Ferrari and red are inseparable… right?

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.

yellow ferrari

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.

blue ferrari

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.


8 responses to “Ferrari and red are inseparable… right?

  1. If you check the history of Ferrari I think you will find Enzos first ever car was yellow….hence the yellow background on the Ferrari badge. #:)

    • You’ll find that the yellow background of the shield is Modena’s colour.

      Ferraris early career was manager of the Alfa Romeo team before becoming a constructor himself. Red was always the chosen colour because the colour is Italy’s racing colour.

  2. The reason for the red was down to the nation colour scheme of racing from pre was Italy,green for Great Britain and so on , the yellow was on the shield from Modena and the steed was from the WW1 fighter ace …and so the legend continues

  3. I’ve said it before, I think Ferrari’s “B” Team HAAS 😛 should go for the canary yellow in keeping with their supplier’s corporate image. On the other hand, red, white and blue with the American ‘Stars n Stripes’ would be a perfect way for them to encourage more home fans to get on board.
    I really am sick of boring F1 liveries in the recent past. McLaren would be much better off using their corporate orange than their boring current livery. No wonder they can’t find a title sponsor, who would want to put their name on that monstrosity?
    The United Colours of Benetton livery was a classic! The high gloss black and gold-chrome of Lotus was stunning. Marlboro McLaren cars were stylish and stood out from the crowd. Red Bull’s metallic darkish blue with the bright yellow and red was stunning, why would they stray from that?
    Their new, flat, dark blue livery is terribly bland! It almost looks like a 1970’s hoon car with no hub caps that was painted flat black in the backyard with a broom!

  4. I’m sure anyone reading this from parts of the continent of North America outside the USA will be delighted (switch irony alert to “on”) to learn that white with a blue stripe were “the colours assigned to North America” in its entirety, when in fact they were the colours assigned to the United States specifically and solely. I’m sure that Canadians in particular, who have a difficult enough job pointing out to many non-Canucks that they are emphatically not part of the USA, would be thrilled at the idea that they were “assigned” their neighbour’s colours (keep that irony alert switched firmly on). In fact, in 1964, Canada’s racing colours were a variant of British Racing Green with twin white stripes (but not for much longer – because when the Maple Leaf flag was adopted in 1965, the white stripes were retained but BRG made way for red, which along with the white reflected the new flag’s colours).
    Yes, Ferraris were entered in those end-of-’64 races as the North American Racing Team, but that doesn’t mean there is either a country called North America or racing colours to match such a place. NART was a wholly US-based operation, set up by Luigi Chinetti when he was Ferrari’s sole agent in the USA to promote his business therein. That’s why he raced in US colours.

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