Without a doubt, both Scuderia Ferrari and casual Formula One (F1) fans would agree that Michael Schumacher is the greatest Ferrari driver of all time. With Schumacher, Ferrari dominated F1 becoming synonymous with race car driving. Although not as successful outside Schumacher, Ferrari was still on top of F1 thanks to their many talented drivers. But who deserves to carry Ferrari’s banner outside Schumacher?
The five best Ferrari drivers after Schumacher
Enzo Ferrari founded Scuderia Ferrari in 1929 and they first entered F1 in the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix. The team most recently accomplished its 1,000th race milestone.
In 70 years, Ferrari has accumulated 16 Constructors’ Championships with 15 Drivers’ Championships, both F1 records. They also have over 230 victories, over 750 podiums, and over 250 fastest laps – all records as well.
A big part of this was because of Schumacher in the early 2000’s. But even if you discount Schumacher’s achievements, Ferrari would still be one of the two greatest teams in the sport thanks to sustained success – they’ve won an F1 championship in every decade but the 80’s and 90’s – brought on by a slew of talented and beloved drivers:
Kimi Räikkönen (2007-2009, 2014-2018)
The most beloved Ferrari driver among the younger fans, Räikkönen’s greatest times with Scuderia came in his first years. He edged the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to win his first and only title in 2007.
Räikkönen would go on to compile 10 wins and seven pole positions with Ferrari in two stints with the manufacturer. He was a brilliant racer but was perhaps most remembered for his dry humour and reluctance to do PR events.
Gilles Villeneuve (1977-1982)
His inclusion on this list may be controversial, especially considering he is the only one here who did not officially win a title. But VIlleneuve was a pioneer for Canadian drivers and he was one of Ferrari’s most charismatic drivers.
Villeneuve would’ve been the winner of the 1979 Championship had the team elected to make veteran Jody Scheckter win it instead. In his short time with Ferrari, and with F1 racing overall, Villeneuve wowed everyone with his thrilling performances that included six wins.
Following his sudden death in 1982, Scheckter said of him in an interview, “he was the most genuine man and he was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing.”
Juan Manuel Fangio (1956)
Alongside Schumacher, Fangio is considered to be one of F1’s GOATs (greatest of all time). The legendary Argentine won five championships – a record that stood for nearly half a century until Schumacher surpassed it in 2003.
Fangio could’ve given Schumacher a run for his money as Ferrari’s best had he driven with the team longer. But as it stands, Fangio has one championship with Ferrari in 1956, sandwiched in his “three-peat” from 1955 to 1957.
“El Maestro” (“The Master”) is still revered as one of the greatest sportsmen from Argentina and one of Ferrari’s greatest drivers.
Alberto Ascari (1950-1954)
Like Villeneuve, Ascari was another racing phenom taken too soon. The Italian won back-to-back championships with Ferrari in 1952 and 1953 in which he won six of eight races in ‘52. Prior to that, he finished second in 1951.
To this day, Ascari is the only Italian to ever win a championship with Ferrari and is one of only two drivers to win consecutive championships along with Schumacher himself. Racing icon Mario Andretti credits Ascari to be one of his racing idols and he remains a prominent racing symbol in Italy today.
Niki Lauda (1974-1977)
Before Schumacher, Lauda was the consensus top dog for Ferrari. The Austrian revolutionized Ferrari and cemented them as the Formula One team to beat during his exploits in the 1970s. He won two titles in 1975 and 1977.
That year between ‘75 and ‘77 became the subject of the Hollywood film, Rush, which chronicled Lauda’s horrific accident and heroic comeback where he came within one point of winning three consecutive F1 races.
Though he did not win that year, it was a moral victory as many thought he would never race again. He is still widely regarded as one of the most important figures in F1 history.
Ferrari in 2020 and beyond
Scuderia Ferrari fans can always reminisce about the glory days of the team. But despite harder times, you can always bet on Ferrari to be a contender.
The 2020 season is all but over for Ferrari. But they have promising talent in the wings and when their competition’s time is up, expect Ferrari to roar back to reclaim their place as F1’s best racing team.