Which Driver Scored Ferrari’s First-Ever F1 Win?


He lived a long life and died until recently, which was about a decade back in the day. To be precise, it was 2013. He wasn’t born in Italy, synonymous with lip-smacking cuisine, marvellous and historic architecture, the musical instrument called Organetto and without any doubt, Ferrari.

As a matter of fact, he hailed from Argentina, the land that famously produced one of Formula 1’s earliest greats and a champion like no other: Juan Manuel Fangio.

Born in Argentina in 1913, a time in history, which if you think about it, dates back even before the First World War, Jose Froilan Gonzalez was an Argentine and a famous one at that.

While surely to this day, a lot of the world’s attention, where it comes to proper F1 Grand Prix racing, rests with his compatriot Fangio. It is not that Juan Manuel Fangio was the only Argentine who brought attention and popularity to his country for exploits in the world of Formula 1.

The year was 1951 and it was just the second year in the history of Formula 1 racing, a competition that is soon to enter the 75th running of the F1 world championship. And it was, truth be told, a year that became truly unforgettable for the stable widely revered and much loved around the world: Ferrari.

The reason was simple.

1951 became synonymous with Ferrari’s first-ever F1 win in the highest echelons of Motorsport racing and all of that was thanks to none other than Jose Froilan Gonzalez.

In what was then just the second instalment of the British Grand Prix, circa 1951, Argentine driver Gonzalez fetched glory for Ferrari in earning a victory that, as it turned out, remained just one of the two wins of his F1 career.

Thus far, Ferrari have won a whopping 244 wins in the highest echelons of Motor-racing but the first man to bring them a taste of real success in F1 was Jose Froilan Gonzalez.

While he might not have sported glittering statistics at the peak of Motor-racing in that he had 2 wins, 3 pole positions, and 6 fastest laps, all of which culminated into 15 career podiums, Gonzalez was responsible for Ferrari peaking very early in its F1 journey.

It’s a journey that eventually saw ecstatic talents of the class of Schumacher and Lauda excelling with the famous red stallion before stars like Raikkonen and later, Vettel arrived at Maranello.

But before all of that, before contemporary names and rather talented ones like Leclerc arrived at Scuderia Ferrari, it was Jose Froilan Gonzalez who laid the foundation for the Prancing Horse towards winning a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

So it won’t be wrong to say that it was an Argentine driving an Italian make that ensured that the horse would prance in Formula 1. While the Arrecifes, Argentina-born driver’s maiden F1 entry was the Monaco Grand Prix of 1950, first-ever win came a year later at the sprawling Silverstone. Before clinching the race win, he had also taken the pole position in the contest and in so doing, had set a lap time of 1:43:4 seconds.

It was an effort so laudable that compounded with the victory, it saw that Gonzalez beat the powerful triumvirate of Fangio, Farina as well as Villoresi in the process of winning.

Ferrari have won a further 243 races after that, but a date that it would never forget nor would it fans and perhaps for time immemorial was, is- July 14, 1951.

After all, it’s the first time ever that one would’ve heard crowds going wild and singing chants like “Forza Ferrari” for the first time ever as their team crossed the checkered flag to claim a race win.


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