will reflect that. In the meantime, we have great, different looking cars the performance shortcomings of which can be addressed, to an extent.

For many years Ferrari was a good bet in the first season of a new set of regulations, let’s look at how they’ve gone since 1950 on the basis that history is predictive of the future…

Froilan Gonzalez and Ferrari 375 win the ‘51 British GP from pole. JM Fangio and Gigi Villoresi were second and third in Alfa 159 and Ferrari 375 (goodwood.com)

Enzo Ferrari ran a family business, while he was technically conservative and kept a wary eye on the lire, his first championship GP winning car, the Tipo 375 4.5-litre normally aspirated V12 raced by Froilan Gonzalez in the 1951 British GP at Silverstone commenced a new engine paradigm (achievements of the Talbot Lago T26Cs duly recognised).

Since the 1923 Fiat 805 GP winners had been mainly, but not exclusively powered by two-valve, twin-cam, supercharged straight-eights, like the 1950-1951 World Championship winning Alfa Romeo 158-159s were.

Alfa’s 1951 win (JM Fangio) was the last for a supercharged car until Jean -Pierre Jabouille’s Renault RS10 won the 1979 French GP, and  Ferrari were victorious in the 1982 Constructors Championship with the turbo-charged 126C2.

When Alfa withdrew from GP racing at the end of 1951, and BRM appeared a likely non-starter, the FIA held the World Championship to F2 rules given the paucity of F1 cars to make decent grids.

Alberto Ascari, Ferrari 500 Spa, Belgian GP 1952. He won from his teammate Nino Farina and Robert Manzon, Gordini 16 (MotorSport)

Aurelio Lampredi’s existing 2-litre, four-cylinder F2 Ferrari 500 proved the dominant car in Alberto Ascari’s hands taking back-to-back championships in 1953-53.

Alberto’s ‘winningest’ 500 chassis, #005 was raced with great success by Australians Tony Gaze and Lex Davison. Davo won the 1957 and 1958 AGPs in it and our first Gold Star, awarded in 1957. Australia’s fascination with all things Ferrari started right there.

After two years of domination Ferrari were confident evolutions of the 500 would suffice for the commencement of the 2.5-litre formula (1954-1960), but the 555/625 Squalo/Super Squalos were dogs no amount of development could fix.

Strapped for cash, Ferrari was in deep trouble until big-spending Gianni Lancia came to his aid. Lancia’s profligate expenditure on some of the most stunning sports and racing cars of all time brought the company to its knees in 1955.

While company founder Vincenzo Lancia turned in his grave, Gianni’s mother dealt with the receivers and Enzo Ferrari chest-marked, free of charge, a fleet of superb, new, Vittorio Jano designed Lancia D50s, spares and personnel in a deal brokered by the Italian racing establishment greased with a swag of Fiat cash.

Juan Manuel Fangio duly delivered the Lancia Ferrari goods by winning the 1956 F1 Drivers Championship in a Lancia Ferrari D50 V8.

JM Fangio clipping the apex at Copse, Silverstone in 1956 Lancia Ferrari D50. The Alfonso De Portago/Peter Collins D50 was second and Jean Behra Maserati 250F third (LAT)
Silverstone again, this time Mike Hawthorn in 1958, Ferrari Dino 246. Peter Collins’ Dino won from Hawthorn and Roy Salvadori’s Cooper T45 Climax (LAT)

 Mike Hawthorn followed up with the 1958 Drivers’ Championship victory in the superb Dino 246 V6 which begat Scuderia Ferrari’s next change-of-formula success in 1961.

Concerned with rising F1 speeds (there is nothing new in this world my friends) the FIA imposed a 1.5-litre limit from 1961-1965.

Ferrari raced a 1.5-litre F2 Dino variant from 1958 so were superbly placed to win the 1961 championship despite their first mid-engined 156 racer’s chassis and suspension geometry shortcomings.

The (mainly) British opposition relied on the Coventry Climax 1.5-litre FPF four which gave away heaps of grunt to the Italian V6, only Stirling Moss aboard Rob Walker’s Lotus 18 Climax stood in Ferrari’s way. The championship battle was decided in Phil Hill’s favour after the grisly death of his teammate Count ‘Taffy’ Von Trips and 15 Italian spectators at Monza.

Ferrari 156 at Modena in 1961 (ferrari.com)

By 1964 Ferrari – never quick to adopt new technology back then – had ditched the 156’s Borrani wire wheels, spaceframe chassis and Weber carburettors thanks to Mauro Forghieri, the immensely gifted Modenese engineer behind much of Ferrari’s competition success for the next couple of decades. John Surtees won the ’64 F1 Drivers and Constructors Championships in a Ferrari 158 V8.

