HOME 355 F1


from Formula 1 to the F 355

On Formula 1 cars the aims of electro-hydraulic gear and clutch systems with controls on the wheel are:

to speed up gear changing;

protection against over-revving caused by gear-change errors;

to enable gear changing without releasing the accelerator, so reducing dead time connected with control of the engine by the driver;

to allow gear changing without taking the hands off the wheel particularly important when cornering;

to guarantee greater driving precision, particularly advantageous on fast corners.

Volante Volante
The combination of an electro-hydraulic gearbox, controls on the steering wheel and the absence of a clutch, prevents changes to the car's set-up that may otherwise occur during manual lever manoeuvres. The adoption of the F1-type power train management on a road car guarantees similar benefits both in terms of performance and safety. More specifically:

it guarantees that times for changing up and down through the gears are reduced;

in whatever set-up and driving conditions the required gear can be engaged without either taking the hands off the wheel or operating the clutch;

it is not possible to avoid engaging intermediate gears during rapid changing down manoeuvres;

it is possible to change gear while cornering without modifying the set-up of the car.

Principles and technical background

The principles at the heart of the servo-assisted gear-clutch system on the Formula 1 312 T2 in 1978 were:

speed of gear change;

concentration on driving;

simplification of clutch control and body construction;


Testing carried out in co-operation with Magneti Marelli for the electronics and Bendix for the hydraulics was abandoned in order to prevent risks of failure in races during the experimental phase. The original design was much too premature for the times. Development of the possibilities offered by electronics in the past decade led to a test phase for the system during March 1988 on the 638B car. The debut was followed by 12 months of development.

At the beginning of the 1989 season Ferrari lined up with two F1-89s fitted with electro-hydraulically controlled transmission systems which, from that moment onward, were adopted. Since the technical team responsible for developing the transmission on Formula 1 cars has continued to develop the system, bearing in mind specific aims of a Grand Prix car: rapidity and precision, reliability compatible with the duration of a Grand Prix race, limited dimensions and weights.

Motore Motore

Adapting this system for production cars imposes a series of constraints of differing complexity: from the need to limit the cost, to driving in the most varied climatic and use conditions. Furthermore, the fact that not all customers necessarily have the experience had to be taken into account. Transferring features tested in racing cars to road cars is part of Ferrari's mission.

Starting from this and other constraint, the application of the "F1-type transmission" for road cars was developed. Studies towards adopting the F1-type transmission on the F 355 have made it possible to transfer to customers benefits that drivers demand in races, plus a whole series of other important advantages in the daily use of the car, such as:

professional driver-level performance when starting and changing gear under all conditions;

improved performance on mixed road conditions: the driver is able to concentrate on driving without taking his hands off the wheel and without needing to use the clutch, thus ensuring enormous benefits in terms of safety;

increased mechanical reliability, such as the possibilities of engaging the wrong gear are eliminated;

improved comfort by eliminating the clutch pedal;

the possibility of using the gearbox in fully automatic mode without penalising fuel consumption; a negative factor normally associated with the reduced mechanical efficiency of conventional automatic transmissions;

increased driving safety in low and very poor grip conditions, thanks to a specifically designed software function.

Testing on the road took two years and was performed in all possible climatic conditions. It involved the co-operation of Magneti Marelli, the same partner involved in the development programme for the system's use in Grand Prix racing.


Origins of the design

Technology applied to road use

Guidelines for use