The 640 was for Ferrari the first naturally aspirated engine in a decade, and one that was created to flush away the defeat of 1988 where McLaren won 15 out of 16 races with its McLaren MP4-4.
The car was designed by John Barnard and was mechanically advanced for its time and a visually stunning piece of engineering, with new head of engines Claudio Lombardi opting for a lightweight V12 with 4 camshafts and 5 valves per cylinder - 2 of which were for exhaust.
Teamed with it was Formula One's first ever 7-speed gearbox which though initially unreliable was far ahead of its time nonetheless, and 5 years later nearly the entire F1 field were racing 7-speed gearboxes. On top of that, it was also the debut of the semi-automatic gearbox in Formula One, with a gear change bar mounted behind the steering wheel, and the clutch pedal only used for the starts. It 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 but not used it in the end because the advanced electronics to ensure its perfect functioning were not available at the time.
Reliability of the entire package was a problem throughout the year, with Ferrari not once getting both cars to the finish. It was very very quick and when it did finish it was always on the podium, including two wins for Nigel Mansell and one for Gerhard Berger. Ferrari finished the constructors' championship in third place with 59 points.
This model has the engine cover as a component and can be removed to reveal the interior of the car.
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