“Ask a child to draw a car and he will undoubtedly make it red”. This iconic statement (coming from none other than Enzo Ferrari) will be forever etched in the tifosi ’s hearts. If there is one thing that has defined Scuderia Ferrari’s oustanding achievements in motorsports is their peculiar red paint, Rosso Corsa.
There was a time when Enzo himself had a Blue Ferrari F1 out on track, eventually bringing John Surtees to the Drivers’ Championship and the team to the Constructors’ Championship in 1964.
The Ferrari 158
The 1964 season saw Ferrari bringing V8 engines back and introducing a monocoque chassis for the first time. The Ferrari 158 driven by Lorenzo Bandini and John Surtees collected a total of 7 podiums, 2 pole positions and 2 wins, an inpressive result for a total of 10 races. The original chassis design, which was used until the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, was painted in the traditional Rosso Corsa and was equipped with beautiful turquoise rims. At the time, F1 teams raced in national colours: Italian colours are sky blue for traditional sports and bright red for motorsports. Right before the last two rounds of the season, however, FIA and the Italian Automobile Club (ACI) made a decision which would cause Enzo to completely lose the red for the rest of the Championship.
The story begins in 1962. Enzo wanted to homologate his 250 GTO to compete in GT racing. However, the ACI and FIA regulations at the time required a minimum of 100 road models of a car to be produced before obtaining homologation for racing. Ferrari wasn’t able to produce this many models, but managed to trick the FIA and the ACI into believing that requirements were met. Fast forward 1964, and Ferrari wanted to homologate a new racecar, the 250 LM: however, this time the FIA wasn’t easily fooled, and the Scuderia saw their request denied.
ACI failed to back Enzo Ferrari in his discussion with FIA (having been fooled themselves), and Enzo was so angered that he decided to sever all ties between Ferrari and Italy. He gave up on his competitor’s licence, and both the American and the Mexican rounds of the Championship were raced in particular conditions. On the grid, Ferrari was represented by the satellite constructor NART (it might sound absurd to today’s audiences, but it was perfectly regular back in the day) and raced in a white and blue outfit. John Surtees finished second in both races and, after both Championship wins, Enzo’s threat never to race in Italian colours again was very short-lived.