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F1 world champions to have by no means pushed for Ferrari

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Lewis Hamilton shocked the F1 world by asserting a change from Mercedes to Ferrari for the 2025 season earlier than the 2024 marketing campaign had even begun.   

It means the seven-time world champion will add to the lengthy checklist of F1 legends to have pushed within the iconic Ferrari purple as a part of one of many largest driver transfers within the historical past of the sequence.  

Hamilton mentioned he has fulfilled a childhood dream of driving for Ferrari and to some there would have been one thing lacking from the 39-year-old’s CV if he had by no means made that change.  

Driving for Ferrari is a dream nearly all drivers have and a few, like Michael Schumacher, have left world championship equipment to make it occur. Hamilton’s transfer additionally signifies that, on the time of writing, each driver with 4 or extra F1 championships can have pushed for Ferrari in some unspecified time in the future of their profession.  

Nevertheless, there are nonetheless some world champions to have by no means competed for the Scuderia – so who’re the 5 most profitable drivers to haven’t made the change?  

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Most profitable F1 world champions to have by no means pushed for Ferrari  

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

On the age of 26, Verstappen nonetheless probably has an extended profession forward, which leaves the potential for him to maneuver to Ferrari, however presently he has no purpose to go away Pink Bull.  

Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing RB20

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Pink Bull signed a 16-year-old Verstappen as a junior driver in 2014 earlier than giving him his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015. In doing so, he turned F1’s youngest ever driver (17y166d) and the next 12 months Verstappen additionally turned its youngest winner (18y228d) when he received on his Pink Bull debut on the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.    

Since then, Verstappen has change into one among F1’s all-time greats, clinching three world championships and setting many data alongside the way in which, together with most victories in a season (19 in 2023) and highest factors tally in a 12 months (575 in 2023).   

Verstappen has by no means actually come near becoming a member of Ferrari up to now. The Scuderia didn’t method him throughout his junior days, whereas Max’s father, Jos, as soon as revealed that Ferrari confirmed preliminary curiosity after his rookie season however talks by no means occurred.  

It additionally appears unlikely to occur sooner or later. Verstappen is presently contracted till at the least the top of 2028, but the world champion has publicly revealed that he might depart F1 as soon as his deal expires. Ought to he keep in F1 past 2028, then Ferrari might be a chance as Verstappen just lately revealed he would “never say never” to the potential transfer, however added “for me now, it’s not even in my head”.  

PLUS: Verstappen picks his greatest wins 

Ayrton Senna

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

The one factor lacking from Senna’s profession was a stint with Ferrari, but it wasn’t for a scarcity of making an attempt! Senna drove his rookie season with Toleman in 1984 earlier than spending three years at Lotus forward of a mega transfer to McLaren for the 1988 season.   

Senna received the world championship in his first 12 months at McLaren, which additionally noticed him ignite a legendary rivalry with team-mate Alain Prost as the 2 went head-to-head for the 1988 and 1989 titles. Prost moved to Ferrari for 1990 whereas Senna stayed put, but the Brazilian acquired the higher deal, profitable the 1990 and 1991 championships with McLaren.  

He stayed at McLaren for an additional two years, however throughout his time with the British marque there was a lot flirtation between Senna and Ferrari – nevertheless, no deal might be reached. Probably the most important talks got here in an extended assembly between Senna and Ferrari’s then sporting director Jean Todt on the 1993 Italian GP.  

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4-5 Honda, leads Alain Prost, McLaren MP4-5 Honda

Ayrton Senna, McLaren MP4-5 Honda, leads Alain Prost, McLaren MP4-5 Honda

Picture by: Ercole Colombo

Senna was mentioned to be determined for that Ferrari transfer, but Todt advised him it already had Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger underneath contract for 1994. Senna joined Williams however talks between him and Ferrari continued.  

Simply 4 days earlier than the 1994 San Marino GP each events talked and it regarded probably that an settlement for 1995 might be reached, however Imola sadly proved deadly for Senna as he died following a crash at Tamburello.   

PLUS: Senna’s greatest F1 drives 

Jackie Stewart

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins  

Stewart made his F1 debut in 1965 with BRM, the place he claimed a few race wins in his first two seasons. Nevertheless, a disastrous 1967 marketing campaign the place Stewart retired from 9 of 11 grands prix led to a gathering between him and Ferrari for 1968.  

However, not like Senna and lots of different F1 greats, the lure of Ferrari was not so sturdy for Stewart. Whereas he was impressed by the services, Stewart was shocked to study that Jacky Ickx had additionally been approached, which immediately made the Scot assume that Ferrari was not the best transfer.  

Nevertheless, Stewart was by no means bought on the Scuderia to start with, saying “I was already frightened about Ferrari, I knew of their reputation and history with drivers”. As an alternative, Stewart joined forces with Ken Tyrrell whom he raced underneath for six seasons till retiring on the finish of 1973.  

It proved to be the right transfer for Stewart as properly. Stewart and Tyrrell received three world championships and 25 grands prix collectively (in Matra, March and Tyrrell chassis), whereas throughout that point Ferrari claimed simply eight race wins – six of which went to Ickx.   

