Formula 1 isn’t football and some parallels are usually a bit of a stretch, but it’s definitely not going too far to claim that Ferrari will be playing away from home at Silverstone. In a few dozen square miles around this circuit, you can find the headquarters of no less than eight of the eleven teams entered in the world championship. In fact, this weekend’s venue has hosted no less than 46 of the 63 British Grands Prix, the other venues being Aintree and Brands Hatch, meaning that this and the Italian GP are the only two races to have featured in every year of the World Championship.
It’s logical therefore that Silverstone is probably the only track where fans of the Scuderia are in the minority, even if there are still plenty of them, as the Prancing Horse marque is very popular in the United Kingdom. It’s true that a win at Silverstone is worth the same points as any other track, as drivers and engineers are very fond of saying, but for Ferrari fans, you can be sure that a victory here does bring a smidgen more satisfaction.
The Scuderia has won the British Grand Prix more often than any other team with a total of 16 victories. The first came in 1951 courtesy of José Froilan Gonzalez and was actually the first of Ferrari’s 221 wins to date at the highest level of motorsport. Unfortunately, this year there will no longer be the pleasure of recalling that memory with the Argentinian driver, as he passed away a few days ago in Buenos Aires. The Scuderia will pay a special tribute to the man who also won here in 1954, over the course of this Silverstone weekend.
Two other Argentines have brought Ferraris home ahead of the field in the British Grand Prix – Juan Manuel Fangio in 1956 and Carlos Reutemann in 1978, however it is the Germans who have won most often, four times in total, with Wolfgang von Trips taking one win in 1961 to add to the three for Michael Schumacher (1998, 2002 and 2004.) Other Ferrari drivers to have won this race are Alberto Ascari (1952 and 1953,) local hero Peter Collins (1958,) Niki Lauda (1976,) Rubens Barrichello (2003,) Kimi Raikkonen (2007) and Fernando Alonso (2011.)
A few of the 16 Ferrari wins here could be described as rather incredible. In 1998, Schumacher won, crossing the finish line in pit lane in a rain-affected race: the German was actually taking a stop-go penalty on the very last lap, which had been imposed on him for overtaking under yellow flags. It was an astute and perfectly legal move instigated by Stefano Domenicali, in those days the team’s sporting director.
In 2003, it was the German’s team-mate, Rubens Barrichello who triumphed on a day when he was in great form, but the race went down in history because of a track invasion by a man wearing a kilt, an Irish priest called Cornelius Horan, who was brandishing a placard stating “Read the Bible.” Track invasions seem to suit Rubens, given that his first ever Formula 1 win occurred in similar circumstances at Hockenheim in 2000.
The man from Oviedo has one other win to his name, apart from the 2011 victory, which he secured in 2006 at the wheel of a Renault. In addition, he has finished second three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2012. Silverstone is also the track where Fernando has recorded his highest number of poles, (3) including one last year when he showed off his extraordinary talent when it comes to driving in the wet. He also has three fastest race laps at this track, from 2006, 2010 and 2011.
Felipe Massa’s Silverstone record shines less brightly as the Brazilian has never made it to the podium here, with fourth place being his best result, having finished in that position twice in 2009 and 2012, while he has been fifth three times.