Ferrari will not make widespread use of carbonfibre in its production road cars until it better understands the material’s long-term reliability, according to company boss Amedeo Felisa.
“We will only use carbonfibre on very special cars which have a very low rate of production and which are not for everyday use, such as the new Enzo,” he said in an exclusive interview with Autocar.
Ferrari has used carbonfibre in such cars as the F50 and Enzo, but Felisa says it is not yet ready to use it across its model range. This puts it at odds with McLaren, whose MP4-12C supercar has a carbon tub. Mercedes is also committed to using carbonfibre in its cars from 2012, as is BMW from 2013.
“The fact is that nobody today has a real understanding of what happens if you damage a carbonfibre structure,” says Felisa. “After 20 or 30 years of use, who knows what state a carbonfibre structure will be in? Only the airplane industry has a long-term understanding of using carbonfibre, and there the usage is very different. Unless you have a really big accident, it is possible to repair a Ferrari today, and we don’t want to lose that.”
Felisa also hinted that the new Ferrari Enzo will be powered by a direct-injection twin-turbo V8 when it is launched in 2012.
Reports had long suggested the new Enzo would be powered by either a V8 or direct-injection twin-turbo V6. However, Felisa has ruled out a six-cylinder engine.
“There are no plans for a six-cylinder engine today,” Felisa said. “Ferrari will not build a six-cylinder engine until customer attitudes towards smaller engines change.
“The perception today is that the number of cylinders equates to the possibilities of the car. That is why we are developing hybrid technology that can be applied to our V8 and V10 cars. Hybrid means we can protect the V12.