There are few brands in the world more recognisable than Ferrari. The evocative images of a brilliant red sports car flashing by are synonymous with the passion and national pride of the Tifosi. The official Scuderia Ferrari team have only ever run in Rosso Corsa, the national colours of Italy, but there have been a few occasions where Ferrari Formula One cars have been raced with other liveries.
In the infancy of racing, before teams gave control over of their colour schemes to the necessary evil of corporate sponsorship, teams traditionally painted their cars in their national colour.
Ecurie Francorchamps were a Belgian Formula One team that raced in a number of championship races between 1952 and 1954 using customer Ferrari 500 racing cars painted in their national colour of yellow. They were not fantastically successful, with their best result being a sixth position at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 1952 for Roger Laurent.
In 1964 the FIA did not allow Ferrari to homologate the 250 LM for racing. Enzo Ferrari turned to the Italian racing authorities, the ACI, for help but they did not offer their support. Furious and feeling abandoned by his own country, Enzo withdrew the official works Italian Ferrari team from competition in protest.
There were two races to go and John Surtees, driving for Ferrari, was fighting for the championship. Enzo realised there was too much at stake and cannily entered his drivers running “customer” cars under the North American Racing Team banner. Under racing colour convention this saw them run in white with a blue stripe, the assigned colours of North America. In reality it was just a paperwork exercise; the cars were just repainted and most of the staff and crew were the same as before. Surtees took two second places in the USA and Mexico to secure the 1964 drivers title.
Finally, although it was never raced in the all black unpainted carbon fibre finish, in 1998 Michael Schumacher undertook some private testing at Ferrari’s own Fiorano circuit to bed in the F300 away from the prying eyes of the world’s media. For the next day the car was decked out in the usual Rosso Corsa and normal service was resumed.