Eric Gallina

Ferrari’s Flavio Manzoni on the Design of LaFerrari

We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Flavio Manzoni on many occasions before, and one thing that strikes us is how humble, outgoing and genuine he is. The fact that he’s Ferrari’s design director — and therefore the man behind the creation of these mythical four-wheeled hypercars — hasn’t changed him; he’s still as grounded as ever and creating beautiful designs.

So it was without hesitation that, following the unveiling of the LaFerrari at the 2013 Geneva motor show, we went to visit Manzoni in Ferrari’s hometown of Maranello, Italy, to find out a bit more about the creation of the fabled Enzo successor.

Flavio Manzoni took us around the design of the car, explaining how three concepts were initially chosen — two designed in-house and one by Pininfarina (from May 2011). The two concepts from Ferrari Design were ultimately selected and, after a round of adjustments on the two concepts, one of the proposals was finally given the green light for production.

While in Maranello, Manzoni showed us two clay models — the ‘Manta’ and ‘Tenso-struttura’ — and explained how they depict a variation of ideas developed by both the Pininfarina team and Ferrari’s in-house team.

Ferrari senior designer Werner Gruber works on a clay model of the LaFerrari
Designer Werner Gruber tapes a line on a full-size model of the Ferrari LaFerrari

As can be expected, Ferrari’s designers explored many different themes for the body, lamps and aerodynamic elements while engineers developed technical solutions. The front wing on the Manta model can be extended hydraulically, just as the rear spoiler of the production car, for example. This aerodynamic solution to keep the supercar firmly planted at speed was ultimately dropped because it added too much weight to the front. A passive system was developed instead.

Weight was also an issue with the bodyside treatment on the half-painted clay model. The asymmetrical model’s driver and passenger side feature different variations the production car’s fenders, doors and rocker panels. The different forms — intended to guide air toward the rear intakes through deep channels — were an integral part of the door. They were also deemed too heavy and revised for production.

Watch the video above to hear Manzoni describe the process behind the selection of the models that made the first round, those that went on to full-scale development, and hear why the ultimate design was selected.

Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni reviews an alternative of the LaFerrari with senior designer Werner Gruber
Werner Gruber and design director Flavio Manzoni discuss the design of the LaFerrari around a painted full-size model

To see these proposals in more detail, visit our previous article and check out the full-scale Manta, Tenso-struttura and the final clay model in our photo gallery.


Founded in 2012, Form Trends tirelessly covers the automotive design industry in all corners of the globe to bring you exclusive content about cars, design, and the people behind the products.