When Ferrari last raced in blue... and yellow and green

Racing History

Ferrari's F1 car is set to feature a 'blue livery' at the 2024 Miami GP – we look back on the other times Maranello cars haven't run in red

1964 US GP Watkins Glen John Surtees NART blue and white Ferrari

Surtees and Lorenzo famously ran in blue and white at Watkins Glen and Mexico City in 1964


For many road and race fans around the world, the word Ferrari means red. That deep rosso corsa scarlet which adorns its racing prototypes and each new road car launched is the embodiment of the Modena firm’s rich, Italian racing heritage.

Next weekend at the Miami GP though, the cars (and likely the racing suits too) will be infused with a dash of azzurro la plata and azzurro dino, an apparent nod to historic uses of blue throughout its history – and also signals a new commercial tie-up with sponsor Hewlett-Packard, naturally.

The Florida event has been chosen due to the fact that it will soon be 70 years since Ferrari began to import the Maranello cars to the US, under the business direction of founder Enzo Ferrari’s old associate Luigi Chinetti.

2 1964 US GP Watkins Glen John Surtees NART blue and white Ferrari

Surtees lines up in his new colours


The last time that the works F1 squad cars ran in any other colours than red was the 1964 Mexican GP, when the cars were decked out in the blue and white of the North American Racing Team. However prior to that, privateer Ferraris would appear at events not just in various shades of azure but also green and yellow.

In addition to this, a certain shade of blue became associated with Ferrari throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, being used not only in driver overalls but also on wheel hubs and the edges of bodywork – a similar tone to that of HP, handily.

We run through the blue and also the various times Ferrari liveries have gone a bit off-message.


1964 US and Mexican GPs – John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini

2 1964 US GP John Surtees NART Ferrari blue and white

Surtees would win his F1 title in blue and white livery

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In a not-unfamiliar FIA-themed feud, team founder Enzo Ferrari declared in late 1964 that never again would his cars race in red after the governing body (then called the ACI) refused to homologate his new 250 LM sports car for the World Endurance Championship that year.

Thus, with two F1 championship races left to go, the cars of John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini would run at Watkins Glen and Mexico City in the blue and white colours of North American Racing Team, the squad used to promote Luigi Chinetti’s exclusive Ferrari import business – though, according to our correspondent Denis Jenkinson at the time, it caught the paddock off-guard:

From the archive

“The great surprise as far as this famous Italian firm were concerned was that all the cars were painted blue and white, the colours of the USA, and were entered by the NART,” he said.

The two races proved fruitful in blue. Surtees would finish second behind title rival Graham Hill at Watkins Glen, keeping him in the championship hunt along with Jim Clark, before an inadvertent bit of teamwork helped him to the crown at next race in Mexico.

Team-mate Bandini would drive into the back of Hill early on, taking the Brit out of the reckoning. That meant the title fight would now be between Surtees and Clark, with the latter looking to have things sewn up by running first for most of the GP.

However, the Scot’s Lotus failed on the final lap with the running order left at Dan Gurney – Bandini – Surtees. Ferrari ordered its Italian man over to give his British counterpart enough points to clinch the title, and Surtees became the first ever – and still only – driver to win world championships on both two wheels and four.


Blue behind the wheel – 1964 John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini

That said, before the team went all blue and white, various highlights had already been used on the cars.

Surtees and Bandini ran with blue wheel hubs during the 1964 season, and the same colour would later be seen on the privateer Danway Racing squad of Mike Salmon and Chris Kerrison at the ’65 Nürburgring 1000Kms and at the ’66 Monza 1000Kms used by the Maranello Concessionaires team of Richard Attwood and David Piper.

1966 Monza 1000Kms Richard Attwood

Richard Attwood and David Piper's red and blue Maranello Concessionaires Ferrari Dino 206S at Monza '66


Ferrari 1965 Nurburgring

No65 Danway Racing car at Nürburgring '65


Overall blue: Ferrari’s azure racewear

Azzurro La Plata, as referred to by Ferrari in its announcement, pays homage to the various overalls worn by Scuderia race drivers of yesteryear. These include the blue shirts which Alberto Ascari wore during the 1950s, becoming somewhat of a signature for the Italian hero along with his crash helmet.

In the ’60s and into the ’70s, Surtees, Chris Amon, Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda were noted Ferrari pilots who became synonymous with blue overalls. Ferrari says that both this lighter blue and the darker shade of NART will be used in a one-off livery for Miami.

Niki Lauda blue overalls 1974

Lauda in his light blue overalls in 1974


John Surtees 1964 Ferrari

Blue mood of Surtees

Bernard Cahier/ Getty Images

When Ferrari F1 cars went yellow: Olivier Gendebien and Chico Landi 

Highlights of yellow have often been used on Ferraris throughout the years, but there have been races when the privateer cars have switched to the shade all over.

Brazilian racer Chico Landi entered races in his home country in a yellow Ferrari single-seater, as well as Formula Libre races elsewhere.

The most well-known yellow Fezzas are that of the Ecurie Nationale Belgique and Ecurie Francorchamps, with the latter funded by Belgian Ferrari importer Jacques Swaters.

1961 Belgian GP Olivier Gendebien yellow Ferrari

Spa ’61: Gendebien races a yellow Ferrari Sharknose

Klemantaski Collection/Getty Images

He himself competed in privateer yellow Ferrari 500s in the early ’50s, before funding a fourth car in the works F1 team for Olivier Gendebien at the 1961 Belgian GP – with it running in resplendent yellow.

That extra entry led to an unprecedented 1-2-3-4 for Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips, Richie Ginther and Gendebien.


Vanwall’s British Racing Green ‘Ferrari’ Thinwall grand prix cars

2 Vanwall's Thinwall Special

The Vanwall ‘Thinwall’ Ferrari 375

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Vanwall is known as the team to break the Italo-German stronghold on the F1 championship, being the first squad to take the newly inaugurated constructors’ crown in 1958.

However prior to that, Tony Vandervell’s team actually competed in minor Formula Libre races using modified Ferraris.

From the archive

The chassis it bought was the 375 Indianapolis design as used by Alberto Ascari at the 1952 Brickyard event, fitted with a 4.5-litre V12 engine.

“While the Ferrari factory supplied the major components the car was assembled, modified and completed by the Vandervell racing team and many original components were replaced by improved ones manufactured by Vandervell Products [owned by the boss],” said Denis Jenkinson in his Thinwall retrospective.

Pierro Taruffi used it win the 1952 Ulster Trophy, before driving it again to win at a Formula Libre event at Silverstone later that year.

Guiseppe Farina would claim the spoils in the same race a year later, while it also took podiums at Goodwood.