Few aspects of electronic Grand Prix car systems have been so studied and refined as traction control. Traction control uses electronics to compare the car’s speed with the rate at which the drive wheels are turning, to detect whether there is any slip between tyre and road. If slip is detected beyond a desirable minimum, the traction control system intervenes to prevent excessive wheel spin.
In its 599 GTB Fiorano, Ferrari was the first to introduce Formula 1 traction control into a road car. Known as F1-Trac, it was applied to the 599 in 2006 by a dedicated team, established to transfer the relevant technology from the Racing Division to production cars. Instead of simply switching on and off, F1-Trac uses predictive software to give more delicate, refined control of drive-wheel spin. It also provides more subtle drive-torque control in wet or icy conditions.
When the car’s manettino is set in ‘RACE’ position, F1-Trac can improve acceleration out of corners by 20%, giving a 1.5 second lap-time advantage at Fiorano over conventional traction control. At the ultimate manettino setting the F1-Trac is turned off, giving the 599’s driver complete control.