Ferrari are Formula 1’s oldest and most successful team, having competed in the sport since the very first F1 season in 1950, and with a total of 31 championship titles to their name. But the last of those title was a constuctors’ championship win back in 2008 – so can they break that long duck in 2023? Here’s everything you need to know about the Scuderia ahead of the new season…
Drivers for 2023
Charles Leclerc #16: 5 wins, 18 pole positions, 24 podiums, 868 points, 102 starts
Carlos Sainz #55: 1 win, 3 pole positions, 15 podiums, 782.5 points, 162 starts
Charles Leclerc stepped up to F1 as a GP3 and F2 champion in 2018, completing his rookie campaign with Alfa Romeo before long-time backers Ferrari promoted him to the hot seat at Maranello.
Leclerc’s first victories came at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza during the 2019 season, form that led to Ferrari putting their faith in the Monegasque with a new long-term contract.
READ MORE: Leclerc feeling ‘more mature’ after recent setbacks as he and Ferrari regroup for 2023 title push
A difficult period followed for the Scuderia in 2020 and 2021 (the latter year marking Carlos Sainz’s arrival as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement), and it was not until the 2022 rules reset that Leclerc could mix it at the front of the field again.
Former Red Bull junior Sainz faced more of a challenge adapting to the new regulations, but the Spaniard gradually recovered and regained the level of confidence he displayed in 2021 – and with McLaren, Renault and Toro Rosso before that.
Ferrari’s 2022 season started like a dream, with Leclerc taking the fight to reigning champion Max Verstappen at the Bahrain opener and winning an epic wheel-to-wheel battle. Sainz then picked up the pieces amid Verstappen’s shock DNF to put the icing on the cake in the form of a one-two.
Following the third round in Australia, where Verstappen suffered another race-ending technical issue and Leclerc won again, Ferrari held significant leads in both championships, raising hopes of a first title for the team since 2008.
READ MORE: Sainz looking to return to ‘Consistent Carlos’ in 2023 – but says Ferrari will need to be ‘perfect’ to compete for championship
However, their challenge dramatically unravelled through questionable strategy calls, unreliability and driver errors, all while Red Bull found form and embarked on a dominant run. Leclerc only won one more race, at the Red Bull Ring, while Sainz added another with his maiden F1 victory from a maiden F1 pole at Silverstone.
Although Ferrari achieved their goal of returning to competitive ways (underlined by Leclerc leading the pole position charts with nine P1 starts), the season was a missed opportunity and, following plenty of chatter in the Italian media, Mattia Binotto departed his role as team boss at the end of the year.
Ferrari are synonymous with F1. As the sport’s oldest and most successful team, having competed in every season to date, they are cheered on by a legion of fans worldwide – affectionately known as the tifosi.
READ MORE: New team boss Vasseur watches on as Leclerc completes Ferrari ‘wake-up’ test at Fiorano
Founded by Enzo Ferrari back in 1929, and after first fielding cars produced by Alfa Romeo, the Prancing Horse started manufacturing their own machines in 1947. When the F1 World Championship launched three years later, Ferrari were involved from the outset.
From Alberto Ascari in 1952 to Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, nine drivers have contributed to 15 drivers’ titles over the years, including Michael Schumacher’s stunning sequence of five in a row.
Ferrari have also won the constructors’ title a record 16 times, with their first coming in 1961 and their most recent in 2008. After several failed title bids, all at Maranello will be on a mission to add to the list in 2023.
It has to be winning five successive drivers’ titles with Schumacher and six successive constructors’ titles between 1999 and 2004 – a period that remains one of the most dominant in F1 history.
Amid one of the biggest regulatory shake-ups in the history of the sport, the team did the hard part by producing a super quick car for 2022. But that was only one box ticked. And with Binotto gone, it falls to former Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur to get Ferrari’s ducks in a row for a title push this year.
The aforementioned strategic blunders (take Leclerc’s bemusement in Monaco and the hard tyre call in Hungary), unreliability (Leclerc’s two retirements in three races due to power unit issues) and driver errors (Sainz’s early-season trips to the gravel and Leclerc’s spins in Imola and France) undid plenty of their work.
READ MORE: Vasseur thanks Binotto for pre-season handover and insists Ferrari ‘have everything to win’
Ferrari will need to apply the lessons from these painful experiences to complement a strong package with an efficiently run team at and away from the track in 2023.
Only time will tell if Vasseur can bring everything together through his management style, which will no doubt be scrutinised up and down Italy from day one…