Francesco Bernoulli is a major character in Cars 2. He is selected as one of the racers to take part in the World Grand Prix, alongside his main rival Lightning McQueen. Though many thought Francesco was an antagonist at first, he is actually just rude to Lightning McQueen at certain points. By the end of the movie, he and McQueen become friends.
Creation and development
While developing a Formula One character for the film, the developing team realized that a such open-wheeled car could make much more gesture than normal cars with fenders. Director John Lasseter said: "We don't typically lift the tires off, partly because of the fender. But I thought, "Wow. To have an open wheel car, like Francesco, it gives us a lot more gestures." And so we thought, "Well this guy's going to be gesturing like crazy. Let’s make him Italian, an Italian Formula 1 car. This will be perfect.""
Bernoulli's design took four months to be finalized as the team worked out where to put the mouth and how to give an F1 car a "windshield" for the eyes. Indeed, F1 cars do not have a windshield. Additionally, they are very long. As says Character Art Director Jay Shuster, "Formula cars have long snouts, so we had to really inflate his form to get the real estate we needed." Ultimately, the eyes were placed on a sort of helmet that is integrated with the body. The mouth is at the end of a foreshortened nose, and not underneath it as originally envisioned.
The fact that Francesco, as an open-wheeled car, has his suspension visible, posed some unusual problems to the animators. According to Shuster: "Francesco was the hardest design to complete because of his exposed suspension". As supervising animator Dave Mullins said: "We always have fenders covering the wheels. So we can hide our dirty little secrets underneath the hood, because the chassis is moving around and stretching around. All you really see is the hard body of the car, and the wheels acting. With Francesco, we can see the connection between the wheels and the body. It was one of the big challenges trying to figure out how to support everything that’s going on with the body."
The original suspension had to be reinvented in order to support all the stretchings that Francesco's gestures would cause, and the team had important struggles to achieve a believable suspension. Jay Shuster said: "We realized that when he takes off his front wheels, he's stretched like a rubber band and it's really ugly. Something like that took about two months to figure out what was going on—we developed a whole telescoping arm that had a pivot point." "The kind of physical expression we were able to get from Francesco's movement took a lot of work but really looked great in the end. He was able to achieve these really extreme poses."
According to Story Supervisor Nathan Stanton, Francesco's character constantly reminded the development team of the character John Turturro played in The Big Lebowski. Consequently, John Turturro was chosen to voice Francesco.
In Cars 2, going into the summer, Francesco Bernoulli is selected by oil billionaire Sir Miles Axlerod to be one of the racecars to compete in the World Grand Prix, and is involved in an interview with Mel Dorado and Axlerod himself. Axlerod mentions that he also invited Piston Cup racer Lightning McQueen as a World Grand Prix competitor, but McQueen had been deciding to take a break after winning his fourth Piston Cup trophy. Boasting, Francesco assures Axlerod and Dorado that McQueen could not beat him anyway, because he has a higher top speed than McQueen. As Dorado receives several calls from the viewers of his show, tow truck Mater makes a call, telling them that Francesco is not to mess with McQueen, and then talks to Francesco to say that McQueen has surprises up his sleeve. At first, Francesco is impressed about Mater's saying that McQueen's break is so he could spend time with his friends, but eventually becomes annoyed when Mater assures him that he cannot be the unstoppable, as he demands for Dorado to skip to another caller. Moments later, McQueen cuts in, telling Francesco that he does not appreciate anyone making that much insults to Mater, as he is McQueen's best friend. Furthermore, McQueen insults Francesco himself by calling him a fragile car, causing Francesco to freak out and soon complain in Italian, before Dorado switches the audio to Axlerod, who asks McQueen if he shall compete in the World Grand Prix, and McQueen accepts, much to Francesco's dismay.
Not long after, Francesco and the rest of the World Grand Prix racers come to Tokyo, Japan, for the opening ceremony and race. During the opening ceremony, Francesco is spending time with a couple of his fans, and soon meets McQueen and Mater. This meeting had been planned by Mater, since he wanted to help McQueen while on the tour. Honored, Francesco lets Mater pose with him, as Mater begins to mention about a huge fan of Francesco's, who is McQueen's girlfriend Sally Carrera. With glory, Francesco and McQueen propose a toast, declaring that whoever wins in the first race tomorrow will have their victory dedicated to Sally. In addition, Francesco shows to McQueen a tag on his rear wing that says "Ciao, McQueen", supposed to be seen whenever he would leave a scene. Unbeknownst to Francesco, McQueen threatens to beat him when the race occurs. Francesco is soon involved in Axlerod's introduction of all the World Grand Prix racers to the press, and stands with them in a different part of the building as McQueen is the last one to be introduced. As soon as Mater interferes with Axlerod and McQueen after consuming a big amount of wasabi, Francesco laughs as Mater cools himself down with water from the fountain.For the race the following day, Francesco has been put in eleventh place on the grid, one place behind McQueen. As they line up on the grid, Francesco is preparing himself, then begins to hear McQueen talking to himself about having the speed to win. Responding, Francesco makes fun of McQueen by claiming he has triple speed which would make himself win. When the race starts, Francesco and McQueen make their way through the field, and get into the front before the first turn, with Francesco in the lead. However, as they come onto the dirt roads, Francesco struggles for grip, enabling McQueen and the rest of the field to get past before coming back onto the asphalt. Francesco becomes determined, attempting to pass many of the racers along the way, but is stuck behind McQueen for most of the race. Meanwhile, a couple of the racers crash out with engine blowouts, all occurring behind Francesco. On the last lap, McQueen makes a sudden move to the outside of the loop up to the Rainbow Bridge, because he is hearing random things said by Mater while someone is directing him, and this gives Francesco the opportunity to snatch the lead and win the race, which only made their rivalry grow larger.
