Musings on the Motoring World

Ferrari’s F8 Tributo is a placeholder for the company’s next-gen cars

A new Ferrari usually comes around once in a blue moon, but even the more diehard of Tifosi were certainly surprised by the introduction of the new F8 Tributo, though not for reasons of witnessing a new Ferrari. Even though Ferrari will always proclaim every new Ferrari as brand spanking new, the more eagle-eyed observers would have noticed that the Tributo is based on its predecessor, the 488 GTB, which itself was based on the 458 that first debut in 2009.

The more catastrophically boring of fans, yours truly, would immediately point out that Ferrari is stepping out of tradition with the Tributo as their platforms are usually used for two model cycles before being completely replaced. The 355 was based on the 348, the 430 was closely related to the 360 Modena, and likewise, the Tributo’s bones were first seen on the 458 Italia. By right the 488 Pista would have been the end of the 458’s family, but here we are in 2019 with the Tributo.

Not like true fully-paid up Tifosi would mind it one bit, the Tributo’s engineering changes represents a significant leap over the 488 GTB. Ferrari’s engineers have generously endowed the Tributo with the 488 Pista’s 530kW 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 and downforce generating front S-duct.

The body itself has been fine tuned to eke out a 10 per cent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, weight slashed by another 40kg over the 488 GTB, and the F40-inspired slotted Lexan rear engine screen is guaranteed to send fans into fits of ecstasy. Aside from the mechanical changes, the Tributo is said to sport new electronic driver aids, revised controls in the cabin, and a better infotainment system.

Thankfully, for the more pedantic of fans, Road & Track managed to get an answer from Ferrari at the Tributo’s launch at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show on their insistence to continue to stick with the 458’s template. Despite Ferrari is busying themselves with a new hybrid-powertrain and two new vehicle platforms. The report states that the new mid-engine platform is designed to accommodate the new hybrid-V8 and its product will feature a more track-oriented bent and sit above the Tributo’s current position as an everyday mid-engine supercar for the road. The new mid-engine platform is also develop concurrently with Ferrari’s new front-engine platform that will underpin the upcoming Puroangue SUV.

With so much time and resources being tied up with their next-generation projects, Ferrari has wisely gone ahead with merely updating the 488 to meet the refreshed challengers from Lamborghini and McLaren, rather than commit more resources towards making an all-new platform that may be quickly superseded by the upcoming hybrid-V8.

Furthermore, the Tributo won’t be just a flash in the pan either, as it will be expected to continue on Ferrari’s full four-year lifecycle. So it is certainly another chapter to the 458’s lineage. All said and done, there is nothing wrong with breaking from an inconsequential tradition that only eggheads seem to be aware of. Even if it is ultimately a placeholder, seeing the level of excitement surrounding it and its technical improvements, it certainly is one hell of a placeholder.

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