With ‘The Return to Power’, as the 1966-1986 3-litre F1 was billed (3-litres unsupercharged, 1.5-litres supercharged) – sportscars were making a mockery of the pace of 1.5-litre F1 cars – Ferrari and Surtees had a mortgage on the 1966 championships until they shot themselves in the foot.

Coventry Climax, the Cosworth Engineering of the day, withdrew from racing at the end of 1965 leaving their customers scratching around for alternative engines.

Ferrari were again in the box-seat in ’66 as their 312 V12 engined racer was ready nice and early. It was an assemblage of new chassis and an engine and gearbox plucked from the Maranello sportscar parts bins. With a championship seemingly in-the-bag, Modenese-Machiavellian-Machinations led to Surtees spitting the dummy over incompetent team management and walked out.

Look out blokes, ‘comin through! John Surtees at Eau Rouge, Spa, Ferrari 312 in 1966, ‘Grand Prix’ cinematographers totally unperturbed by the Flying Ferrari. Surtees won from Jochen Rindt’s Cooper T81 Maserati and Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari 158/246 (MotorSport)

It was the happiest of days for Jack Brabham, his increasingly quick and reliable Brabham BT19 Repco V8 comfortably saw off Lorenzo Bandini and Mike Parkes who weren’t as quick or consistent as Big John.

Scuderia Ferrari were then in the relative GP wilderness until 1970 just after Fiat acquired Ferrari, but leaving Enzo to run the race division until his demise.

Fiat’s cash was soon converted into 512S sportscars and the most successful V12 ever built. Ferrari’s Tipo 015 180-degree 3-litre masterpiece won 37 GPs from 1970-1980 in the hands of Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni, Mario Andretti, Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve. Not to forget Constructors’ titles for Ferrari in 1975-1977 and 1979, and Drivers’ championships for Lauda (1975,1977) and Scheckter (1979).

Oops, getting a bit off-topic.

Gilles Villeneuve in the fugly but effective and reliable Ferrari 312T4 at Monaco in 1979. Note the hard working, fully extended skirts. Jody Scheckter won in the other T4 from Clay Regazzoni’s Williams FW07 Ford and Carlos Reutemann’s Lotus 79 Ford (unattributed)

The next F1 step-change wasn’t FIA mandated, but was rather as a consequence of Peter Wright and Colin Chapman’s revolutionary 1977/78 Lotus 78/79 ground effects machines which rendered the rest of the grid obsolete.

Forghieri stunned the F1 world when Ferrari adapted their wide, squat 525bhp 3-litre twelve to a championship winning ground effects car despite the constraints the engine’s width bestowed upon aerodynamicists intent on squeezing the largest possible side-pods/tunnels between the engine/chassis and car’s outer dimensions. Scheckter and Canadian balls-to-the-wall firebrand Villeneuve took three GPs apiece to win titles for Scheckter and Ferrari.

Renault led the technology path forward with its 1.5-litre turbo-charged V6 engines from 1977 but it was Ferrari who won the first Manufacturers Championships so equipped in 1982-83.

The Harvey Postlethwaite designed 560-680bhp 1.5-litre turbo V6 126C2 won three Grands Prix in an awful 1982 for Ferrari. Practice crashes at Zolder and Hockenheim killed Villeneuve and ended Didier Pironi’s career. Keke Rosberg won the drivers title aboard a Williams FW08 Ford in a year when six teams won Grands Prix.

High speed Jarama caravan in 1981. Brilliant drive of controlled precision and aggression by Gilles Villeneuve won the race for Ferrari. His more powerful and more unwieldy 126CK just held his pursuers at bay; Jacques Laffite, Ligier JS17 Matra, John Watson, McLaren MP4/1 Ford, Carlos Reutemann’s, Williams FW07C Ford and the just visible Elio de Angelis, Lotus 87 Ford – they finished in this order (unattributed)

Despite a change to a 3.5-litre/1.5-litres four-bar of boost formula in 1987-88 Ferrari stuck with its turbo-cars. The F1/87 and F1/87/88C designed by Gustav Brunner delivered fourth and second in the Constructors Championships, the victorious cars were the Williams FW11B Honda and McLaren MP4/4 Honda.

Enzo Ferrari died in August 1988, not that the company’s Machiavellian culture and quixotic decision making was at an end…

Rock star ex-McLaren designer John Barnard joined Ferrari in 1987. The first fully-Barnard-car was the seductive 640 built for the first year of the stunning, technically fascinating 1989-1994 3.5-litre formula.

