Honestly, I drove for Ferrari…. Five F1 drivers you forgot drove for Enzo
Nearly 80 drivers have raced for Ferrari in Formula 1 since 1950, here are five you may have already forgotten, or never knew about in the first place. They weren’t all Italian – but it was their dream.
By Andy Hallbery
There is nothing like the passion that surrounds the name ‘Ferrari’, an Italian company that is so much more than a constructor and a Formula 1 champion. It is an aspiration – something founder Italian Enzo Ferrari set out to achieve from day one.
Enzo Ferrari: “The Ferrari is a dream,” he said, long before his death in 1988. “People dream of owning this special vehicle and for most people it will remain a dream apart from those lucky few, No one remembers who took second place.
Enzo Ferrari – Photo: The Cahier Archive. Buy pics here
“I don’t sell cars; I sell engines,” Ferrari added, with a smile that didn’t really hide the truth. “The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines in.”
The tifosi, Ferrari’s lusting fans, are just as passionate about the scarlet machines as the drivers. Some of the racers give up promising careers in other teams just for the opportunity to say: “Honestly, I drove for Ferrari…” Here are five such names.
Nicola Larini – Photo: The Cahier Archive. Buy pics here
The Italian managed just four races for the Scuderia, two in 1992 and two in 1994. In ’92, he subbed for the fired Ivan Capelli for the final two rounds with a best finish of11th, and two more races in 1994 taking the place of the injured Jean Alesi crashing out with Ayrton Senna at the first corner in the Pacific GP, and then second place at Imola in 1994. Few remember that as it was the race where Senna lost his life. That was it, Larini’s Ferrari career was over and he moved to Sauber.
Richie Ginther – Photo: The Cahier Archive. Buy pics here
Another American who’s Ferrari career was just two races. Ten for the Scuderia, with a best of two second places in 1960 and ’61 (in the ‘Sharknose’ 156), and four podiums. His career was largely with BRM, but Ginther is best remembered for scoring Honda’s first win, which was his only Grand Prix victory.
The American is hugely known for his racing schools, plus Can-Am and NASCAR careers, and drives in Carroll Sebery’s AC Cobra. Bondurant was inducted into the Motorport Hall of Fame in 2003 for his services to racing. His Ferrari F1 World Championship was just one race – his debut in 1993 in the North American Racing Team’s Ferrari in 1965 at Watkins Glen. He finished ninth, four laps behind.
Ernetso ‘Tino’ Brambilla – Photo: The Cahier Archive. Buy pics here
Yes, a Brambillia, and not Vittorio, his elder Brother ‘Tino’ who was mainly a motorcycle road racer, and a moderately successful Ferrari F2 driver. For 1969. ‘Tino’ was called up to race for Ferrari in the Italian Grand Peiz at Monza. Surely every Italian racer’s dream? He failed to qualify, his car and position given to Pedro Rodriguez, who finished sixth.
Gianni Morbidelli – Photo: The LAT Archive.
Morbidelli’s Ferrari career lasted just 14 laps, yet netted half a point. He replaced the sacked Alain Prost who had said the ‘Ferrari handled like a truck’. The rain-shortened race was Gianni’s only one in scarlet – then it was back to Minardi the following season. “Every driver who follows the team wants to work with Ferrari,” he explains.
“It is a legend,” he laughs. “My parents and I were in holiday in Port Douglas. I thought the call was a joke. Then I quickly realised the dream’s come true!”
That race was it for Gianni. “As in life, it’s always hard to stay on top,” he reflects. “One day you are a star, and the day after, nobody calls you!”
Who have we missed?