Ferrari Drives Its 1,000th Grand Prix Race
In the world of Formula One, Ferrari is in a league of its own. A record-breaking team, the last of the original F1 teams and a fan-favourite. Sebastian Vettel described it best when he said, “the red car - it means something to people around the world….Ferrari is just something unique”. Florence’s Piazza della Signoria was the ideal setting on Saturday evening to celebrate Ferrari’s 1000th Formula One Grand Prix.
To mark their 1000th F1 race, Ferrari looked back to the past and raced in their original burgundy livery that the team raced in at the 1950 Monaco GP before their iconic red F1 cars came into existence. Both Ferrari drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc changed out their signature red overalls to match the original burgundy colours. Piero Ferrari, the Vice Chairman of Ferrari, said the one-off colour change was “a tribute to our origins: to our starting point for the amazing Ferrari story”.
The occasion was even more significant as it was the first time this season that spectators had been allowed in the grandstands at a race due to coronavirus restrictions. The 1,000-race milestone was fittingly reached at the race circuit owned by Ferrari at Mugello, near Florence. This is the first time that a Formula One race has taken place at the track and this is due to the restructuring that happened to the season as a result of coronavirus.
On Saturday afternoon, Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick Schumacher who is currently a Ferrari Driver Academy driver, drove his father’s 2004 winning car around the track ahead of the race for the demonstration run. The drive paid homage to the team’s landmark success, at the circuit owned by the team, and to the man who had made Ferrari the legend that it is today. Afterwards, the younger Schumacher told an interviewer that it was “always a dream to drive this car…to drive it here in Mugello…it’s been an absolute honour”.
For years, Ferrari dominated the world of Formula One when Michael Schumacher was at the top of his game, breaking records across the sport. It’s the oldest race team in Formula One and its most successful, having won the World Championship 15 times, with Michael Schumacher winning 7 of them. Ferrari has taken part in every season of Formula One and it is still considered the gold standard for the sport.
Although Ferrari’s fortunes have changed in recent years and Mercedes and Red Bull now dominate the grid, the myth around the Rosso Corsa red car is still alive and well. This is in no small part due to the cult-following it developed on the race track with F1. While Leclerc finished the race in 8th position and Vettel in 10th, Ferrari is on track for one of its worst seasons since before Schumacher changed the team’s fortune in 1996. Vettel will be joining Racing Point, soon to be renamed Aston Martin, for the 2021 F1 season and will be replaced at McLaren’s Carlos Sainz who will hope to reverse the team’s fortunes.