Two Things Drove Ferrari from Sports Car Racing
Photography Courtesy of Ferrari North America
In a recent interview, Ferrari chairman Mr. Luca di Montezemolo, frustrated by recent Formula One rule changes, said he would consider pulling La Scuderia Ferrari out of Formula One, and return to sports car racing. The FIA's new regulations attempt to reduce costs and make F1 more environmentally friendly and have thus introduced a new hybrid V6 engine, which is quieter, more fuel efficient, and less polluting. Montezemolo says these and other restrictions detract from the Grand Prix experience, stating “No one wants to watch a driver save gas or tires. They want to see them push from here to there. It's sport, yes, but also a show.” With driver Fernando Alonso dropping the flag at this year’s recent 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ferrari may be eyeing a return to sports-car racing, but why did it quit in the first place?
Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine times. It also contested the Manufacturer's Championship for Sports Cars and Prototypes, then a crown jewel of the sport alongside Formula One, and between 1953 and 1967, it won 12 of those years. However, in 1974 founder Enzo Ferrari packed it in, and chose to concentrate exclusively on Formula One. So it wasn’t lack of success. Much like the grumblings now coming from Maranello about the state of Formula One, history has a funny way of repeating itself, and there is evidence that a similar confluence of affairs, taken together, caused La Scuderia to focus exclusively on Formula One from 1974 onwards.