PLUS: Stewart’s greatest F1 races 

Nelson Piquet

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

It’s not fairly recognized if Piquet was ever near becoming a member of Ferrari, however it will have been arduous to signal him given his sturdy hyperlinks to Brabham. Piquet received two championships over a seven-year spell with the staff and it required Williams to supply a contract roughly thrice the price of his Brabham one to prize Piquet away.  

Nelson Piquet, Brabham BT49C Ford, Bernie Ecclestone and Gordon Murray

Nelson Piquet, Brabham BT49C Ford, Bernie Ecclestone and Gordon Murray

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

Podcast: Ranking the top 10 Brabham F1 drivers 

Piquet spent two years at Williams and received the 1987 championship however, halfway by means of that 12 months, he introduced that he was set to affix Lotus for 1988.  

SPECIAL FEATURE: Top 10 Williams F1 drivers 

It’s unlikely that Ferrari would have tried to beat Lotus to his signature as a result of it retained its driver line-up of Berger and Michele Alboreto from 1987, whereas 1988 additionally noticed Piquet criticise the Scuderia saying it would carry out higher if staff founder Enzo Ferrari, then 90, was a lot youthful.  

The triple world champion failed to attain a victory in his two years at Lotus, which tarnished Piquet’s status, however he then scored three wins for Benetton throughout 1990-91 earlier than retiring. 

PLUS: Top 10 Benetton F1 drivers 

Jack Brabham

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

Ferrari was by no means actually a chance for Jack Brabham, who made his debut on the 1955 British GP with Cooper. It was the identical staff that Brabham clinched his maiden world championship with in 1959 earlier than going back-to-back in 1960.  

Nevertheless, 1960 was additionally the 12 months Ferrari tried to begin negotiations with Brabham nevertheless it failed miserably.   

Brabham advised F1 Racing journal: “I beloved beating Ferrari, simply beloved it. It was the best satisfaction. In 1960 they invited me to come back to Italy and meet Enzo and discuss driving for him, and I by no means went. I wasn’t . I used to be solely enthusiastic about beating them, not becoming a member of them. It’s a kind of issues.”  

Podcast: Jack Brabham Race of My Life 

Brabham nonetheless adopted within the footsteps of Enzo, although, by creating an F1 constructor in his personal identify. The Brabham staff made its debut in 1962 and it was the outfit Jack clinched his third championship with in 1966, the place he completed forward of John Surtees, who began the 12 months at Ferrari earlier than going to Cooper.  

Jack Brabham, Brabham

Jack Brabham, Brabham

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images

PLUS: Jack Brabham’s greatest drives 

The Australian retired on the finish of 1970, whereas his staff continued till 1992, having received three further drivers’ championships in 1967, 1981 and 1983.  

Most profitable F1 world champions to have pushed for Ferrari  

Though some world champions have by no means pushed for Ferrari, there may be nonetheless an extended checklist of F1 greats which have. Nevertheless, some listed under made the leap already as world champion and it backfired, which is one thing Hamilton shall be eager to keep away from.   

Michael Schumacher

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

Schumacher left world champion Benetton for a struggling Ferrari staff that had received simply two grands prix in 5 seasons amid a 13-year championship drought. However, it was the romance of Ferrari and the problem of returning it to its previous glory that enticed Schumacher.  

Positive, he might have gone elsewhere: Williams would have provided on the spot titles, Mercedes, who he drove for as a junior, was creating a profitable partnership with McLaren, however Ferrari was the prospect to construct an iconic legacy.  

Nevertheless, it was clearly one thing that will take time: Schumacher completed 38 factors behind 1996 champion Damon Hill in his first Ferrari season earlier than lacking out in 1997, 1998 and 1999.  

Throughout that point although, Schumacher and Todt had been laying the foundations for one thing particular with the engineering masterminds of Ross Brawn and Rory Byrne, so come 2000 Ferrari was lastly a medical machine that received again and again.   

Schumacher claimed 5 consecutive championships from 2000 to 2004, that means the dangerous transfer on his behalf paid off.  

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2004, celebrates victory as he crosses the finish line and takes the chequered flag, to the delight of the team who wave Italian flags.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2004, celebrates victory as he crosses the end line and takes the chequered flag, to the delight of the staff who wave Italian flags.

Picture by: Motorsport Images

No Ferrari driver has but been capable of replicate Schumacher’s achievements on the Scuderia.    

Juan Manuel Fangio

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

Within the first 5 years of F1, Juan Manuel Fangio made a behavior of being Ferrari’s largest rival as he received three world championships at Alfa Romeo, Maserati after which Mercedes. However, come the top of 1955, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes had each withdrawn from F1, whereas Maserati was now not so aggressive that means Fangio and Ferrari begrudgingly teamed up for 1956.  

It was easy: the most effective driver wanted the most effective automotive, which Ferrari now had due to inheriting Lancia’s exceptional D50, and vice-versa, regardless of the chilly relationship that had developed between Fangio and Ferrari over years of competing towards one another.   

