British Drivers Who Competed for Ferrari Before Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari has signed Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season, making him the 12th British driver to race for the team, following predecessors including world champions Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees, among others who have had varying degrees of success with the Italian team.

Highlights

‣ Ferrari have announced the signing of Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season, making him the 12th British driver to compete for the team.

‣ Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees are the two British drivers who became world champions with Ferrari, in 1958 and 1964 respectively.

‣ From 1979 until 2000, Ferrari experienced a championship drought, with notable British drivers like Nigel Mansell and Eddie Irvine failing to secure a title during this period.

‣ Other British drivers who represented Ferrari include Peter Whitehead, Peter Collins, Tony Brooks, Cliff Allison, Mike Parkes, Jonathan Williams, and Derek Bell, each contributing to the team’s storied history in various capacities.


Oh boy, big news! Ferrari’s gone and snagged Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season. That’s right, the seven-time world champ is now the 12th Brit to join the iconic Italian squad. But hey, who were the other 11, and how’d they fare? Let’s dive in.

### World Champions for Ferrari
So, Hamilton’s eyeing his eighth title after making a bold leap to Ferrari. Interestingly, he’s not the first Brit to dream big with the team. Two others have clinched world titles wearing Ferrari red.

First up, Mike Hawthorn, crowned in 1958. He debuted with Ferrari back when Alberto Ascari was bagging his second title in ’53. Hawthorn’s first F1 win? The French Grand Prix that year. With Ferrari, he notched three wins and four pole positions. And in ’58, he edged out Stirling Moss by just a point.

Then there’s John Surtees, a legend in his own right. The only soul to win both a Formula One and a MotoGP world title. He joined Ferrari in ’63 and, by ’66, had a world title under his belt. During his stint, he won four races and started from pole four times.

### The Years of Drought
Ah, the dry spell. From Jody Scheckter’s ’79 victory to Michael Schumacher‘s 2000 win, Ferrari had a bit of a championship drought. Nigel Mansell, a fan fave, joined the Italians in ’89 after leaving Williams. In his two years at Maranello, Mansell won three races and secured three poles. Despite his efforts and those of Alain Prost, who joined in Mansell’s second year, a championship win remained elusive. Mansell finally won his title in ’92 with Williams.

Eddie Irvine, the last Brit before Hamilton to race for Ferrari, had a stint from ’96 to ’99. He won all four of his career races in ’99 but missed the championship by a whisker to Mika Häkkinen, falling short by just two points. And then, Schumacher quenched Ferrari’s thirst by kicking off a five-title streak.

Between ’50 and ’68, seven other British drivers took the wheel for Ferrari, not counting Hawthorn and Surtees.

### The Early Brits
Peter Whitehead was the pioneer, racing in ’50. Though he didn’t start in two Grands Prix for the works team, he snagged a podium at the French GP racing under his own banner but in a Ferrari car.

Peter Collins, oh, what a story. He could’ve been champ in ’56 but famously handed his Ferrari to Juan Manuel Fangio in the season’s final race. Collins won three races with Ferrari but tragically died in a crash at the Nürburgring in ’58.

Tony Brooks nearly clinched the title in ’59. He raced for Ferrari in all but the Silverstone race, bagging three wins and two poles. Alas, Jack Brabham snatched the title away.

Cliff Allison and Mike Parkes had their moments too. Allison grabbed a podium in ’60, while Parkes doubled Allison’s podium count in just as many races between ’66 and ’67.

Jonathan Williams had a brief encounter in ’67, racing once without scoring points. And then there’s Derek Bell, an endurance racing legend, who raced for Ferrari just before Mansell’s era began in ’89. In ’68, he competed in Italy and the US but didn’t see the checkered flag in either.

So, there you have it. A whirlwind tour through the British legacy at Ferrari. With Hamilton now on board, it’s anyone’s guess how this next chapter will unfold.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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