At the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari celebrated their 1,000th Grand Prix appearance. We take a look back at the 33 races in which the team did not compete, did not enter or did not start.
1. 1950 British Grand Prix
Ferrari were not present at the very first race in Formula 1’s World Championship history. Italian manufacturers were well represented in the 1950 British Grand Prix, with almost half of the grid being made up of Alfa Romeos and Maseratis. Ferrari were not there though, due to a payment dispute. Unimpressed by the starters money on offer, Enzo Ferrari withdrew his team prior to the event and instead took his team to Belgium to race in a Formula 2 race. The team would instead make their World Championship debut at the next round in Monaco, where Alberto Ascari scored the Scuderia’s first podium finish.
2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13. Indianapolis 500 (1950-1960)
The next race which Ferrari would miss was the 1950 Indianapolis 500. The American race was a round of the Formula 1 World Championship between 1950 and 1960, but failed to attract F1’s regular teams and drivers. Between 1950 and 1960, Ferrari would enter the race only once. That was in 1952, when Alberto Ascari took on the oval track. The only non-American driver on the grid, Ascari started nineteenth, but spun out before the race reached quarter distance.
3. 1950 French Grand Prix
Ferrari started only four of the seven World Championship events in Formula 1’s maiden season. Aside from the British Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, they also skipped the French Grand Prix. Enzo Ferrari withdrew his cars from the event, believing that they were too uncompetitive to challenge the Alfa Romeos. This race did however feature a Ferrari car, as Peter Whitehead entered his privately owned Ferrari 125, in which he finished in the top three.
12. 1959 British Grand Prix
It would be nine years until Ferrari next missed a non-Indianapolis 500 race, at the 1959 British Grand Prix. Their reason for missing the race was quite unusual – they were forced to miss the event due to Italy’s metal-working unions calling a strike! Strangely, these labour disputes did not prevent Italian privateer team Scuderia Centro Sud from taking part in the event. Tony Brooks, Ferrari’s lead driver, was granted permission to enter the race in a Vanwall, but he retired after thirteen laps.
14. 1960 United States Grand Prix
With the Constructors’ Championship having been decided in Cooper’s favour at the British Grand Prix and Jack Brabham securing the Drivers’ Championship at the Portuguese Grand Prix, Enzo Ferrari saw little point in sending his team overseas to the United States Grand Prix for the final race of the 1960 season. The money saved was instead pumped into the team’s new machine for 1961. Ferrari drivers Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips secured drives with other teams for this event, hoping to secure their places in the championship.
15. 1961 United States Grand Prix
Formula 1 had crowned its first American champion at the Italian Grand Prix, where Phil Hill won for Ferrari. The 1961 United States Grand Prix should have been a triumphant homecoming for Hill – but it was not to be. At Monza, Hill’s team-mate and title rival Wolfgang von Trips was killed in a first lap crash, which also took the lives of fifteen spectators. Celebrations for Hill’s title victory were subdued, and Ferrari, who had already clinched the Constructors’ Championship, chose not to send their team out to Watkins Glen for the final race of the season.
16. 1962 French Grand Prix
Ferrari were on the entry list for the 1962 French Grand Prix, but just like at the 1959 British Grand Prix, the team was forced to miss the event due to industrial strikes in Italy. Porsche had missed the previous race in Belgium due to a strike, but they would benefit from Ferrari’s absence at the Rouen circuit, as Dan Gurney took the German manufacturer’s only F1 victory.
17. 1962 United States Grand Prix
For a third successive year, Ferrari missed the United States Grand Prix in 1962. The reigning champions had endured a difficult season in 1962, failing to win a single race and placing sixth of the eight teams in the Constructors’ Championship. After the Italian Grand Prix, Enzo Ferrari wrote to his drivers, blaming the ongoing industrial action as his reason for withdrawing from competition for the rest of the year. To add to Phil Hill’s disappointment of not being able to race at his home event, he was informed that he had been sacked by the Italian team.
18. 1962 South African Grand Prix
As well as the United States Grand Prix, Ferrari would also miss the 1962 South African Grand Prix, held on 29th December. The team had lost all four of their drivers by this point too: Phil Hill had reportedly been sacked, and Giancarlo Baghetti joined him at new team Automobili Turismo e Sport for 1963, commonly referred to as the Ferrari rebels; Lorenzo Bandini jumped ship to Scuderia Centro Sud, though he would return to Ferrari later in 1963; and Ricardo Rodriguez had been killed in the non-championship Mexican Grand Prix.