The connection remained sophisticated throughout their time collectively: Fangio anticipated to be the staff’s primary driver, however that will have damaged Ferrari custom of how it’s at all times in regards to the staff – plus, from the start Enzo was by no means comfortable about Fangio’s financial calls for.   

Regardless of this, Fangio beat Maserati’s Stirling Moss to the 1956 championship on the ultimate day to make his partnership with Ferrari a profitable one. However, it solely lasted one 12 months as a result of Ferrari was not prepared to pay for Fangio once more, so the Argentinian returned to Maserati for 1957 the place he received his fifth and closing title.

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

Vettel grew up idolising Schumacher, which is why, even throughout his championship-winning years at Pink Bull, the lure of Ferrari was usually in the back of the German’s thoughts.   

However, it was about making the transfer on the proper time. That got here on the finish of 2014 following a winless marketing campaign for Vettel, whose championship-winning streak was ended by Hamilton within the first 12 months of turbo-hybrid laws.   

Inaki Rueda, Ferrari Race Strategist, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari celebrate on the podium with the trophies

Inaki Rueda, Ferrari Race Strategist, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari have fun on the rostrum with the trophies

Picture by: Sutton Photographs

So, Vettel was in purple for 2015 and there have been additionally some similarities between his and Schumacher’s transfer to the Scuderia: a a number of world champion going to Ferrari, who was within the midst of a tough run realizing it’ll take a number of years to return to the entrance.  

That’s additionally the way it sort of performed out for Vettel’s Ferrari profession as a result of Mercedes was far too dominant within the first two seasons, however a title problem was on for 2017. Vettel began the 12 months strongly and led the championship after midway, however Mercedes bounced again profitable six of the ultimate 10 grands prix to clinch each championships.   

An analogous state of affairs occurred in 2018, however this time Vettel was the architect of his personal downfall by crashing into the barrier whereas main a moist German GP. It proved to be Vettel’s closing alternative to win Ferrari a championship, because it regressed in 2019 whereas new signing Charles Leclerc emerged because the staff’s future, inflicting Vettel to go away on the finish of 2020.  

SPECIAL FEATURE: Ranking Vettel’s top 10 wins 

Alain Prost

F1 world championships  

4 (1985-86, 1989, 1993)  

World championship grand prix wins 

Prost was one other world champion who simply couldn’t fairly make it work with Ferrari. He joined for the 1990 season because it had all gone poisonous with Senna at McLaren. His transfer to Ferrari meant that Prost turned the primary driver signed by the Prancing Horse since Enzo’s loss of life in 1988.  

Nevertheless, at Ferrari Prost skilled one other fractious relationship with a team-mate, this time Nigel Mansell. Prost performed on the truth that he was the reigning world champion to say authority inside the staff and on the 1990 British GP, for instance, he secretly ordered Ferrari mechanics to swap his and Mansell’s automotive after the Briton had secured pole place.   

The connection with Prost was one of many elements that led to Mansell leaving Ferrari on the finish of 1990. In the meantime, the Frenchman’s title defence ended controversially as he was hit by Senna at Flip 1 at Suzuka, which induced each automobiles to retire and gave the McLaren driver his second world championship.  

Prost then didn’t even end 1991 with Ferrari. Ferrari had constructed a fairly uncompetitive automotive and Prost was usually over a second off pole, whereas early on it turned clear that Senna was a triple world champion in ready.   

Race winner Alain Prost, Ferrari 641/2

Race winner Alain Prost, Ferrari 641/2

Picture by: Sutton Photographs

It induced Prost to publicly criticise Ferrari, stating its automotive “was like a horrible truck to drive,” which resulted in him being sacked with a race to spare.   

Podcast: Alain Prost Race of My Life 

Niki Lauda

F1 world championships  

World championship grand prix wins 

Lauda is arguably Ferrari’s most profitable driver after Schumacher as he received two world championships with the Scuderia. However not like the names above, Lauda joined Ferrari as a contemporary face in F1 with only one factors end in his two-year profession up to now.   

However, what helped him is that Ferrari was going by means of a rebuild on the time following a disappointing 1973 season the place it completed sixth within the championship. So, it first signed Clay Regazzoni however then he spoke very extremely of his ex-BRM team-mate, inflicting Ferrari to snap up Lauda for 1974 as properly.  

And it was a danger that paid off. Lauda immediately turned a frontrunner by profitable two grands prix in his first season with Ferrari earlier than clinching two of the next three championships. He would nearly actually have received a 3rd had it not been for his horrific 1976 crash on the Nurburgring that nearly killed him. 

The Austrian wasn’t finest happy with the way in which Ferrari dealt with his comeback however nonetheless confirmed his class by taking the 1977 title earlier than heading to Brabham. 

SPECIAL FEATURE: Lauda’s greatest drives 

To see how Autosport ranks Ferrari’s prime F1 drivers, have a look here.

Niki Lauda, Ferrari 312T

Niki Lauda, Ferrari 312T

Picture by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch / Motorsport Images



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