Ferrari isn't shy about introducing outside-the-box ideas. Even Ferrari's first all-wheel drive system, for the FF, had to be different from every other brand's, with two separate transmissions, each handling its own axle. However, its latest patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would be one of the most interesting automotive innovations in ages: the ability to switch the driver seat to a central "monoposto" position.
CarBuzz spotted this new patent, showing a driver's seat that could slide laterally between two predetermined positions, from the left side of the car to the center (or from the right to center). The patent drawings show a sliding cockpit that's packaged with the driver's seat, steering wheel, gauge screen, and pedal box.
To do this, naturally, all of the car's controls—steering, braking, and throttle—would need to be "by-wire," without any physical connection. At the moment, the only vehicle on sale without any physical connection between its driver controls and corresponding components is the Tesla Cybertruck. Even current cars with steer-by-wire still have physical steering columns. But that wouldn't be possible if the steering wheel were able to slide across the cabin.
Why have a sliding driver's seat? The better question is why not? The ability to drive in a more normal seating position with a passenger or in a central seating position while alone, or even on track, would be incredible. It's unclear how the passenger seat would fit but it might need to be set back a bit further, similar to the two passenger seats in the McLaren F1 and GMA T.50. Or maybe the passenger seat slides when the driver moves to a central position? The side mirrors also automatically adjust to saved presets, depending on which position the driver's seat is in.
Ferrari isn't the only brand to come up with such an idea, though. Audi had a similar tech back in 2018 when it debuted the PB18 e-tron concept at Pebble Beach. That car had a driver's seat that would slide from left to center as well but it was admittedly just a concept and never reached production.
Hopefully, Ferrari can actually put this technology into production because it would be awesome. There isn't a need for it but sometimes we need to invent things just because they're fun. Can you imagine opening the door of your Ferrari, sitting in your seat, then pressing a button, and having your seat slide into the center of the car, as your mirrors adjust for you? That feeling alone would be worth whatever astronomical cost Ferrari charges for it.
Got tips? Send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org