That weight means the SF90 despite its superior power output actually has a worse power to weight ratio than did the LaFerrari five years ago. But around Fiorano (and again with all lightweight options fitted and, crucially, super sticky (and optional) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R tyres fitted, it is at least a second quicker. And that’s a very short lap.
The numbers are ridiculous. Remember when a 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds was the mark of a properly fast car? Well give the SF90 that amount of time to accelerate and you’ll be going over twice as quickly, 124mph to be precise. Zero to sixty takes just 2.5 very uncomfortable, bewildering and disorienting seconds.
Like all V8 Ferraris in history (save that fitted to the Lancia Thema 8.32 for trivia fans) the SF90 has a flat-plane crankshaft, giving a hard, urgent voice as the revs rise. It’s not a beautiful sound at all, like that of a V12, but you won’t mistake its purpose.
As for how the car handles, it really is up to you and this is where the SF90 is at its most clever. It defaults to Sport mode, which is probably what most people will use on the road most of the time. It actually feels quite docile as the throttle response is soft and the stability systems ready to jump on the slightest sign of slip. But on the track it’s too intrusive.
So you select race mode whereupon it instantly become another car altogether, sharp and responsive yet still capable of smoothing the rough edges off your driving. It takes you right to the limit but not over, which is why most drivers will be quickest in this mode.
You need to be a bit brave to switch the little manettino dial one more click clockwise, because that disables the traction control. At which point at least at track speeds, the SF90 oversteers. Everywhere. This will undoubtedly get your attention; indeed if you are of a somewhat nervous disposition, it is possible it will frighten you witless. But there is no need: even as you’re piling on the opposite lock, the SF90 is almost certainly in far better control of the situation than you. You just need a bit of faith, keep your foot down and it will let you drift and drift and drift, while applying just enough in the way of background countermeasures to ensure that even though you may actually have run out of opposite lock and talent, still the car will not spin.
But it’s not done yet. There is another click, which is called ESC-off, but which might more accurately be entitled ‘you’re on your own, chum’. And then the SF90 is a complete animal. If you’re going to hang onto it you need to be quick-witted, clear headed and completely on top of your game, which is probably already at a level beyond that reached by most.
And it’s good that it gives you the choice. And with a Ferrari that choice should always to be challenged by it and, my goodness, the SF90 does that.
Less commendable is the slightly dead feeling of the steering and brake pedal. The former now has an electric rack and it shows, as does the mass of the car. The latter is entirely brake by wire, and that’s how it feels.