John Barnard on working for Enzo Ferrari, engineering Schumacher, and his best F1 innovations

1990:  Ferrari chief designer John Barnard. \ Mandatory Credit: Pascal Rondeau

This week’s guest on F1's official podcast, Beyond The Grid, can stake a claim to shaping all modern F1 cars, for not only was John Barnard responsible for introducing the now ubiquitous carbon fibre chassis to F1, he also was the brains behind the semi-automatic gearbox that is now an integral part of every Grand Prix car.

On this week’s show the former Ferrari and McLaren technical director gives us an eye-opening look into the development of both of these innovations, as well as describing what it was like to negotiate setting up a Ferrari factory in the UK with Enzo Ferrari, and the remarkable story of how he discouraged Ayrton Senna from joining Benetton…

Ferrari 640, Grand Prix of Monaco, Circuit de Monaco, 07 May 1989. Steering wheel and dashboard of

Barnard introduced the semi-automatic paddleshift gearbox to F1 in 1989 with the Ferrari 640. It won on debut... (Photo by Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images)

Oh, and he also discusses in detail Michael Schumacher's first test for Ferrari at the end of 1995. Michael would go on to win three races in the Barnard-designed F310 in 1996. You can read all about that car here, and be sure to join our livestream of the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix victory at 1800 UTC on Wednesday, as we remember Schumacher's first victory in red.

You can listen to the full episode using the player below, or via your favourite podcast app.

This feature is currently not available because you need to provide consent to functional cookies. Please update your

To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to Beyond The Grid via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app and you'll have a new episode delivered to your device every Wednesday.



Coming Up

Coming Up


RACE START: Watch the getaway from Imola as Verstappen fends off the McLarens and Ferraris