Scuderia Ferrari is a racing icon, the only team to have competed in all Formula 1 World Championships since 1950.
It’s also the sport’s most successful marque, with the Scuderia amassing 16 world constructors’ crowns in that time – historic achievements it proudly displays in all its road cars…
Ferrari has also secured 15 World Drivers’ Championships with legendary names such as Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda – and its greatest of all – Michael Schumacher…
… but Kimi Räikkönen was the last to lift the crown for the Prancing Horse in 2007, 11 years ago. The Finn eclipsing former teammate Felipe Massa at Silverstone this year – as Ferrari’s second-longest serving driver after Schumi, who had 179 race starts for the Scuderia.
SOUNDBITE (English) KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN,
2007 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“It goes fast but it’s been good at times, not so good at other times. But that’s how sports are.”
Ferrari’s biggest challenge now, though, is proving to be its next titles for both constructors’ and drivers’.
But - while its 2018 car, the SF71H, is arguably its strongest in F1’s turbo-hybrid era, the Scuderia launching its new challenger with confidence and to great fanfare in late February…
… the 2018 season is proving to be incredibly close, with Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull Racing sharing the first 10 wins. 4-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel taking his fourth this year at Silverstone, but his first since Canada.
… ensuring the glory this year will go to the squad and driver who makes not only the most incremental gains in development - but also the fewest mistakes. Something that Vettel will be keenly aware of…
… with France a lost opportunity, following contact with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas – reminiscent of Azerbaijan and Singapore, last year that cost him valuable points, and, along with technical issues, the championship.
SOUNDBITE (English) SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
4 TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“The worst feeling I had after Baku I think, just because I sort of ruined the race with something unnecessary. So I struggled with that. Then you would probably refer to other races such as Singapore, [and] Japan. But then you know, Singapore, my point of view, that's racing, I thought a lot about it on Sunday night and it wasn’t easy to put behind, but then what do you do?”
This year, Vettel led the standings until Azerbaijan – which was Hamilton’s first win, with the Brit staying on top until Canada, where Vettel dominated. The lead changed again in France and Austria.
… while in the constructors’, Ferrari needs Räikkönen firing on all cylinders despite 2018 likely to be his Scuderia swansong, to help it stay ahead of Mercedes, which has its two drivers performing at near-peak.
All of which means we’re likely to see things go down to the wire – forcing teams to fight relentlessly in the equal-longest season in F1 history, which is a win-win for fans – who are loving the spectacle…
Including 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, who has been watching the season with interest from the sidelines.
SOUNDBITE (English) NICO ROSBERG,
2016 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Things have not gone quite to plan, and some others have just done better but that's how it goes through a season and it's good, it's what we want to see, we want to see some unpredictability.”
For now, it’s about maximising performance in the two Grands Prix before the summer break – with Germany back-to-back with Hungary…
…before bringing a substantial upgrade to Belgium in August to kick-start the season’s second half, and the run to the title.
It’s all on the line for Ferrari, despite leading both championships, Vettel now 8- points up on rival Lewis Hamilton, with 2018 likely to be fought tooth and nail all the way to Abu Dhabi.