Ferrari's love affair with motorsport goes back to the very beginning; they boast the status of F1's longest-standing team, having entered the competition in the first year of the modern era in 1950. Despite the withdrawal of many major automotive manufacturer-backed teams, Ferrari have committed to the 2010 season, celebrating an impressive 60 years in the sport.
Jose Froilan Gonzalez recorded Ferrari's first ever F1 victory at the British Grand Prix in 1951, and the following year Alberto Ascari won the first of back-to-back drivers' championships for the team. It took the Maranello-based squad until 1961 to win the first of their 16 constructors' championships, when Phil Hill led the team to take both the drivers' and constructors' accolades.
In 1964 John Surtees won the drivers' championship for the team; the former motorcycle world champion remains the only man to win championships on two and four wheels. The team had to wait until 1975 to win the constructors' championship again; but they retained it for the next two years. In 1979 the team won the double once more, with Jody Scheckter taking the drivers' crown. They then had to wait 21 years for another drivers' championship. After taking the team championship again in 1982 and 1983, they entered their longest championship drought, unable to topple the dominance of McLaren and Williams.
They didn't win the championship again till 1999, but were then unbeatable, retaining the title until 2004. The Schumacher era was in full force; he won the drivers' titles five years running between 2000 and 2004. In 2005 they were only able to manage third [in the standings] after struggling to adapt to new regulations. After a controversial year where McLaren were disqualified from the 2007 championship after being found guilty of possessing confidential Ferrari data, the team went on to record another double win, this time with Kimi Raikkonen taking the drivers' honours in an action-packed final race in Brazil. In 2008 eight wins powered the Italian team to their 16th constructors' title beating rivals McLaren by 21 points. Felipe Massa missed out, by just one point, on the drivers' title, despite winning more races than champion Lewis Hamilton.
The first half of the 2009 season saw Ferrari struggle against the dominance of Brawn and Red Bull, unable to score a win in the first 10 races. They didn't even score a podium finish until Kimi Raikkonen finished third in the sixth round at Monaco. However, just as things were starting to look up after Felipe Massa finished third in Germany; he was knocked unconscious by a spring from a fellow competitor's car in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, signalling the end to his season.
After a week of speculation the team managed to pull off the ultimate coup, persuading Michael Schumacher to deputise for Massa until he was well enough to return, only to have him withdraw, claiming a neck injury was not healed, less than two weeks later. Short of a driver the team announced that test driver Luca Badoer, who had not raced in ten years, would take Massa's seat. To say his performance was dismal might be being kind - he was replaced after two races by Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella, who struggled through to the end of the season. Ferrari finished their 60th season in F1 in a disappointing fourth - their worst constructors' championship finish since 1993 and 1992 when they again finished fourth.
The Italian veterans head into the 2010 season with a returning Massa and new signing Fernando Alonso in a bid to restore their fortunes.