A History of Ferrari F1 Nomenclature - by Graham Easter


During the row with Ford Tony Cotton pointed out that if Ferrari had adopted a logical numbering sequence for their cars like Dallara do then the 1950 275 F1 would have been the F150. This led me to have a look at Ferrari F1 nomenclature through the ages.

The first F1 tipo, the 1948 125’s number was based on individual cylinder capacity i.e. 1500cc/12.  This system held until 1952 and the F2 500, but in 1953 there came along the 553.  This too was a 2 litre 4 cylinder, so could its number have come from ‘500cc’ and 1953? This car was also called the ‘Squalo’ (shark) because it looked like one, not because its handling was so twitchy it bit its driver, which it sometimes did.  In 1954 there was a reversion to the earlier system with the 2.5 litre F1 625, but then in 1955 came the 555 Super Squalo.  Also 4 cylinders, but 2.5 litres, surely that should have been the 655?  However it was definitely nothing to do with early fag advertising.

From 1955-1957 there were the various Lancia D50 derivatives, but these ended with the 801, meaning 8 cylinders F1?  In 1958 we got the Ferrari Dino 156 (1.5 litre, 6 cylinder) which, although it was an F2 car, did compete in 3 GPs. This form of naming held sway through to 1980 and we got some sexy suffixes, like 156 Aero (construction, not chocolate) and 312T (transversale gearbox) as well as some nice logical ones like 312B3. Then in 1980 there came the 126 (1.5litre), 120 degree V6?   It too had some sexy suffixes like 126CK (Corsa, KKK turbo).  

In 1985, for one year only, Ferrari sort of went back to the old system with the 156/85, after which we got the F1-86 etc series although the ’89, ’90 and ’91 cars were also known as the 640, 641 and 642.  In ’92 and ’93 we had the F92, F92AT and err F93A, with presumably the ‘F’ standing for Ferrari.  In '94 and '95 we had the 412; it did have 12 cylinders but was 3.5 litres not 4.0. In '96 and '97 the earlier system returned briefly with the 310 and 310B, but in '98 we got the 300, the first of the Brawn/Byrne cars. There was the 399 in '99, then the F1-2000 in 2000.

Things settled down with the F2001 until the end of the V10 era with the F2005 the last.  In 2006 for the first 2.4 V8 it reverted to the ’58-‘80 system – ish (248F1). Next year was the F2007 followed by F2008 and F2009.  In 2009 we got the F60 "to celebrate Ferrari's participation in all 60 editions of the F1 World Championship since 1950".

Last year we had the F10 and this year we've had the F150, F150th Italia and 150° Italia before the season even starts! Mind you, the latest Ferrari F1 monoposto could also easily have been a 300 F1, 311, 248F, 908, 248/11, F1-11, F11, 308, 248, 240, 2411, F1-2011, F2011, 248F1, or F62.

To finish where we started, if the 275 F1 had been the F150 then Ferrari wouldn't have had all that aggro with Ford. Also the 275 could have been the 99° Italia, but I don't think Enzo was considering going into politics....

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