19, 20, 26, 27 & 28. 1964 United States & Mexican Grands Prix, 1969 Canadian, United States & Mexican Grands Prix
The five races listed here are a bone of contention. Scuderia Ferrari did not enter these races. Instead, their usual cars and drivers were entered by the North American Racing Team. This team had been founded in 1958 by Luigi Chinetti, to promote Ferrari in the United States. The major difference for the 1964 United States Grand Prix and the 1964 Mexican Grand Prix was that the cars were painted white and blue, the racing colours of the USA, following a dispute between Ferrari and the Automobile Club d’Italia. Strangely, the points scored by the team at these races counted towards the Constructors’ Championship, and Ferrari secured both titles at the last race of the season – the most recent race in which their cars have not run in a traditional red livery.
The following season, in the same two races, both Scuderia Ferrari and the North American Racing Team entered cars. Pedro Rodriguez and Bob Bondurant were entered under the NART banner, while Lorenzo Bandini and Ludovico Scarfiotti were Scuderia Ferrari’s entries.
Scuderia Ferrari would not enter any cars for the final three races of the 1969 season. Instead NART entered a single car for Pedro Rodriguez at all three events.
21. 1966 British Grand Prix
Ferrari were absent from the 1966 British Grand Prix supposedly due to general worker strikes in Italy – though many are dubious of their official story. Some claim that the team actually failed to show due to a monetary dispute; some suggest that Enzo Ferrari did not want to send his cars to Brands Hatch, a circuit on which he knew they would be beaten; and some believe that the team were growing tired of motor racing generally.
22. 1966 Mexican Grand Prix
Jack Brabham and his eponymous team wrapped up the titles prior to the final race of the 1966 season. With nothing left to race for, and with their factory in Modena being extended ahead of their 1967 efforts, Ferrari sat out of the Mexican Grand Prix. Former Ferrari driver John Surtees won the event – his first victory since leaving the team.
23. 1967 South African Grand Prix
The rebuild of Ferrari’s Modena factory, which had played a part in them missing the final race of the 1966 season, led to the Scuderia being unable to get their cars ready for the opening race of the 1967 season.
24. 1968 Monaco Grand Prix
Ferrari missed the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix due to “major strikes in Italy”. However, Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini had been killed after crashing in the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix. Amendments to the event had been made for 1968, but it was reported that Ferrari were not convinced by the circuit’s safety standards, so chose not to send their cars to the street circuit.
25. 1969 German Grand Prix
Ferrari withdrew from the 1969 German Grand Prix at the last minute, with no real reason being given for the team pulling out of proceedings, other than them shifting focus to prepare for their home Grand Prix in Italy. Ferrari’s withdrawal meant that the entry list for the Nurburgring race was down to just fourteen, and organisers opened the race up for F2 entries.
29 & 30. 1973 Dutch & German Grands Prix
Ferrari’s slow and unreliable 312 B3 saw the Scuderia struggling to achieve results in the opening races of the 1973 season. As the team tried to figure out why the car was performing so badly, they chose to not take part in either the Dutch or German Grands Prix. As a result, Jacky Ickx left Ferrari after the Dutch Grand Prix, and went on to race for McLaren at the Nurburgring, bringing home a third place finish.
31. 1976 Austrian Grand Prix
The 1976 Austrian Grand Prix remains the most recent time that Ferrari did not enter a Grand Prix. The event took place two weeks after the German Grand Prix, in which Ferrari’s Niki Lauda suffered a near-fatal crash. Angered by the reinstatement of McLaren’s James Hunt as the winner of the Spanish Grand Prix, Enzo Ferrari withdrew his cars from the Austrian Grand Prix. He had threatened to boycott the remainder of the season, but the team returned for the next race in Zandvoort, entering only one car.
32. 1982 Belgian Grand Prix
The 1982 Belgian Grand Prix is one of three races which Ferrari did not start despite entering. In qualifying for the event, Gilles Villeneuve died as a result of crashing. The following day, the sole remaining Ferrari driver, Didier Pironi, withdrew from the event. He would be Ferrari’s only entry for the next three rounds of the championship.
33. 1982 Swiss Grand Prix
Ferrari suffered more turmoil later in the 1982 season, with Didier Pironi suffering a career-ending crash at the German Grand Prix. It was down to Gilles Villeneuve’s replacement Patrick Tambay to bring the results home for Ferrari over the following rounds, but the Frenchman was unable to compete at the Swiss Grand Prix having pinched a nerve in his back. Ferrari left the withdrawal of their only driver so late that their reserve driver Chico Serra was unable to take his place. This therefore remains the most recent time that Ferrari have not started a Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth 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 GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.