Races

Periscope intakes, six car races and the fastest man on earth make up just some of the ten remarkable wins enjoyed by Scuderia Ferrari at the United States Grand Prix
Words – Ross Brown

This weekend Ferrari will once again take to the Circuit of The Americas, a fast 5.54 circuit set in Travis County, Texas.

Two years ago, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc proved it possible to get around all twenty turns in 1:36 mins, breaking the lap record in the process.

Only time will tell when that record will eventually be broken, but it is just one of a catalogue of impressive achievements by the Scuderia during their time in North America. Here we take a look at Ferrari’s record winning streak of ten American podium places that began in 1975, when Nikki Lauda crossed the line in his flat 12, five speed Ferrari 312T at Watkins Glenn International and was last achieved by Kimi Räikkönen in 2018 at the Circuit of The Americas. 

Niki Lauda's 312T was famous for its huge periscope. His 1975 US Grand Prix win was just one of five that season

1975 to 1979

Niki Lauda’s 1975 win at the US Grand Prix was just one of five that season, earning him the Driver’s Championship and Ferrari the Constructor’s Championship. His 312T machine was famous for both its huge air intake periscope and large rear tires, and was a car you heard long before you saw it: the screaming flat 12 engine producing over 500 hp at 12,000 rpm.  

 

Lauda had already won the championship when he crossed the American finish line in 1975, but three years later, in 1978, overall victory went to former Ferrari driver Mario Andretti and Lotus. Despite Andretti’s dominance throughout the season, Carlos Reutemann managed to win both American Grand Prix races at Long Beach and Watkins Glenn in his Ferrari 312 T3, a wide bodied, naturally aspirated 510 hp machine.

 

The following year, the 312 T4 proved reliable enough to give South African Jody Scheckter his one and only Driver’s Championship. Wider and more powerful than its predecessor, the 312 T4 was eventually gifted to Scheckter, who stores it to this day in a stable block on his farm.  However, the South African was beaten both times in America by his fellow Ferrari driver, Gilles Villeneuve. 

The 1978 312 T3 that saw Carlos Reutemann win both American GP races; Jody Scheckter's 312 T4; Michael Schumacher's drought-ending F1-2000; The F2002 that put Schumacher on the podium for every race of the season 

2000 to 2006

The turn of the century marked the end of a 21 year wait for Ferrari, as Michael Schumacher was crowned World Champion after nine wins. Ferrari’s emphasis on aerodynamics had produced the F1-2000, an 805 hp, V10, 7-speed machine. Schumacher won in America, with teammate Rubens Barichello right behind him for a one / two victory.

 

Schumacher won the championship again in 2001, but not in America, so it was on to 2002 to see if Ferrari could do it again. There was nothing to worry about. Driving the F2002, a V10 machine that produced 825 hp at 17,300 rpms, Schumacher had been on the podium for every single race by the time the American GP arrived and this one proved no exception. 

 Schumacher's F2003; the F2004 that saw Michael win thirteen races; curious scenes with the F2005 and the infamous six car race; better times in 2006 with the 248-F1

Ferrari managed to extract 845 hp at 18,000 rpm from the V10 F2003-GA for 2003 and Schumacher won his last race of the season at the United States Grand Prix (he would win the championship in the final race at Suzuka, despite Barichello crossing the finish line first). 

 

Driving the 865 hp F2004, Schumacher won thirteen races in 2004, and if Jarno Trulli hadn’t clinched a win at Monaco he would have won them all back-to-back. It was to be his seventh and last Driver’s Championship and in truth America was but a footnote in one most dominant F1 seasons of all time. 

 

The 2005 win at America for Michael Schumacher is as odd as it is regrettable. Chaos broke out when Michelin announced their tires could not withstand more than ten laps of the Indianapolis circuit unless a chicane was introduced to slow the cars down. In the end, only three teams and six cars took part in the race, with Ferrari coming first and second. Ever the crowd pleaser, Schumacher came back the following year and won again, his fourth consecutive win at the circuit.

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello coming home one / two in the hugely successful F2002

2018

Thirteen years later, in a new era of V6 turbo racing and driver safety halos, all attention at the Circuit of The Americas was on Lewis Hamilton, who could potentially have wrapped up the season with a win, but the podium that day was owned by Kimi Räikkönen, his first win in 114 races and the tenth final win (so far) for Ferrari in America.