The key to Ferrari’s creation of a vehicle that can truly be considered as close as possible to a road-going F1 car is its use of carbonfibre. To this end, it has employed former F1 designer Rory Byrne, who was responsible for cars that won 11 world championships in motorsport’s highest category, to lead its chassis development.
Byrne says that the F150 has the most advanced chassis structure ever conceived for a road car. He has drawn on four different types of carbonfibre material to ensure that it meets the brief of being light, stiff and strong enough to deliver the performance and crash test structures demanded by the project.
At its highest level, the carbonfibre is of a grade now banned in F1 for cost reasons but still used in high-risk businesses such as nuclear reactor construction. As a result of using these materials in key areas of the chassis, it has already been revealed that the F150 has 27 per cent more torsional rigidity and 22 per cent more vertical beam stiffness than the Enzo.
“We can use different forms of carbonfibre according to the loads on areas of the chassis, ensuring strength where we need it but never more than we need,” said Byrne. “We have evaluated what the requirements are for each part of the car — weight saving, high stiffness,and so on — and been able to apply different types of carbonfibre accordingly. No other car manufacturer has been able to do this.”
Byrne’s comments are a direct reference to the McLaren P1, which was unveiled at the Paris show in September and which uses the same carbonfibre structure as the McLaren MP4-12C. The P1 is not considered by Ferrari to use carbonfibre composites as advanced as those it will introduce.
McLaren has so far declined to comment on these suggestions, preferring instead to reinforce its belief that the P1 will be the ‘ultimate driver’s car’ when it is revealed next year in its finalised production form.
Other inspirations for the F150 include the Ferrari FXX programme, which used an Enzo-based chassis to create a track-only car for well heeled customers.
The programme ran from 2005 to 2009. Changes to the base car included a larger 6.3-litre engine, a power output of 789bhp and an F1-derived gearshift section, which lowered shift times to below 100ms.
Since the Enzo-based programme ended, Ferrari has applied the FXX treatment to other cars in its range and employed lessons learned from customer feedback to its other road cars. However, unlike with the F150, FXX customers are only allowed to drive on track and all the cars remain under Ferrari’s control.