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F1 Critical for Ferrari


 

Think of Formula One racing as “the advance part of our R&D department,” said Amedeo Felisa, the Italian automaker’s general manager and number-two executive. Ferrari may not be dominating the sport like it did earlier in the decade, but F1 is the source of many of the company’s technical innovations, said Felisa, and will likely become even more important in the future. The new F599 GTB Fiorano is a case in point, with critical components such as the transmission F1-derived. The development of tomorrow’s products has become even more demanding, with a focus on efficiency, rather than pure, brute muscle, explained Felisa, which means lighter weight, better mileage, more output per liter of engine displacement, and “that is what Formula One is doing.”

 

At a time when many automakers are struggling to maintain market momentum, Ferrari faces quite a different challenge. It is struggling to reduce a sales backlog that is averaging around two years, even more for hot new products, such as the F599, the Italian executive said during an interview at the Los Angeles auto show. Demand is only growing faster as the company expands into new markets, such as China and Russia . But Ferrari will not simply ramp up its production capacity as that would go against one of its most cherished principles. “Exclusivity,” stressed Felisa, is the number-one “golden rule.” And as such, the supercar maker will limit its rate of growth to no more than five to ten percent annually, he said.


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