The new single-seater was first known as the 640 after its design number, and finally debuted as the F1-89 in the 1989 season. At its wheel was a new driver, Nigel Mansell, who joined Berger at the Scuderia. Ferrari won three times and took third in the Constructors’ with 59 points. The F1-89 hailed the return of the normally aspirated 12-cylinder and in a major first for Formula 1, also had a gear change bar mounted behind the steering wheel. Nigel Mansell won his debut race for Ferrari at Interlagos, and then headed the pack across the line again at Budapest. The Scuderia’s third win came from a Gerhard Berger at Estoril. McLaren took both titles home once again that year, with Alain Prost winning the Drivers’ for them.

The semi-automatic gearbox was Barnard’s solution to the problem of the long manual actuation mechanism, but it was Ferrari that actually developed the system, having worked on a similar idea 10 years before. The latter had not been used in the end because the advanced electronics to ensure its perfect functioning were not available at the time. The new gearbox and communications difficulties with Barnard who was working from England dragged out the car’s development. However, when it finally did emerge, it was seen by the other constructors as a shining example of superb engineering and aerodynamics, the latter thanks to its extremely clean-looking form.

Nigel Mansell
Gerhard Berger


Type rear, longitudinal 65° V12
Bore/stroke 84 x 52.6 mm
Unitary displacement 291.49 cc
Total displacement 3497.96 cc
Compression ratio 11.5 : 1
Maximum power 441 kW (600 hp) at 12,500 rpm
Power per litre 172 hp/l
Valve actuation twin overhead camshafts per bank, five valves per cylinder
Fuel feed Weber-Marelli electronic indirect injection
Lubrication dry sump
Clutch multi-plate


Frame Kevlar and carbon-fibre composite monocoque
Front suspension independent push-rod, torsion bar springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension independent push-rod, twin wishbones, coil springs over horizontally-mounted telescopic shock absorbers
Brakes discs
Transmission electro-hydraulic 7-speed + reverse
Steering rack-and-pinion
Fuel tank capacity 192 litres
Front tyres 25.0-10.0-13
Rear tyres 26.0-15.0-13
Ferrari historical events