As with most Ferraris, styling credit for the F50 goes to the Italian firm
of Pininfarina. Engineering function was a priority, with considerable attention paid
to the effects of aerodynamics. At 200+ mph, power robbing wind resistance must be kept
to a minimum and the lift and downforce factors optimized so that drag is minimized,
yet the car stays safely on the road.
The rear wing (left) is more than a styling gimmick; it functions to keep the rear
firmly on the ground. Ferrari claims that 2,000+ hours of wind tunnel research
went into the design of the F50. The hood openings, (right) which occupy almost the entire
top front of the car, offer a path for the air to exit the front mounted radiator (every bit as important a consideration
as intake). Side intake (bottom) directs air to a set of engine oil coolers.
Accomplishing the function of allowing the car to go fast by catering to the laws of aerodynamics
is only part of the job. It also has to look special. Here the F50 also succeeds even by supercar
standards. It is distinctive in that it does not look like any other Ferrari, yet it still looks
like a Ferrari. It commands respect without intimidating the viewer. And it moves the spirit.