It is not a secret that Ferrari is known as the most successful manufacturer to ever race in Formula One. What a lot of people do not remember is that Ferrari had a very successful career in sports car prototype racing. Between 1940 and the early 1970s, Ferrari won 9 Le Mans wins and 13 World Sportscar Championships. Ferrari’s involvement in sports car prototype racing came to an end in 1974 when Ferrari Chairman, Enzo Ferrari, decided to focus the manufacturer’s attention on Formula One racing. Two decades would pass before the Prancing Horse would return to prototype racing with the release of the Ferrari 333 SP in 1994.
Designed by the famed Italian chassis manufacturer Dallara, at the request of amateur racer Giampero Moretti, the 333 SP was available for purchase until 2003, and holds the distinction of being the only Ferrari race vehicle to win the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The Ferrari 250 GTO is one of the most coveted examples of Ferrari’s golden era of racing, with only 39 examples ever made. It is extremely uncommon for one to come up for auction and when they do, they tend to fetch a large amount of cash.
During most of the 1980s, the 250 GTO was selling in the six figures. By 1989, a Ferrari 250 GTO sold at auction for $10 million with a second example selling a few months later for $13 million. By 2012, the price for a GTO at auction was around $35 million with even one example selling for an astonishing $52 million.
Bonhams auction house has gotten its hands on an extremely rare example that is rich in racing history; chassis number 3851 GT will be auctioned off at the Quail Lodge during Monterey weekend next month.
Chassis number 3851 GT is the 19th example of the Ferrari 250 GTO and was released for sale on September 11, 1962. The initial owner was a French racer named Jo Schlesser, who died in an experimental Honda F1 car six years later at the French Grand Prix. The Ferrari 250 GTO was later crashed at the Montlhery Autodrome and then repaired at the Maranello factory and returned to completion the following year. In 1965, Fabizio Violati became the owner and kept the 250 GTO is his collection until his death in 2010, making this the longest single-owner GTO in existence.
During an interview with racing journalist at the British Grand Prix this past weekend, the 2007 World Champion and winner of 20 grands prix, Kimi Raikkonen suggested that 2015 will be his last season racing for Ferrari or anyone else in Formula One. When asked how long he expects to stay in Formula One, Raikkonen answered: “Until my contract is finished, and then I will probably stop. That is what I think is going to happen.”
Raikkonen has been struggling this season with an underperforming car, ranked 12th in the standings, Raikkonen is currently ranked lower than he has finished any season while driving in Formula One. This poor performance has been compounded by the fact that longtime rival and current teammate, Fernando Alonso has managed to secure a 4th place ranking while struggling with the same underperforming equipment.
At 34 years of age, Kimi Raikkonen is the oldest active driver in Formula One. Raikkonen has 3 months of age on Jenson Button and a full year on former teammate Felipe Massa. Considering how many young faces currently make up the Formula One lineup, it’s only natural to start wondering just how long Raikkonen will continue to race.
Gene Haas has announced that he will field a new Formula One team for the 2016 season versus the much easier task of purchasing an existing team. Haas also announced that the team will be housed out of his NASCAR team’s headquarters in North Carolina. Gene Haas will be teaming up with Ferrari for this Formula One partnership, Ferrari remains the most successful race team in Formula One racing, with sixteen Constructors’ Championships, fifteen drivers’ titles and 221 grand prix victories. Ferrari won its last championship in 2008.
Last year, Edo Competition tasked Ferrari’s Tailor Made personalization program to create a one-off Ferrari 458 Italia that honored Formula One racing legend Niki Lauda. For some reason, Edo Competition has decided to sell this very unique vehicle less than 5 miles on the odometer! The custom 458 Italia comes with subtle accents inspired by the Formula One cars that Lauda drove while racing for Ferrari between 1974 and 1977. The white roof features an Italian flag, while the supercar sits on gold alloys along with white accents on the front splitter, side skirts and rear spoiler. On the inside, this special addition displays an Italian flag motif on the center console along with red stitching and carbon fiber trim. All of the special features on this limited edition one-off are purely cosmetic; the Niki Lauda Edition Ferrari 458 Italia packs the same naturally aspirated V8 engine found on the standard model. Edo Competition wants $385,000 for their limited edition Ferrari 458 Italia that pays tribute to Formula One legend Niki Lauda.
