What Happened On This Day May 11 In F1 History?

From Ferrari's debut into motor racing in 1947 to Michael Schumacher's domination at the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on May 21, 2024

1997 Monaco GP Michael Schumacher dominates and takes third victory in Monte Carlo
Michael Schumacher dominates at the 1997 Monaco GP and takes his third victory in Monte Carlo.

What happened on this day, May 11 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


On May 11, 1947, Ferrari made their debut in motor racing with the Tipo 125 S at the Piacenza circuit, marking Enzo Ferrari’s transition from team manager at Alfa Romeo to racing his own cars under his name. The Tipo 125 S was fast, leading the race and setting the fastest lap, but a fuel pump issue forced its driver, Franco Cortese, to retire just two laps before the finish. Nevertheless, just two weeks later, the Ferrari achieved its first race win in Rome, signalling the start of Ferrari’s rice history in motorsports.


The 1986 Monaco Grand Prix on May 11 featured a revised harbour chicane for the first time, significantly slowing down one of the fastest sections of the Monte Carlo Circuit. Dominated by the McLarens, Alain Prost won from pole position, while Keke Rosberg charged from ninth to finish second. The race pace of the front runners was highlighted when only three drivers, including Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell, finished on the same lap as the leaders.


Michael Schumacher showcased his skills in the wet by winning the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix on May 11 by a substantial 53-second margin over Rubens Barrichello. As the race began under mixed weather conditions, Schumacher tested both wet and dry set-ups during reconnaissance laps, ultimately opting for wet tyres—a decision that his championship rivals, Mika Hakkinen and Damon Hill, did not follow, choosing slicks instead. This choice proved pivotal as Schumacher took an early lead. The race saw a significant collision on the second lap, started by David Coulthard spinning, and consequently resulting in the retirement of four cars, with another eight failing to finish. Schumacher’s dominant performance marked his first win of the season, although he was later disqualified from the championship after a controversial incident with Jacques Villeneuve in the final race.


Rubens Barrichello set a record as the most experienced Formula One driver by competing in his 257th race at the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix on May 11. Despite the milestone, Barrichello struggled with understeer throughout the race and finished in 14th place in the subpar Honda RA108, not quite the celebratory performance he would have hoped for. He surpassed Riccardo Patrese’s previous record of 256 races.


Felipe Massa clinched victory on May 11 at the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix, successfully countering Lewis Hamilton‘s aggressive three-stop strategy. Despite Hamilton temporarily taking the lead, Ferrari maintained control, with Massa securing one of his six wins of the 2008 season. He would narrowly miss being crowned champion, finishing just one point behind Hamilton in Brazil.

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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