Seven drivers have won on their Ferrari debut. As Charles Leclerc stands a chance of becoming the eighth driver to do so at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, we take a look back at the drivers who have won on their first attempt with the Italian team.
Juan Manuel Fangio & Luigi Musso
The legendary Juan Manuel Fangio was the first driver to win on debut for Ferrari. He did so at the 1956 Argentine Grand Prix, the opening race of the 1956 season. Luigi Musso, also in his first race with the team, led 29 laps of the race before Fangio took over his car, resulting in a shared victory for the pair. Fangio’s original car had a faulty fuel pump, leading to his retirement in his own car. It was also the first victory of Musso’s career, while Fangio had previously won with Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Giancarlo Baghetti’s win on his Formula 1 debut with Ferrari at the 1961 French Grand Prix would prove to be the only victory of his 21-race career in the sport.
Baghetti was driving for the Federazione Italiane Scuderie Automobilistiche (FISA) team, which was effectively a proxy entry by Scuderia Ferrari. After the three Ferrari works drivers had retired, it was down to Baghetti to fly the flag for the manufacturer. He won by passing Dan Gurney on the run to the finish line, finishing just a tenth of a second ahead of the American. After becoming the third and, so far, final driver to win the first race of his Formula 1 career, Baghetti never finished on the podium again in the sport.
Mario Andretti won on his first appearance with Ferrari at the 1971 South African Grand Prix. Finishing twenty seconds ahead of Jackie Stewart, the American took the first victory of his career. It was the only race he’d win for the team, though he’d go on to win the title seven years later with Team Lotus.
Nigel Mansell was the last driver to be appointed to the Ferrari team by Enzo Ferrari before his death in 1988. Despite the Jacarepaguá track being the British driver’s least favourite, and the Ferrari car not having set the world alight in pre-season testing, Mansell won on his debut for the team.
Kimi Raikkonen won on his first appearance for Ferrari at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. Taking Michael Schumacher’s seat for the start of the new season, the Finn was unbeatable over the weekend, taking pole position by over four tenths of a second and leading all but six laps of the race. Raikkonen went on to win the 2007 championship by one point, becoming only the third Ferrari driver to win the title in their maiden season with the team, and the first since Jody Scheckter in 1979.
Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari had been rumoured for years before it eventually happened in 2010. He opened his Ferrari account in the best possible way, with a win at the Bahrain Grand Prix. With Felipe Massa finishing second, the team celebrated the start of the season in style. The Spaniard would fight for the title until the very last round, but would ultimately lose out to Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso is the most recent driver to win on debut for Ferrari, though Sebastian Vettel joined Alain Prost in the group of drivers to have won on their second appearance with the Scuderia.
Charles Leclerc steps up to Ferrari in only his second year in Formula 1. With impressive pre-season pace, many have Ferrari down as the team to beat at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Could the Monegasque driver become the eighth to take victory on his Ferrari debut? If he does so, he’ll also become Ferrari’s youngest ever winner at 21 years old. Their youngest current winner is Jacky Ickx, who won the 1968 French Grand Prix at 23 years of age.
How do you think Charles Leclerc will perform in his first weekend with the Ferrari team? Let us know in the comments!
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.