Ranking the Top 10 F1 Drivers Who Never Raced for Ferrari

Fraser MasefieldContributor IFebruary 12, 2014

Ranking the Top 10 F1 Drivers Who Never Raced for Ferrari

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    Future teammates?
    Future teammates?Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    When Mark Webber told Sky Sports he expected then-teammate Sebastian Vettel to join Fernando Alonso at the team in 2016, it raised a number of interesting questions.

    Vettel had been tipped for a move to Maranello for the 2014 season, as reported by BBC Sport at the time, but the deal never materialised.

    It seems likely that Vettel will one day become a Ferrari driver and it will be intriguing to see how he fares alongside Alonso if that does indeed happen.

    Ferrari is the oldest and most prestigious team in the history of F1 and a team every budding young driver aspires to race for. Yet some of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport have been linked to the team and, for one reason or another, it has never materialised.

    Here, then, are the top 10 drivers never to have driven for the Prancing Horse.

    Criteria is judged not only on how successful each driver was but also by examining evidence of how close they actually came to joining the Ferrari family.

10. Jenson Button

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    Button has often been linked to Ferrari
    Button has often been linked to FerrariAndrew Hone/Getty Images

    A strange entry, you may think. But 2009 champion Button has been strongly linked to a move to Ferrari on more than one occasion, most recently towards the end of last season and in 2012 as reported by BBC Sport.

    Button has been an open admirer of Ferrari since his childhood, but he has probably now resigned himself to the fact it may be the one team he dreamed of racing for that will be left unfulfilled, as he told the Daily Mail.

    When I was growing up I was excited about the three big teams - Williams, McLaren and Ferrari. It doesn't mean you need to drive for Ferrari to fulfil your childhood dreams because as you grow up things change.

     

9. Jochen Rindt

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    DUNCAN CUBITT/Associated Press

    Who knows what the 1970 world champion might have gone on to achieve and which teams he might have driven for had his life not been tragically cut short by his fatal accident during practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

    Rindt did enjoy success in motorsport for Ferrari, famously winning the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans driving a Ferrari 250LM.

    Fast, brave and with exceptional car control, Rindt would have fitted in well with the Ferrari F1 ethos.

8. Ronnie Peterson

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Hailed as a future world champion before his tragic death following complications to broken legs suffered in a first lap pile-up at Monza, Ronnie Peterson is next on the list.

    There are rumours that Peterson was offered the chance to fill in for Niki Lauda after the Austrian broke three ribs in a bizarre tractor accident prior to the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix. But Lauda recovered to race in discomfort and the opportunity, true or not, never materialised.

    Peterson did actually drive for Ferrari, although not in F1, the Swede having helped to develop the Prototype Ferrari 312 PB.

7. Mika Hakkinen

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    Mika Hakkinen at Ferrari
    Mika Hakkinen at FerrariBERNAT ARMANGUE/Associated Press

    Double world champion Mika Hakkinen’s career is defined by his championship-winning clashes against Ferrari.

    Hakkinen won back-to-back titles in 1998 and 1999 when he pipped great rival Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine to the title. But it is for his epic clashes against Schumacher in particular for which he is best remembered.

    Of course, with Schumacher being Ferrari’s prodigal son, Hakkinen at Ferrari was never really going to happen. Or was it?

    According to an Autosport forum that cites Germany’s SportBild, Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo wanted to sign the Flying Finn for 1999, but the move was blocked by Schumacher and Jean Todt.

    What a mouthwatering partnership that would have been...

6. Sebastian Vettel

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    One driver who stands a very realistic chance of fulfilling the dream of driving for Ferrari is the current world champion, Sebastian Vettel.

    As mentioned at the beginning of the slideshow, there has been persistent speculation around Vettel joining forces with Ferrari and perhaps forming a partnership with Fernando Alonso.

    For now, it remains speculation only. Yet Vettel is a known admirer of Ferrari and when first linked with the seat in 2012, he admitted he would one day like to drive for them, as quoted in The Independent.

    I am honoured (team principal) Stefano Domenicali and (president) Luca di Montezemolo see me as a driver for Ferrari. I'm flattered, but there has been no signal from me, I've not signed anything, nor agreed anything with a handshake.

    But if you asked the 24 drivers in Formula One if they would like to go to Ferrari in their career, all 24 would say 'yeah', and it is the same with me. They are just an awesome race team. But it (a move) has to fit on all sides. Who knows, maybe things change and suddenly I go somewhere else, or it may be I never go anywhere else in my career because there simply is no better package than Red Bull.

5. Sir Jack Brabham

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    Three-time world champion Jack Brabham comes into the reckoning as a driver Ferrari probably would have loved to have got their hands on but never realistically had a chance of doing so.

    Any driver who is talented enough to win a world title immediately comes on to the Ferrari radar as a potential recruit, but for a driver to win three titles, he becomes a prime target.

    Yet for "Black Jack," Ferrari was never an option as he revealed in an interview with F1 Racing magazine in March 2013 that he was only ever interested in beating the Prancing Horse:

    I loved beating Ferrari, just loved it. It was the greatest satisfaction. In 1960 they invited me to come to Italy and meet Enzo and talk about driving for him, and I never went. I wasn’t interested. I was only interested in beating them, not joining them. It’s one of those things.

    That he was able to do so with such regularity, you can bet that Ferrari would rather have had Brabham on their side of the garage.

