Ferrari’s new 2009 F1 car launched yesterday may mark another change in the team’s somewhat esoteric approach to naming its cars.
Here’s a brief guide to how Ferrari have named their F1 cars from 1950 to 2009.
The early Ferraris: 1950-1965
125, 166, 275, 375, 166T, 212, 500, 166C, 375S, 553, 625, 555, D50, 801, 246, 156, 246P, 156/63, 156 Aero, 158, 1512
There were no Ferraris on the grid for the first round of the new world championship at Silverstone in 1950. But four 125s, with V12 engines, were entered for the second round at Monaco eight days later. The following year Jose Froilan Gonzalez gave the team its first world championship victory at Silverstone in a 4.5-litre V12 375.
Ferrari’s first drivers’ titles came in the next two seasons as the championship switched to Formula Two regulations, Alberto Ascari dominating in his Ferrari 500. In 1955 Ferrari bought six D50 models from Lancia, which had fallen into severe financial problems, and entered the ‘Lancia-Ferraris’ in the 1956 and 1957 championships.
Another change of regulations arrived in 1961 with the introduction of 1.5-litre engined cars. Once again Ferrari was far better prepared than its rivals for the new era. Phil Hill won the championship in a ‘sharknose’ 156, but it came in tragic circumstances as team mate Wolfgang von Trips was killed at Monza. John Surtees was champion in another 1.5-litre car in 1964.
Three litres, 12 cylinders: 1966-1980
312, 312/69, 312B, 312B2, 312B2-72, 312B3, 312T, 312T2, 312T3, 312T4, 312T4B, 312T5
After Surtees’ title win Ferrari entered one of its barren spells. From the end of 1964 until the beginning of 1970 the team only won three races. The pace of improvement was slow in the early 1970s as well, until Luca di Montezemolo arrived in charge of the race team. Mauro Forghieri took over as designer, and Niki Lauda was recruited to race the cars. The team had hit on a winning formula. Without Lauda’s notorious crash at the Nurburgring, and the row with Enzo Ferrari it led to, the 312T and its successors might have won more than two championships.
The 312T (for transversale, referring to the tranverse-mounted gearbox) generation of Ferraris continued until 1980. Jody Scheckter won the drivers’ championship with the 312T4 in 1979 but it successor, the T5, was an utter disaster – Scheckter failing even to qualify at Montreal.
The turbo Ferraris: 1980-1988
126CK, 126C2, 126C2B, 126C3, 126C4, 156/85, F1/86, F1-87, F1/87-88C
The designation 126 was used to refer to Ferrari’s first 1.5-litre turbocharged cars. The first of these, 126C, was driven by Gilles Villeneuve in practice for the 1980 Italian Grand Prix (the only one to be held at Imola) but not raced. The 126CK was powerful but unwieldy, yet Villeneuve somehow dragged it to two wins in 1981. Villeneuve perished in a 126C2 the following year at Zolder – the last F1 driver to be killed in a Ferrari – and team mate Didier Pironi suffered terrible injuries in a similar crash in the same model at Hockenheim. Despite this the team won the constructors’ champinship, and followed it up again in 1983 with the 126C2B and 126C3, its last title for 16 years. Ferrari’s later turbo models picked up year-based designations. That ended in 1988, which was also the year Enzo Ferrari died.
640, 641, 642, 643, F92A, F92AT, F93A
The 640, introduced in 1989, was revolutionary: the first F1 car to feature a semi-automatic gearbox controlled by paddles on the steering wheel. Nigel Mansell won the car’s debut race at Jacarepagua in Brazil, but unreliability meant the car only won two other races. Alain Prost took its 1990 successor (641) to the brink of the championship, but failed, and was so critical about the 642 he was thrown out of the team. He had a point though – it failed to win a race, as did its two successors…
From V12s to V10s: 1994-1999
412T1, 412T1B, 412T2, F310, F310B, F300, F399
The 1994 412T1 ended Ferrari’s three-year winless drought as Jean Todt swept away the political chaos and instilled a badly-needed discipline in the team. The 1995 412T2 was the last 12-cylinder Ferrari, robbing F1 of one of its most distinctive and romantic engine notes. Its successor, the F310 of 1996, heralded change not just because it marked the team’s switch to V10 engines: it also saw the arrival of Michael Schumacher. He had to wait until the ‘F3′ designations were done with before claiming his first title for the team, but they won the constructors’ championship with the F399 in 1999.
The 2000s: 2000-2008
F1-2000, F2001, F2002, F2003-GA, F2004, F2004M, F2005, 248 F1, F2007, F2008
In the new millennium Ferrari began the practice of using the year in its cars’ titles. The exception was 2006, when the designation 248 F1 was chosen – referring to the 2.4-litre V8 engines that became mandatory that year. In 2003 the letters ‘GA’ were appended onto the model name in memory of the late Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli. The F2004M was a modified version of the F2004 used in the first two races of 2005. The first five all won both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. The F2007 did the double as well, and last year’s F2008 added a 16th constructors’ title.
A new beginning, or another one-off?
Ferrari’s 2009 F1 car is called the F60 to mark 60 years of Grand Prix participation. Whether next year’s car will be the F61, F2010, or something completely different, who knows?
NB. the lists do not include cars which did not race.
Read more: Ferrari F1 team information