Derived directly from Formula 1, where it made its debut in 1989 winning the Brazilian Grand Prix, the electro-hydraulic system was operated by paddles behind the steering wheel using the F355′s conventional 6-speed manual gearbox.
The new transmission guaranteed lightning-quick gear changes, with the additional advantage that both the driver’s hands could stay on the wheel at all times.
The factors that made the F355 such a successful model made the transition unaltered to the Pininfarina-styled 355 F1 Spider: a very elastic 380 hp engine with five valves per cylinder, 109 hp/litre specific power output, 4.7-second 0 a 100 km/h sprinting and 37 Kgm of torque. With respect to the F355 Spider, the 355 F1 Spider had an F1-style gearbox management system.
Just like the one used for the single-seater, the electro-hydraulic system controlled the manual gearbox using sophisticated software. It was itself operated via two paddles, one on each side of the steering wheel, which meant that the driver did not have to take his hands off the steering wheel whilst changing gears either.
The mid-rear 3496 cc 90° V8 was longitudinally mounted and punched out 380 hp, giving it a specific power output of 109 hp/l. Distribution was by means of twin overhead cams with five valves per cylinder. The con rods were titanium, while the control unit was the Bosch M5.2. Dry sump lubrication and a six-speed plus reverse mechanical gearbox completed the picture along with a dry single-plate clutch. It had an F1-style gearbox management system.