1974 ended Ferrari’s involvement in prototype sports racing, making this 1972 Ferrari 312PB the last prototype racer to come out of Ferrari. The 1972 312PB has wins at some of the most prestigious races on both the European and American circuit to include Watkins Glen, the 6 Hour at Daytona, the Sebring and Nurburgring. Ex pro-skier Steven Read owns the last race car that Ferrari developed before they turned their focus entirely to Formula One. Petrolicious recently released video of Read taking his prototype out onto the track and it sounds amazing! Take a look at the video for yourself.
Michael Schumacher is no longer in a coma and has been transferred from the hospital in Grenoble, France, where he has been since his skiing accident last year to a recovery ward at the University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“Michael has left…to continue his long phase of rehabilitation,” according to his manager Sabine Kehm.
As in previous statements, Schumacher’s agent asked for the media and fans to respect the privacy of Schumacher and his family as they continue forward with his recovery.
“The family also wishes to thank all the people who have sent Michael all the many good wishes,” Kehm said. “We are sure it helped him. For the future we ask for understanding that his further rehabilitation will take place away from the public eye.”
The seven-time Formula One world champion is an avid and experienced skier who suffered severe head trauma as a result of a skiing accident at the French Alps resort of Meribel on December 29. Investigators believe that Schumacher struck a rock that was hidden below the snow while traversing an area between two pistes, which catapulted him face first into another rock.
In early January, a French prosecutor tasked with investigating the accident concluded that speed was not a reason for Schumacher’s fall.
Kimi Raikkonen remains confident that Ferrari has what it needs to return to championship form and that changes/improvements have been made to salvage the 2014 season while remaining focused on improving qualifying times for the prestigious Grand Prix of Monaco.
The 2007 World Champion remained at the Circuit de Catalunya to participate in both days of testing with the new Ferrari racer, the F14 T. The focus on qualifying is very important to Ferrari with the ability to pass at Monaco being so challenging, a good qualifying position is almost required to have a solid finish. After the two days of testing, Raikkonen sees signs of overall improvement.
“Qualifying can have a big effect on the outcome, an area on which we are doing our utmost to improve,” Raikkonen told Ferrari’s official website.
“After the race, we stayed on in Barcelona for the test, which was reasonably positive: we had problems at the start, but by the end, I can say I was pleased with the work we managed to get through.”
“The F14 T is improving and I am sure that, step by step, the results will come, but we must push harder to get them.”
The Grand Prix of Monaco will prove to be a very important race for Ferrari, an event that Ferrari has not won in 13 Years.
FERRARI CHARIMAN LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLO HINTS AT POSSIBLE INCREASE IN F1 BUDGET TO ATTRACT TOP TALLENT SUCH AS RED BULL ENGINEER ADRIAN NEWLEY
Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo has suggested that he is willing to increase Ferrari’s budget to get the Formula One team back to its winning ways. One of these budget busting attempts may include going after the highest paid engineer in Formula One, Adrian Newey.
Ferrari definitely has the money to go after Newey, The Financial Times states that Ferrari recorded “record revenues, profits and cash flow” last year, with a net profit well over $330 million.
Spending more to get Formula One talent is not the only change that Ferrari has made lately in an attempt to save the 2014 season. Ferrari recently fired team boss Stefano Domenicali. Suspicions that Montezemolo was willing to increase the Ferrari budget were the results of a quote posted by the La Gazzeta dello Sport that stated, “Given heavy investment and F1, which requires an exceptional effort economically to recover the gap to the opposition.”
According to a report by Motor Trend, Ferrari will be switching from naturally aspirated motors to turbocharged powerplants in all next generation vehicles. By switching to a turbocharged powerplant, Ferrari will improve power and create better fuel economy. This could in part be a response to tighter emissions requirements expected to take place in 2016.
This will not be the first time that Ferrari has offered turbocharged vehicles; both the Ferrari F40 and the 288 GTO were turbocharged. The F40 was introduced in 1987 as a mid-engine 2.9 liter 478 horsepower twin-turbo. The F40 was a huge success that earned the respect of Ferrari purists even though the F40 lacked the sound that roars from a naturally aspirated engine. The 288 GTO is a less known vehicle with a much smaller production run that has steadily increased in value over time.
One other important factor that may contribute to this decision is the move to V-6 engines in Formula One at the end of the 2013 season. This rule change motivated Honda to return to Formula One as a supplier of engines for McLaren.