4. Sir Jackie Stewart

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    Stewart in 1967, around the time his Ferrari talks began
    Stewart in 1967, around the time his Ferrari talks beganGetty Images/Getty Images

    Like his fellow treble F1 champion knight of the realm, Jackie Stewart never had the pleasure of racing the Ferrari but would have made a valuable asset.

    Having impressed during the 1967 season, Ferrari concluded a deal to sign Stewart for the 1968 but instead changed their mind and went for Jacky Ickx, as Stewart recalls in an interview with Ferrari.com.

    I met Enzo Ferrari at Monza, yes. Somebody thought I should meet him, and he was very nice, but no more than that. Back then, any driver going to Ferrari would be in awe. The idea was for me to look around Ferrari and be impressed. Which I was. Especially compared to Ken Tyrrell’s huts! Then I went back on my own, because they said they wanted to do a deal. I saw Franco again, had lunch with Mr Ferrari, and came to a deal. I would drive in 1968, the anticipated other driver was Chris Amon.

    Well, after that I flew to Enna to drive for Ken [in an F2 race, which he duly won], and Jacky Ickx was my team-mate. He said, ‘Are you going to drive for Ferrari?’ And nobody knew, nobody. I said, ‘I don’t want anyone to know, how the hell do you know that?’ He said, ‘Ferrari told me.’ I said, ‘Well, what’s the question?’ ‘Well, are you going to drive for them? They’ve offered me the drive if you don’t take it, because you’re asking big money for the season.’ So I said to him, ‘Take the drive.’ Everyone knew the Commendatore would have his favourite driver and would play one driver off against the other, he was famous for it.

    Anyway, there was a big row. Ferrari was very upset at the time. Ken didn’t have an F1 team at that point, and when I told him I wasn’t going to drive for Ferrari he said, ‘Would you drive for me?’ I said, ‘But you don’t have a team Ken!’ ‘What if I did?’ he replied. So we stitched something together… [pause] If Jacky Ickx hadn’t told me about it, well, it could have been interesting. The Ferrari loss was compensated by a pretty unusual year: I finished second in the World Championship. Not to a Ferrari…

3. Stirling Moss

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    Universally recognised as the greatest driver never to win the world title, Stirling Moss drove for many F1 teams during his distinguished career including Mercedes, Maserati, Vanwall, Cooper and BRM.

    One of his biggest regrets, however, is that he never raced for Ferrari. In an interview with ESPNF1’s Laurence Edmondson, Moss revealed he had been invited to Italy to try out for the team but that things took a turn for the unexpected.

    Ferrari called me down to southern Italy to drive the new four-cylinder that had been designed for use in Formula Two. I went down there and found the car in a garage. I got in and an engineer came over to me and said: 'What are you doing?' I said: 'I'm Stirling Moss and I'm driving this,' to which he quickly replied: 'No you're not, Piero Taruffi is'.

    That really pissed me off. Taruffi was a nice guy and a good driver, but Enzo Ferrari had simply changed his mind without telling me. At that point I vowed to myself that I would never race for him and I never did.

2. Jim Clark

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    Clark was fiercely loyal to Lotus
    Clark was fiercely loyal to LotusBOB DAUGHERTY/Associated Press

    The name Jim Clark will be forever linked to Colin Chapman’s Lotus, the team he competed for throughout his entire F1 career from 1960 until his tragic death in 1968.

    Clark was twice world champion for Lotus and runner-up once. And it seems highly likely that he, and not teammate Graham Hill, would have again been champion but for his fatal crash at Hockenheim during a Formula Two race.

    Who knows whether Clark would have remained loyal to Chapman for the remainder of his career although in a feature for motorsportmagazine.com back in 1993, David Tremanye quotes Clark’s biographer Graham Gauld as stating that it is possible that Clark could have one day severed his long ties after a meeting with journalist and former Ferrari team manager Franco Lini.

    Well, here’s a thing I don’t think anyone else knows. I was with Lini last year and he came up with a interesting story. At the Mexican Grand Prix in 1967 an English journalist had said to him: ‘You know, Jim Clark isn’t wedded totally to Lotus.’ And Franco said to me, ‘I went straight away and phoned Enzo Ferrari. And Ferrari had replied: ‘Ah, I know that Jim Clark is in negotiation with Colin Chapman about his contract. Maybe he wants to use this to raise the stakes.’

    Franco was trying to point out that that was the sort of way Enzo Ferrari looked at it! And he said that Ferrari would never have believed him if he had told him that it was not in Jimmy’s character to have behaved that way.

1. Ayrton Senna

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    Pascal Rondeau/Getty Images

    Before his fateful move to Williams for the 1994 season, Ayrton Senna is believed to have held talks over several moves, having decided to part company with McLaren.

    The legendary Brazilian won all of his three titles for Ron Dennis’s team but, following a downturn in fortunes in 1992 and 1993, decided to up sticks to pastures new.

    One of the teams Senna is believed to have held talks with is Ferrari, who Senna believed to be the soul of Formula One, according to Wikipedia. It is also believed he was in contract with Ferrari for 1987, but for a number of reasons it never came to pass.

    There is even the claim on an Autosport forum that Senna revealed to his girlfriend Adriane Galisteu that he wanted to end his career at Ferrari and that it is backed up by an interview his sister Viviane conducted with Autosprint.

    Of course, with the hindsight of the success that Williams enjoyed in the seasons that followed up until their most recent world title in 1997, it remains a subject of conjecture how many titles the Brazilian would have settled for before retirement.

    Still, the thought of the most iconic driver of all time driving for the most iconic team remains a wonderful one.