The good folks over at designboom recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ferrari‘s Senior Vice President of Design, Flavio Manzoni to talk about the inspirations behind the F12 Berlinetta. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, the car was awarded the Compasso d’Oro, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards, as the vehicle was the most powerful Ferrari road car ever built at the time of launch. Manzoni’s accolades include design work on some of the company’s most iconic products such as the 430 Scuderia and 458 Italia. Check out excerpts from the interview below and head over to Design Boom for the full article.
DB: What was the inspiration for the F12berlinetta?
FM: The concept of the car is to be found in the essential values of the classic ferrari front-engined V12 2-seater coupé. pure, efficient, aerodynamic, lightweight. the fastback proportions with the rearward position of the cockpit work perfectly with the long bonnet and low overall height. the forward slant of several lines in the side view confer it additional purposefulness and character. There was no straight inspiration from the past when we set out to design the F12, but if there is one Ferrari Berlinetta which I admire and which helped us set the tone, it would be the 250 GT SWB. there is an unmatched balance in that car between a clean volume, elegant lines, simple yet full surfaces, pronounced muscle, fantastic stance and proportions which define an ideal formula still worth aiming for today.
DB: How do elements from formula one directly influence the design of Ferrari vehicles?
FM: I would say formula one influence is generally more subtle than your question suggests. Of course, if you take the example of the F12 Berlinetta’s central rear fog light, it is a direct re-interpretation of a formula one detail, which I think adds a nice touch, as it fits very well with the design of the rear diffuser. But such direct citations are the exception more than they are the rule. it’s more a case of our design language sharing, for example, the general philosophy of carefully shrink-wrapping smooth surfaces closely over the mechanical parts to generate a very efficient and slippery skin. You will also notice that, contrary to formula one, we integrate aerodynamic functions on the bodywork as seamlessly as possible. on a sports car like the F12 Berlinetta, surfaces are sculpted carefully in function of air flow with an aim to avoid the need for any appendages. such appendages are more suited for what we call special models, like our track-oriented XX programme. what we share with F1 is also methodology – in other words, the way we approach the aerodynamic design of our models, with extensive use of CFD software developed by the F1 team as well as fine-tuning in the wind tunnel.
DB: How would you describe the design process at Ferrari?
FM: The creation of a new Ferrari is always a very special occasion. We go searching after a shape which can capture and transmit the very essence of the brand. This represents a challenge to ourselves, while in doing this our mind is turned towards future scenarios. In practical terms, the design ideas are expressed very freely at first, then quickly we seek a first convergence with the aerodynamic engineers to select the concepts which seem to have more potential for development. The general design process is not dissimilar to that of other automotive design studios, but I would say the development of aerodynamic concepts takes center stage early on and on the F12 Berlinetta is an example of the positive effect this can have on the design. we are available to develop innovative and highly original solutions like the aero bridge (between the bonnet and wing) which add value to the overall design.