Can you name the Ferrari driver who has driven the most number of different Formula 1 cars for the celebrated Italian firm?
Michael Schumacher, you might say. He was at Maranello for a long time. Or maybe Rubens Barrichello? Or perhaps it was Gerhard Berger…
The answer might come as a bit of a surprise because it is a name that the majority of F1 fans have probably never heard before: Andrea Bertolini. He has tested every type of Ferrari F1 car from 1974 to the present day – with the one exception being the 126 C2, the car which won the 1982 Constructors’ title, but missed the Drivers’ title because of the death of Gilles Villeneuve and the crash that maimed Didier Pironi. In total, Bertolini has tested more than 350 different Ferrari F1 cars.
He shakes them down after they come in for maintenance and sets them up for the customers who have bought them. Bertolini began his career as a Ferrari apprentice at 17 and has spent his entire career with Ferrari at Maranello. He has enjoyed on-track success with Ferrari works GT cars, although he began as a humble mechanic, working on a test bench and racing karts as much as he could in his spare time. This drew him to the attention of Dario Benuzzi, Ferrari’s chief test driver and he learned the skills required for the role from Benuzzi.
Benuzzi is another man whose F1 involvement has not been fully recognised. He has never raced, but joined Ferrari as a mechanic in 1971 and was soon working in the prototype division and became a test driver under the watchful eye of Roberto Lippi. He has been developing road cars since then, but he was also the primary Ferrari F1 test driver from the late 1980s (after the departure of Johnny Dumfries) until 1993, when Nicola Larini took over the role.
Benuzzi handed over his production car testing role to Raffaele de Simone in 2013.