The young driver Jody Scheckter was called by Enzo Ferrari to be part of the Scuderia in 1979. Jody, a South African with Lithuanian origins, was already racing at a young age in the minor formulas. He started with karts passing on to tourism class, Formula Ford and Formula 3. At the young age of 22 he participated for the first time in a F1 race, where over the first couple of seasons he distinguished himself by his storminess, which he lost immediately when he came to Ferrari.
During his time at the Scuderia his extreme versatility transformed him into a calculating mind, when he was out on the track conquering precious points for himself and for his team. In the year 1979 Scheckter and Ferrari celebrated victory.
Perfect teamwork, a new, very fast car and a good relationship with his teammate Villeneuve brought the much-anticipated and merited results. After an uncertain start with the Team the South African became the Scuderia’s main driver completing an unforgettable season, also thanks to a great strategy by the Team and the help from his teammate Villeneuve. After the first disappointing races, due to the use of the old T3, good results arrived immediately with the new T4, seen as one of the most ugly but efficient single-seaters ever built at Maranello.
The car-driver concept worked flawlessly and the two Ferrari single-seaters were always on the podium. At the Monza circuit, on 9th September 1979, Scheckter, who had gained the third position on the starting grid, got ready to win his first and last title, bringing home another Constructors’ World Title for the Scuderia. In his first season the “little bear” (the nickname Jody had at Maranello) won the Championships with victories in three GPs, crossing the line in 12 out of 15 races. A victory achieved thanks to calculation, constancy and attention to every single detail in the car’s development.
Thanks to these virtues Scheckter renewed his contract with Ferrari for a disappointing season behind the wheel of the 312 T5. Demotivated and eager to keep his reputation as a champion, Scheckter retired the following year from the world of racing. It was a short stay for him at Maranello, but it was enough to put his name in the books as the last World Champion behind the wheel of a Ferrari for the next 21 years, until Michael Schumacher started winning for the Prancing Horse.