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Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta - 1997

Overview

355 F1 Berlinetta

1997

This was the first ever road car to be equipped with the innovative F1-style gearbox management system, available on all three versions: berlinetta, GTS and spider. Derived directly from Formula 1, where it made its debut in 1989 winning the Brazilian Grand Prix, the electro-hydraulic system was operated by paddles behind the steering wheel using the F355’s conventional 6-speed manual gearbox.

Focus on

The new transmission guaranteed lightning-quick gear changes, with the additional advantage that both the driver’s hands could stay on the wheel at all times.

The design of every new Ferrari model is, by definition, heavily influenced by the Marque’s culture and experience combined with innovations developed as a result of both active experimentation and research. The result is a melding of style and engineering that delivers superb performance across the board.

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Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta - 1997
Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta - 1997

The Design

In the case of the Pininfarina-designed 355 F1, the fusion of familiar elements with more powerfully innovative ones resulted in a truly unprecedented car that guaranteed the same signature Ferrari emotions as ever. The 355 F1 was a masterful piece of engineering as its 109 hp/litre specific power output attests. The latter value and its impressive torque were achieved by adopting a new five-valve cylinder head.

The car’s 3496 cc engine punched out 380 hp. Its blistering performance figures were the result of aerodynamic honing that focused specifically on the underbody. With respect to the F355, the 355 F1 had an F1-style gearbox management system. Just like the one used for the single-seater, the electro-hydraulic system controlled the manual gearbox using sophisticated software. It was itself operated via two paddles, one on each side of the steering wheel, which meant that the driver did not have to take his hands off the steering wheel whilst changing gears either.

Body and Chassis

The two-seater 355 F1 Berlinetta had a steel and aluminium body. Its styling was moulded around an aerodynamically severe design that included a full-body undertray designed to equalise downforce (Cl) between the two axles. The cabin was designed with both safety and driving pleasure in mind. The seats and trim were Connolly leather. Composite racing seats were also available to order.

The chassis was a steel monocoque with a tubular steel rear sub-frame for the engine-suspension assembly. Both front and rear suspension used independent unequal-length wishbones and coil springs over gas-filled telescopic electronic dampers with two settings. The car also has anti-roll bars. The steering was rack and pinion with power-assist, and optional mechanical gear. The brakes had self-venting discs and excludable ABS ATE. The 18” wheel rims were magnesium.

Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta - 1997
Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta - 1997

The Engine

The mid-rear 3496 cc 90° V8 was longitudinally mounted and punched out 380 hp, giving it a specific power output of 109 hp/l. Distribution was by means of twin overhead cams with five valves per cylinder. The con rods were titanium, while the control unit was the Bosch M5.2. Dry sump lubrication and a six-speed plus reverse mechanical gearbox completed the picture along with a dry single-plate clutch. It had an F1-style gearbox management system.

An accurate selection of the high-definition key images of the 355 F1 Berlinetta. The photo gallery, with details and the most important parts, shows the distinctive features of this Ferrari model from 1997.

An accurate selection of the high-definition key images of the 355 F1 Berlinetta. The photo gallery, with details and the most important parts, shows the distinctive features of this Ferrari model from 1997.