This 660bhp V12 machine, fitted with the first electro-hydraulic, seven-speed paddle-shift, semi-automatic gearbox won three races (Nigel Mansell two, Gerhard Berger, one) and finished third in the constructor’s championship.

Innovative as ever, Barnard’s car wasn’t reliable nor quite powerful enough to beat the Alain Prost (champion) and Ayrton Senna driven McLaren MP4/5B Hondas. Despite six wins aboard the evolved 641 (five for Prost, one to Mansell) in 1990 the car still fell short of McLaren Honda, Senna’s six wins secured drivers and manufacturers titles for the British outfit.

Gerhard Berger pings his Ferrari 640 thru Spa’s Bus Stop chicane in 1989, DNF in the race won by Ayrton Senna’s McLaren MP4/5 Honda (unattributed)

F1’s all-time technology high-water marks are generally regarded as the Williams’ FM14B and FW15C Renault V10s raced by Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost to Drivers and Manufacturers championships in 1992-93. They bristled with innovation deploying active suspension, a semi-automatic gearbox, traction control, anti-lock brakes, fly-by-wire controls and more.

As 1994 dawned Ferrari had been relative also-rans for too long, persevering with V12s long after Renault and Honda V10s had shown the way forward. This period of great diversity – in 1994 Renault, Yamaha, Peugeot, Mugen Honda, Hart, Mercedes Benz and Ilmor Engineering supplied V10s, while Cosworth Engineering provided several different Ford V8s, not to forget Ferrari’s Tipo 043 V12 – ended abruptly at Imola during the horrific May weekend when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger lost their lives in separate, very public accidents.

In response, FIA chief Max Mosley mandated a series of immediate safety changes and introduced a 3-litre capacity limit from 1995-2004.

Ferrari’s 412T2 V12s finished a distant third in the 1995 Constructors Championship behind Renault powered Benetton and Williams. Much better was the three wins secured by recent signing, Michael Schumacher aboard the V10 (hooray finally!) engined F310, and four with the 310B in 1996-97. Ferrari’s Head of Aerodynamics in this period was Aussie, Willem Toet (1995-1999).

Michael Schumacher nips a brake testing the Ferrari 412T2 at Estoril in November 1995. His final race with Benetton in Adelaide was less than a fortnight before (unattributed)

Ferrari’s Holy Racing Trinity were anointed when Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher (not to forget Chief Designer Rory Byrne) came together as CEO, Technical Director and Lead Driver; six Constructors World Championships flowed from 1999 to 2004.

Renault and Fernando Alonso took top honours with the R25 in 2005, but Ferrari were handily placed for the first year of the 2.4-litre V8 formula in a further emasculation of the technical differences between marques in 2006. Mind you, the primeval scream of these things at 20,000rpm or so is something we can only dream of today.

Ferrari’s 248 F1 used an updated F2005 chassis fitted with the new Tipo 056 715-785bhp V8. It came home like a train in the back end of the season, winning seven of the last nine races, but fell short of the Renault R26 in both the Constructors and Drivers titles.

Alonso beat Schumacher 134 points to 121, and Renault 206 points to Ferrari’s 201 but the 248 F1 won 9 races (Schumacher seven, Felipe Massa two) to Renault’s 8 (Alonso seven, Giancarlo Fisichella one), so let’s say it was a line-ball thing…and Kimi Raikkonen brought home the bacon for himself and Ferrari with the new F2007 in 2007.

Michael Schumacher displays the elegant simplicity of his Ferrari 248 on the way to winning the Italian GP, Monza 2006 (unattributed)

In more recent times the whispering 1.6-litre single turbo V6 formula, incorporating an energy recovery system, was introduced in 2014.

Ferrari fielded two world champions for the first time since 1954 (Giuseppe Farina and Alberto Ascari) when Alonso and Raikkonen took the grid in new F14T’s, but that dazzling combo could do no better than two podiums in a season dominated by Lewis Hamilton’s and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrids.

Ferrari’s season was a shocker, it was the first time since 1993’s F93A that the Scuderia had not bagged at least one GP win.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari F14T at Suzuka in October 2014. DNF in the race won by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes Benz F1W05 Hybrid. What visual atrocities the cars of 2014 were (MotorSport)

So, what does history tell us about Ferrari’s prospects in this 2022 formula change year? Given our simple analysis, at the start of the season Ferrari had a 36% chance of bagging both titles, but with two out of four wins early on for Charles Leclerc they must be at least an even money chance now.

I’m not so sure I’d put my house on them, but I’d happily throw yours on lucky red!

Credits…

formula1news.co.uk, goodwood.com, ferrari.com, LAT, MotorSport

Finito…