In the same way that Ferrari has been part of F1 since the very first season in 1950, the Italian Grand Prix has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since the beginning as well. Therefore it’s perhaps not exactly surprising that Ferrari has won the race more times than any other team – 18 to be exact (McLaren is next on the list with 10 victories).
With so many wins in its home race, there are of course some that are worth remembering. Sometimes it’s because a championship was won or it held some kind of historical significance, sometimes it’s because of a bit of controversy, and sometimes it’s just because it was a damn good race. Here are eight memorable Ferrari wins at Monza.
Fernando Alonso was ramping up his championship challenge in the second half of 2010 and expectations were high at Monza. He duly claimed pole but lost the lead at the start to Jenson Button’s McLaren. Button was doing something rather unusual for Monza and running a high-downforce setup, made possible by McLarens ingenious ‘F-duct’.
Alonso managed to stick with the McLaren all the way to the pit stops, and after going a lap longer than Button emerged from the pits alongside him. He just snuck through into the lead at the first chicane where he stayed until the end.
Though it wasn’t a battle characterised by loads of overtaking, the two were extremely close throughout making for something of a tense race. Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari completed the podium in third. To date this is the last time Ferrari has both won its home race and had two cars on the podium. Can Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen rectify that in 2017?
The Ferrari F2004 was a stupidly good car, and even bad strategy and driver errors couldn’t stop the team from dominating the race in 2004.
A damp track favoured the Michelin runners, who were able to use dry tyres from the start. Ferrari wasn’t sure which Bridgestone compound to go with however – Rubens Barrichello started on inters whilst Michael Schumacher went with dry tyres. Schumacher had a clumsy first lap, spinning at the second chicane and dropping to the back. Barrichello led the first couple of laps but his inters went off quickly and he had to pit after just four laps.
Six laps in and the Ferraris were down in ninth and 11th as Button looked in a strong position to win his first Grand Prix. It wasn’t to be though as Ferrari unleashed the full performance of its car and frequently lapped up to 1.5 seconds quicker than anyone else. By the end of the race Barrichello led home a comfortable Ferrari one-two, and you’d be forgiven for forgetting just how wrong they’d got the start at all.
Schumacher had started from pole but dropped to fifth at the start as the two McLaren’s of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard charged off into the lead.
Hakkinen was having brake issues though and ceded the lead to Coulthard as he dropped back into the clutches of Schumacher, who was now up to third. Then on lap 17, the Ferrari driver went from third to first in one fell swoop. Coulthard’s 10 second led counted for nothing when his Mercedes engine went bang in a big way on the run down to the Roggia chicane.
Hakkinen hesitated in the smoke, and that was all the opportunity Schumacher needed. He got the drive coming out of the chicane and slipped past his title rival going into the first Lesmo as the Tifosi went mad. It was an epic moment.
Mika pushed hard but eventually lost time with a spin thanks to his worsening brake problem and Schumacher carried on to win the race, putting him level on points with Hakkinen in the championship with two races to go.
Ayrton Senna had led the entire race but was tight on fuel after being pushed hard by teammate Alain Prost earlier in the race. As a result the two Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto were catching him at a vast rate of knots in the closing laps.
In an effort not to lose too much time he went for a risky move on backmarker Jean-Louis Schelesser at the start of the penultimate lap. Schlesser locked his brakes going into the Rettifilio but hadn’t seen Senna trying to pass him, and as he regained his line the two collided.
Schlesser then became the Tifosi’s favourite driver as this turn of events left Ferrari to claim a one-two at it’s home race, just a few weeks after Enzo Ferrari had died and the only race all season that wasn’t won by one of the McLaren drivers.
The 1979 World Championship was pretty much a duel between Ferrari drivers Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve. Scheckter was meant to be the number one driver but a number of good results early in the year for Villeneuve led the team to question which driver it should be backing.
Scheckter soon reasserted himself and stretched a lead in the championship, and by Monza he had a chance to clinch it. The turbocharged Renaults locked out the front row in qualifying but poor reliability soon took care of them, leaving Scheckter in the lead with Villeneuve sitting close behind him.
It stayed that way until the end, and thanks to the quirky points system of that season and bad races for Jacques Laffite and Alan Jones, Scheckter was crowned champion in front of the Tifosi. Little could they have known that he’d be the last Ferrari champion that century!
The 1970 Italian Grand Prix is remembered for the tragic accident in qualifying which killed eventual champion Jochen Rindt. The race itself however was actually something of a thriller as the typical Monza slipstream-fest put on a great show for the fans.
Jackie Stewart, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Denny Hulme, Clay Regazzoni and Rolf Stommelen engaged in the battle for the win. As the race neared its end the drivers started to get a bit cagey and work out the best way to get a slingshot across the finish line.
Regazzoni had other ideas though. The Swiss was driving in only his fifth Grand Prix, and with eight laps to go unleashed a furious pace that the others couldn’t match. He broke both the tow and the lap record and won the race by 5.7 seconds from Stewart and Beltoise.
The Tifosi went wild for Ferrari’s new superstar driver, but the celebrations were short lived as memories of what had happened the day before came back into focus.
Even though Italy has produced a fair few race-winning drivers in the last half-century, such as Giancarlo Fisichella, Michele Alboreto, Riccardo Patrese and others, an Italian hasn’t triumphed in the Italian Grand Prix since 1966, when Ludovico Scarfiotti won.
In fact, Scarfiotti is just one of two Italians to have won at Monza – the other being Alberto Ascari – and like Ascari, Scarfiotti did so at the wheel of a Ferrari. Starting from second on the grid behind teammate Mike Parkes, he dropped back in the early stages but by lap 13 was back in the lead, where he stayed for pretty much the rest of the race.
He won by almost six seconds from Parkes, who just held off Denny Hulme’s Brabham to make it a Ferrari one-two.
When Stirling Moss won the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix in a rear-engined Cooper, it spelt the beginning of the end for front-engined cars in F1. Jack Brabham won the title for Cooper in 1959 and again in 1960, by which point many manufacturers were beginning to follow suit and stick the engine behind the driver.
Ferrari stubbornly stuck to the old layout however and consequently had a pretty dire season, with a single podium at Monaco the best result after eight of the 10 races.
The car did have one advantage over its lighter and nimbler rivals however: prodigious straight line speed. So when the penultimate race of the season rolled around in Monza, the organisers decided to take advantage of that fact and use the combined road and oval layout of the circuit.
Unconvinced by the transparent attempt to engineer a Ferrari victory, most of the British teams and drivers boycotted the event. That left Phil Hill to lead home Richie Ginther and Willy Mairesse in a processional Ferrari one-two-three against an opposition comprised mainly of privateers and Formula 2 cars in what also proved to be the last win in a championship race for a front-engined car.