The 2014 Formula One race year is definitely shaping up to be a “Silly Season” due to all the driver changes taking place. It seems that 2014 may also be a “Silly Season” due to some very significant rule changes passed down by the FIA on 9 December 2013, after being approved by the Formula One Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission. Here is a recap of two of the more significant changes that are taking place.
Double Points for Last Race: The decision has been made to double the points value of the last race of the season creating a last race bonus opportunity for race teams fighting for the title. The hope is that by awarding a double points kicker in the last race that the championship will come down to the wire. The other races in the season will still be referred to as grands prix, with the season finale becoming a grand epreuve, a term used in early grand prix racing to denote those events with added championship weight. Concerns exist as to how this new rule will effect situations such as mechanical failure during the last race of the season. Under the new rules, mechanical failure during the last race of the season will be twice as damaging to the championship points as a mechanical failure that happens earlier in the season.
Introduction of Mandatory Cost Cap for 2015: This is without a doubt the single most important rule change to be made in quite some time. Race teams and the governing body of Formula One have six months to figure out just how the cap will be enforced, and what the spending limits will be for the first year and whether those spending limits will remain the same for future years going forward. We anticipate that race teams will be very passionate about expressing their concerns over how these cost restrictions should be implemented. Expect well-funded teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull to be extremely expressive towards their concerns about leveling the playing field when it comes to money.
So far 18 drivers have been confirmed for the 2014 Formula One season leaving only 4 seats vacant.
Confirmed Drivers For the 2014 Season:
Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Renault (Signed deal for 2014 season)
Danill Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault
Adrian Sutil Germany Sauber-Ferrari (Signed deal this month to move to Sauber)
Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes (Singed multi-year deal to re-join Force India this month)
Sergio Perez Mexico Force India Mercedes (Singed multi-year deal with Force India this month)
Kevin Magnussen Denmark McLaren-Mercedes (Signed with McLaren in November 2013)
Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes (Continuing multi-year deal signed in 2011)
Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Lotus-Renault (Signed deal for 2014)
Romain Grosjean French Lotus-Renault (Signed deal for 2014)
Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari (Signed two year deal in September)
Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari (Has contract thru 2016)
Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes (Continuing contract signed in 2011)
Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes (Signed thru 2015)
Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull-Renault (Signed multi-year deal in 2013)
Sabastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault (Under contract till 2015)
Felipe Massa Brazil Williams-Mercedes (Signed multi-year deal in 2013)
Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Mercedes (Has contract for 2014)
Jules Bianci France Marussia-Ferrari (Has deal for 2014)
Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso-Renault (Signed deal in 2013)
Mark Webber Australia (Making move to Porsche in different series)
Ferrari has taken the unusual step of reaching out to the public thru social networking (Twitter) and asking the fans to name the 2014 Formula One car, with an online poll offering five different choices.
The options to choose from to name the 2014 Formula One car are F14 T, F14 Maranello, F14 Scuderia, F166 Turbo and lastly, F616. All these selections reflect either the year of 2014 or a reference to the 1.6-liter V6 engine that will be used for the 2014 Formula One racing season. Early voting results show the main front runners to be F166 Turbo and F14 T.
The car itself will be unveiled on January 25.
Recently, Formula one driver Fernando Alonso was given an opportunity to take out the still camouflaged Ferrari LaFerrari for a test drive around the 1.86 mile test track with GT driver Andrea Bertolini as his passenger.
“I am always happy to spend a few days in Maranello. Apart from working on the car and being in close contact with the team,” said Alsonso. “Sometimes I’m able to see some of the production departments which are the heart of the company. This time I met up with people who are never in the limelight, but they have an incredible love for their work.”
Earlier this week a LaFerrari was out on the Fiorano racetrack. Nothing strange there, LaFerrari’s belong out on the track, what are strange were the sounds that were coming out of Ferrari’s first hybrid. This little racer did not have the familiar exhaust note of a normal LaFerrari. It sounded a lot more like the note from the turbocharged V-6 engine that we will see in Formula 1 next year. It goes without saying, that these two engines have a much different sound and are impossible to confuse, suggesting that there is more to this story.
We are not sure exactly why Ferrari would choose to test the new Formula One engine in a LaFerrari. A common speculation is the guess that the drivetrain may be easy to change out on the LaFerrari making the initial drivetrain tests easier to do this way. Then again, it’s anybody’s guess; we expect that Ferrari will shed some light on this soon enough.