In 1959, in an effort to squeeze the best possible performance out of the F1 car’s V6, its capacity was increased to 2.5 litres, the maximum permitted by regulations, giving rise to the 256. Apart from the engine, another difference from the 246 was the fitting of disc brakes. These had been experimented with in 1958, but were only adopted definitively in 1959.

Having lost their best drivers, Ferrari took on Tony Brooks, who reached second place in the final rankings behind Australian Jack Brabham in the Cooper-Climax. The cars from Maranello, which still used front mounted engines, began to have difficulty keeping pace with the rear engined English cars. Brooks, battling for the championship right up to the last race, won in France and Germany. The Maranello constructor was certainly not helped by a strike which forced it to withdraw from the British Grand Prix, on a track where Ferrari had taken the first two places only a few weeks beforehand at the Aintree 200.

Type front, longitudinal 65° V6
Bore/stroke 86 x 71 mm
Unitary displacement 412.42 cc
Total displacement 2474.54 cc
Compression ratio 9.8 : 1
Maximum power 217 kW (295 hp) at 8600 rpm
Power per litre 119 hp/l
Maximum torque -
Valve actuation twin overhead camshafts per bank, two valves per cylinder
Fuel feed three Weber 45 DCN carburettors
Ignition two spark plugs per cylinder, twin magnetos
Lubrication dry sump
Clutch multi-plate
Frame tubular steel
Front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension de Dion, twin radius arms, co-axial springs and telescopic shock absorbers
Brakes discs
Transmission 5-speed + reverse
Steering rack-and-pinion
Fuel tank capacity 167 litres
Front tyres 5.50 x 16
Rear tyres 7.00 x 16