Ferrari are a team synonymous with Formula One and so when they announced they were entering the pinnacle of sportscar racing for the 2023 season, there was some surprise mourned the racing world.
Of course it was written in the stars that the return of Ferrari to the top category in the Le Mans 24 hour event would see them win for the first time since 1965.
Enzo pulled Ferrari from Sportswear racing
Enzo Ferrari decided to pull out of factory backed sportscar racing in1973 following a string of poor results with uncompetitive prototype machines such as the 275 GTB/C, the 330 P4, and the 312 PB – Le Mans glory couldn’t be recaptured.
The last Scuderia Ferrari backed car to win overall at Le Mans was the beautiful 275 P in 1964, with a customer owned 250 LM winning the following year.
And so for 50 years Ferrari stuck with their founder’s decision to refrain from prototype sports car competition.
Of course the Prancing Horse has been represented in the lower form of sports car racing in the GT class year on year but without factory support.
F1 decision revived Ferrari sportscar programme
Yet it may have been a decision made by Formula One that saw the revival of the Ferrari prototype sports car programme.
Following the announcement of the new F1 financial regulations which would restrict the amount the teams were allowed to spend each year on their F1 programme, former Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri shared some interesting thoughts.
He suggested the Italian manufacturer would now look to other forms of racing to reallocate some of the now redundant resources.
Binotto died the Ferrari link
Camilleri said in 2020: “The welfare and wellbeing of our employees, as we have proven through this pandemic, is priority number one, and yes, we are looking at reallocating those resources to other activities.
“One of them, clearly and the most important is shifting those resources to the GT side, which is the road cars, but also potentially, IndyCar is one.”
Hence was born the Ferrari hypercar project.
Mattia Binotto was similarly asked if the Ferrari sports car project was merely a result of redundant financial capacity at Ferrari and the then team boss appeared to defend the decision rather as a positive move than one merely consequential to the F1 cost cap.
Ferrari re-allocated existing resource
“No, it is not a consequence of the financial regulations at all. I think the problem has been evaluated from the company point of view, of interest, and somehow we decided as Ferrari to be involved.
“Will I be in charge? First, I think we should understand that Ferrari is a unit company. It does not matter who is in charge and who they are responsible of, but no, I will not be directly myself in charge.”
However, Binotto was on the record earlier when discussing the new spending restrictions that his team was seeking a “soft landing” to best allow the Scuderia “to reallocate people in other jobs within our company.”
The fated win of the elegant Ferrari 499 at this year’s Le Mans 24 hour race led reporters to question Ferrari’s CEO about the future.
Ferrari CEO admits F1 “stressful”
“The next goal? To continue winning,” replied Benedetto Vigna
“Was the bad start of the season in Formula 1 stressful for me? You know, I have more significant reasons for stress.
“For the team, this is a chance to improve and learn a lot. We must build a machine that will be better than the previous one, but this rule is true for everything we do.”
“Sport is very important for us, racing is in the DNA of our company. So Formula 1, World Endurance Championship, we will keep investing there because we see a lot of technologies that can go from the track to the road.”
Ferrari Chairman takes a swipe at F1 team
Ferrari chairman John Elkann took the win in Le Mans as an opportunity to aim a shot across the bows t=if the Formula One team suggesting the triumph “serves as an example for us all.”
“This victory that Antonello Coletta, Amato Ferrari, and the entire team, from our mechanics to our drivers, have achieved in such challenging conditions – because of the 24-hour duration, the unpredictable weather, and the impressive strength of our competitors – serves as an example for us all,” said Elkann.
“The emotions they have given to our Tifosi on a great day that brings together past, present and future, is also a reminder of the importance of finding the courage and the humility to always improve.”
Leclerc sees the glory of Ferrari
Mobbed by fans at the circuit de Sarthe was Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc who was asked by Eurosport whether he could see himself competing in one of the greatest races on earth.
“I mean, why not? Why not?,” replied the Monegasque. “I would love to, it’s an incredible event.”
For Leclerc seeing once again the legendary Ferrari glory celebrated by the tiffs will have created mixed emotions for the Ferrari driver.
Ferrari win may affect Leclerc decision to leave
Charles has only finished five of the seven F1 Grand Prix this year and made the podium just once. His Ferrari SF-23 is a shadow of last year’s car which for a while created the hope he could win the F1 drivers’ title with the Scuderia and the F1 drought of Maranello F1 championships.
Leclerc has been linked with a move to Mercedes AMG F1 when his current contract with Ferrari expires at the end of next season.
Yet maybe the glimpse of the fanatic Ferrari fans support for such a win as in Le Mans will rekindle the Monegasque’s hopes he could yet win titles with Formula One’s most iconic team.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 8, 2023