Innovation is part and parcel of Ferrari’s DNA. Product, process, working method: there isn’t a single area in which we are not constantly striving to deliver improvement at all levels.
Our approach to product innovation has resulted in a range of cars that are at the very leading edge in terms of technology, making the company a benchmark for the entire automotive industry. In recent years, our investments have focused on materials research, leading to the creation of the Scaglietti light alloy hub and the integration of F1 technologies into our carbon-fibre applications, electronic control systems, and active aerodynamics, all of which have reached unprecedented levels of achievement for a road car. Naturally enough, there has been plenty of development also in our powertrains, which are a more traditional part of our work. In fact, Ferrari has built its reputation on its powertrains but they have evolved not only from a performance point of view but also in terms of efficiency and usability. High pressure fuel injection, reduced internal engine friction and dual-clutch gearboxes for sports cars, being just a few examples.
Each new model brims with technological innovation, solutions that pave the way for the rest of the industry and which are often picked up by other manufacturers at a later date. The many innovations we have debuted in our 60-plus year history include steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles, which Ferrari transferred from its F1 car to its road cars. Unsurprisingly they quickly became a standard fixture on all sports cars. Given that track record, it should come as no surprise that in the decade between 2003 and 2012, Ferrari registered an impressive 150 patents, some of which were genuinely revolutionary. These included the 4RM system which allows the FF to be in four-wheel drive mode only when driving demands it, guaranteeing a light, efficient drive and the kind of sporty behaviour impossible to achieve with conventional 4WD technology. In recent years, we have been placing particular research emphasis also on weight reduction, an area in which in-depth knowledge of materials is vital.
In terms of process, we lavish great attention on the selection and treatment of our construction materials. In fact, Ferrari has been building all-aluminium cars (both bodyshell and chassis) as standard since 1999 as the latter material’s high performance lightness and stiffness guarantee a far better time-cost ratio for large scale production runs whilst still being easy to maintain. The Scaglietti aluminium hub has perfected more than 25 different alloys, some of which are being used for the first time in the automotive sector. This has led to a significant weight savings thereby boosting performances and safety.
Another of Ferrari’s focuses is on innovating its working methods and this also involves stimulating the creativity of its employees. With this in mind, we have implemented programmes designed to encourage the development of ideas and solutions that will improve our product, methods and working environment. Pole Position Evo, for instance, rewards ideas put forward by individual staff members. In 2012 alone, in fact, we received more than 3,000 suggestions for employees with a blue collar participation rate of 56%. Pit-stop, on the other hand, encourages team spirit and last year the teamwork of 108 people was recognised as part of it.