Ferrari celebrate their 1000th Grand Prix participation this weekend on home soil and at their venue – the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello in Tuscany.
Much is being planned to honour the occasion, but the harsh reality is that the whole affair will go unnoticed as the great Italian team toil through their worst season in memory; on Sunday they were humiliated by their own shortcomings and for the first time at Moza a Ferrari did not make it to the finish at the hallowed temple of speed.
Mugello, an unknown in terms of a Grand Prix weekend, is unlikely to provide them solace. In reality, avoiding being lapped on the occasion of their 1000th race will be an achievement while a double-DNF is an alarming possibility.
Nevertheless, on the occasion of this incredible milestone, not only for the Scuderia but for Formula 1 as a whole, the soundbites out of Maranello are naturally positive as the team’s momentous weekend approaches.
The marques vice-chairman Piero Ferrari said ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix weekend, “Scuderia Ferrari’s 1000th Grand Prix is a very important milestone, therefore it had to be marked in a special way.
“That’s why we decided to run a unique livery on the cars for this event, with the SF1000s taking to the track at the Mugello Circuit in the Burgundy colour first seen on the 125 S, the first racing car to carry the Ferrari name.
“Even the look of the race numbers on Charles’ and Sebastian’s cars will reflect the tradition of the past, giving the impression of being hand-painted onto the bodywork, while the drivers’ race suits will also match the car colour.
“It’s a tribute to our origins: to our starting point for the amazing Ferrari story, characterised by an endless desire to compete, alongside the will to build road cars that are exceptional in terms of technology and design. Ferrari is unique in the world, because the company has the soul of a car manufacturer and of a racing team, an inseparable link that is never questioned.
“Only a few months ago, no one could have imagined that our thousandth race could take place at our own Mugello circuit. I am pleased that in the Grand Prix official name, Formula 1 chose to pay tribute to Ferrari, the only team that has always been present in the sport’s seventy-one-year history.”
For their drivers, Sebastian Vettel who will be leaving the team for Aston Martin next year, the race will be special too, “It’s a great honour to be driving a Ferrari in what is the 1000th Grand Prix for this, the longest-serving of all Formula 1 teams.
“It will be even more of a pleasure to celebrate this anniversary at the Mugello Circuit and also because, for the first time this season, a few spectators will be allowed into the grandstands.
“It is a very nice and super technical track with changes of gradient and very demanding corners. The track should better suit our car, so let’s hope we can deliver something to please the tifosi, both at home and at the circuit,” said the German who has scored 13 wins in the Red of Ferrari.
Teammate Charles Leclerc added, “I can’t wait to be on track at Mugello with Ferrari. The circuit is really beautiful and on top of that, we are celebrating our team’s 1000th GP in Formula 1. I’m also pleased to learn there will be a few thousand fans in the grandstands.
“The track has a very long straight, but it’s not super fast like the past two we raced on and so it should be a bit better suited to our car. It will be important to make the most of the track time available, as we have no data from which to start.
“We hope to put on a show for the people at home and those in the stands and also get back to picking up some good championship points,” concluded the Ferrari driver.