F1

A closer look at Britons who have driven for Ferrari in Formula One

Lewis Hamilton is the 12th British racer to join the Maranello marque.

Lewis Hamilton could follow Nigel Mansell in becoming a British F1 champion to sign for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton could follow Nigel Mansell in becoming a British F1 champion to sign for Ferrari Lewis Hamilton could follow Nigel Mansell in becoming a British F1 champion to sign for Ferrari. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Lewis Hamilton will make a shock move to Ferrari from the 2025 season onwards.

The seven-time Formula One world champion has enjoyed unrivalled success at Mercedes but is now set to become the 12th British racer to don the famous red overalls of Ferrari.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five of the most notable former Britons to race for the Maranello marque.

John Surtees

Starts: 37


Wins: 5

John Surtees in the cockpit of his Ferrari at Brands Hatch in 1964.
John Surtees in the cockpit of his Ferrari at Brands Hatch in 1964 John Surtees in the cockpit of his Ferrari at Brands Hatch in 1964. (PA/PA)

Surtees is the subject of a pub quiz question to this day as he remains the only man to win world championships on both two and four wheels.

His F1 title came during a four-year stint at Ferrari, where he won the championship in 1964.

More success probably would have followed had he not quit the team after just two races of the 1966 season following a public spat resulting from his omission from Ferrari’s team for the Le Mans 24-hour race.

Eddie Irvine

Starts: 65


Wins: 4

Eddie Irvine came within two points of winning the 1999 F1 drivers championship with Ferrari.
Eddie Irvine came within two points of winning the 1999 F1 drivers championship with Ferrarii Eddie Irvine came within two points of winning the 1999 F1 drivers championship with Ferrari. (David Jones/PA)

Ferrari’s hopes of a first drivers’ championship in two decades had seemingly been resting solely on the shoulders of Michael Schumacher.

That all changed when he broke his leg in a crash at Silverstone in 1999, jettisoning Northern Ireland’s Irvine into a title showdown with the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen.

Having joined Ferrari in 1996, Irvine was very much the number two in the team, although victories in Australia, Austria, Germany and Malaysia saw the championship race go down to the wire but – even with Schumacher back from injury and playing a supporting role, he fell short by two points and quit for Jaguar in 2000.

Nigel Mansell

Starts: 32


Wins: 3

Nigel Mansell endured a tough time at Ferrari
Nigel Mansell endured a tough time at Ferrari Nigel Mansell endured a tough time at Ferrari. (Brenton West/Alamy) (Alamy Stock Photo)

Already a world champion, Mansell would forever be bestowed with the honour of being the last driver hand-picked by Enzo Ferrari to race for his eponymous marque.

Mansell had endured a terrible season at Williams in 1988 but won in Brazil in 1989 – his first race behind the wheel of a Ferrari – and later in Hungary, too.

Reliability issues hampered the remainder of his debut year with the Prancing Horse and 1990 proved even worse in that regard as Mansell retired from seven grands prix, winning in Portugal but falling out with the team and returning to Williams the following year.

Mike Hawthorn

Starts: 24


Wins: 3

Mike Hawthorn was the first British driver to race in F1 for Ferrari.
Mike Hawthorn was the first British driver to race in F1 for Ferrari Mike Hawthorn was the first British driver to race in F1 for Ferrari. (PA/PA)

Hawthorn became the United Kingdom’s first Formula One world champion when he took the title with Ferrari in 1958.

Having driven for the team earlier in the decade, he returned to take the crown after winning in France and finishing second in Belgium, Britain, Portugal, Italy and Morocco.

He retired after winning the championship having watched team-mate Peter Collins die at the German Grand Prix months earlier – Hawthorn himself would die in a road accident in January 1959 at the age of 29.

Peter Whitehead

Starts: 8


Wins: 0

Peter Whitehead (car number one) purchased a Ferrari from team owner Enzo Ferrari.
Peter Whitehead (car number one) purchased a Ferrari from team owner Enzo Ferrari Peter Whitehead (car number one) purchased a Ferrari from team owner Enzo Ferrari. (PA/PA)

Whitehead may have raced in Formula One but it was with a Ferrari, rather than for the team itself.

The Englishman became the first private racer to convince Enzo Ferrari to sell him a car, which he duly painted in British racing green.

He was entered into one race by the works Ferrari team – but failed to qualify for the 1950 Swiss Grand Prix.