Ferrari races on circuits all around the world, as it competes in the Formula 1 World Championship, but one track, which does not feature on the race calendar is of paramount importance to the Scuderia. It is of course Fiorano, which was built in 1971, on a plot of land adjacent to the Maranello factory. In a very short time, it proved its worth, providing the opportunity to test developments on the car, simply by crossing the road from the factory. It is used for developing and evaluating both the Formula 1 cars and the road vehicles.
Ferrari is the only constructor which has two permanent tracks at its disposal, the other being Mugello, where not only are the F1 and road cars tested, but also, it can host races for owners, as well as giving them the opportunity to perfect their driving skills at the wheel of a road car.
Built in record time - just a few months -the Fiorano track is fitted with a closed circuit television system and installations to monitor telemetry as well as electronic timing. The track was originally three kilometres in length. It was modified in 1996, turning a hairpin into a faster corner. The changes reduced the overall length by 24 metres, so that its current length is 2.976 km. The average speed of the Formula 1 cars exceeds 180 km/h, with a top speed of around 300 km/h. The track also has a very twisty nature with corners accounting for 1637 metres of its length. The track is very useful therefore for shakedowns and testing prior to racing on circuits like Monaco. The track designers also tried to reproduce some of the different corner types encountered on the world championship trail; for example, Rascasse in Monaco or Brunnchen at the Nurburgring, as well as different radius corners which put the chassis under severe strain. There is also a steering pad to help development of tyres for the GT cars.
Fiorano represents a "first "in Formula 1 terms, which instantly proved its worth, both because it offered the possibility for long and intensive test sessions and also because of its proximity to the factory. Of the many drivers who benefited from the facility, one can single out Niki Lauda, who spent many days testing there or Gilles Villeneuve who, between 1977 and '82 covered tens of thousands of kilometres, using the track almost every day.
Even today, within the current F1 testing restrictions, the Fiorano track continues to play a vital role in the success of the Maranello marque. The team's official test driver, Luca Badoer, seems to spend almost every day at the circuit, while the Scuderia's race drivers, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello are regularly called on to test their cars at Fiorano. Activity at the track has become such a normal feature of everyday life in Maranello, that fans and passers-by regularly park their own cars on the road around the circuit to watch the Prancing Horse drivers go through their paces.