Ferrari vs. McLaren

Ferrari vs McLaren logo


Enzo Ferrari


Bruce McLaren

Year Founded


Year of First Vehicle Produced

Maranello, Italy


Surrey, United Kingdom

Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships (as of 2019)


Ever since McLaren entered the racing scene in 1963, they’ve been chasing Ferrari, and these two heavyweights of the supercar world are natural competitors. If you’re considering a Ferrari or a McLaren, the vehicles are the obvious point of comparison, but the legacies of each automaker are also littered with accolades. It’s a story of racing success and engineering breakthroughs — but one automaker is more decorated than the other.


Both Ferrari and McLaren have rich histories of success on the racetrack, but the extent of the accolades differ between the two.

Ferrari got its start in 1929 as Scuderia Ferrari, which began its life as Alfa Romeo’s racing division, but it wasn’t until 1947 that Ferrari produced its first vehicle (the 125 S), thus beginning the process of becoming one of the world’s finest automakers. Since then, Ferrari has continuously pushed the limits of what’s possible on the road and track with its supercars and hypercars. And it’s the strength of Ferrari’s engineering that has played a huge role in its accolades, which include 16 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships.

McLaren got its start a bit later, being established in 1963 and producing its first vehicle (the M1A) the following year. It was 1965 when McLaren produced its first Formula One car (the M2B), which debuted at the Monaco Grand Prix that year. Since then, McLaren has earned impressive results, culminating in 8 Formula One Constructors’ Championships.

While these results are impressive, it’s literally only half of the recognition that Ferrari has earned in the Formula One world, and part of that may come down to engineering — namely, McLaren’s reliance on other automakers to supply its engines. McLaren Racing has used engines from a huge range of automakers over the years, including Ford (1966), Cosworth (1968), Honda (1988), and Mercedes (1995 – 2014), among others. While McLaren seems to be establishing more consistency with its engineering nowadays, its lack of focus over the years is ultimately reflected in its vehicles’ capabilities.

Ferrari Logo


Consider any two competing vehicles from McLaren vs. Ferrari, and the Prancing Horse is almost certainly going to offer superior performance. Consider a recent example from each automaker:

  • Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale drew headlines for its hybrid powertrain, but where it won driving enthusiasts was under the hood and on the track. The SF90 Stradale’s specs are truly impressive: its 4.0L twin-turbo V8 engine works in conjunction with three electric motors and a 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery to produce 986 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It puts all that power to good use, too: it can jump from a standstill to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 211 mph.
  • The McLaren Senna boasts the most powerful engine that McLaren Automotive has ever produced, and is, in their own words, “the personification of McLaren’s DNA at its most extreme, creating the purest connection between car and driver.” That statement reflects poorly when comparing McLaren vs. Ferrari, though, because this car’s 4.0L V8 makes 789 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque — significantly less horsepower than you’ll get from the SF90. This has real consequences on the track, too: the Senna is comparatively sluggish, taking 2.8 seconds to reach 60 mph and reaching a top speed of 208 mph.
SF90 Stradale on the track

Is McLaren Better Than Ferrari?

No, and comparing what they’ve done backs that up, whether you’re considering their lineage or the raw performance of their vehicles. McLaren cars offer world-class performance, to be sure, but Ferrari has consistently been able to push the needle further.

Ferrari F8 Tributo

Experience Ferrari for Yourself With Continental AutoSports Ferrari

If you really dig into the research when trying to decide on Ferrari or McLaren, it’s clear that, while McLaren might come close in some ways, there’s really nothing like a Prancing Horse — and we’re confident that you’ll agree once you drive a Ferrari!

Are you considering buying your own Ferrari? Continental AutoSports Ferrari is here to help, whether you’re in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, or elsewhere in the United States. Contact us today to get started.

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