The second race of the World Grand Prix is set to take place in Porto Corsa, Italy. It has been Francesco's favorite, since he had grown up living there, and is used to knowing the layout of the circuit. In addition, Francesco qualifies for pole position, while getting huge support from all the citizens, even from his mother, who has also come to watch him race. As the start lights go out, Francesco makes a good start to keep in front, and once again tries to make sure McQueen does not get past him. Ultimately, on the final lap, McQueen closes up to Francesco, and they go side-by-side as they head toward the finish line. To Francesco's dismay, McQueen wins the race just a couple of deciseconds ahead of him. Frustrated, Francesco begins to wonder how come he is beaten, but their argument is cut short as ambulances rush past. Wondering what has happened, Francesco and McQueen are both shocked to find that all the other racers have crashed, due to more engine blowouts. The public begins to assume that the blowouts have something to do with Allinol, which is a fuel that Axlerod invented so to try and get the whole world to switch to renewable energy, and it also leaves Axlerod devastated, announcing that for the last race in London, the racers can use any fuel of their choice.As one of them, Francesco chooses his fuel for the race, being one called "Benzina". Having qualified second, Francesco takes the lead as the race begins. However, as soon as they come through Admiralty Arch, McQueen is back in the lead, while Francesco falls back to second. Soon, Francesco is driving by himself, when a panicking Mater zooms past with rocket jets attached and McQueen holding onto him. Surprised, Francesco is worryingly beginning to wonder what is going on, just before Mater zooms off the racetrack with McQueen. Following, Francesco is still racing, when all of a sudden, secret agent Holley Shiftwell flies past with her afterburners and retractable wings, which makes Francesco alarmed and really wondering what is going on around him. It soon turns out that Mater was trying to save McQueen from a bomb, as some criminals, called lemons, were trying to kill McQueen and make the world dismiss alternative fuel, which Mater soon points out that the lemons' leader is no one other than Axlerod.
Ultimately, Francesco and the other World Grand Prix racers get invited to McQueen's hometown Radiator Springs to compete in an unofficial race taking place around Ornament Valley. Although it is just a normal race, with no press or trophy, Francesco is proud to take part. Before starting, McQueen lets him meet Sally, who is flattered by Francesco's words about McQueen being the "luckiest car in the world". Just as he is about to line up on the grid, Francesco notices that McQueen got him with using his own tag on his back bumper, saying "Ka-ciao, Francesco!" Francesco admits defeat, though believing his own was more amusing, but is not shy to suggest driving without fenders, as he feels that it would be enjoyable. As the race begins, Francesco and McQueen make it through the lead and are both calm and happy as they battle for the lead, with McQueen ultimately keeping it. Shortly, Mater joins in after his spy friends Finn McMissile and Holley allow him to have his rocket jets, and joins the field, leaving Francesco surprised once again as Mater zooms past him and challenges his best friend McQueen for the win.
Cars 2: The Video Game
In Cars 2: The Video Game, Francesco joins McQueen, Mater and all their friends at C.H.R.O.M.E. to complete spy missions and races run by the secret agents. In the "Unfriendly Competition" race, Carla Veloso and the car the player is racing as (Raoul ÇaRoule if the player is playing as her or Midnight Francesco) are challenged to a race by Francesco, who competes with a carbon fiber paint job which he calls "Midnight Francesco". Finally, everyone accomplishes every mission available, and even Francesco feels that they have all mastered the events. However, Holley is quick to say to him that he did not exactly complete the simulations, having that he would have to win every race. On the plus side, as said by Finn, he is allowed to run the simulations as much as he likes.
Being one of the characters available to play as at first, Francesco is in the medium weight class, having more speed and less power. Unlocking Midnight Francesco requires getting the "Master Tracker" crest, which the player gets by finding all twenty Spy Point Pick-ups located at different courses.
Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure
In Kinect Rush: A Disney/Pixar Adventure, he appears in the second Cars level as part of the main goal. He tells the player and Holley Shiftwell to keep off the Tokyo race course as he has a race to prepare for, only that the player and Holley were searching for a bomb that somebody planted on the course of the Tokyo Grand Prix. They see that the bomb is on Francesco, who doesn't even know about the bomb. The player has to catch Francesco and use a device to disarm the bomb before it explodes. In the ending cutscene, the player deactivates the bomb, only that when the player and Holley investigate the bomb, Francesco asks them what did they want with him. Holley explains that someone sabotaged him with the bomb, only that he's safe now, but he doesn't believe it, saying that it is ridiculous and that he is not easily fooled, before driving away saying to the player and Holley that they are just trying to get into his head, but it will never work.
In Disney Infinity, Francesco is one of the four playable characters from the Cars franchise. His exclusive adventure is Francesco's Rush, which is a race that you need to beat in a certain time to get a gold medal. His abilities are the same as the other cars, which are drifting, and an additional square to the turbo boost meter.
During the story of the Cars Play Set, after completing the "Double Back Dash" mission, he arrives at the Radiator Springs International Race Invitational hosted by Luigi. Later, Francesco challenges the player's character to a race with trick barrels scattered around the track. After Chick Hicks says to the other racers that he is plotting to win the race and that it will be the "last time you'll be seeing my grill," Francesco states to The King that he almost likes Chick and that he would have said it better. After the player wins the race, Francesco watches as Finn McMissile plans to have Chick sent to the impound lot, and leaves with Finn, The King, Ramone and Flo as they instead take Chick away to be painted red with lightning bolts.
Cars: Fast as Lightning
In Cars: Fast as Lightning, Francesco is the second-to-last character to unlock. Lightning also does a rematch against him at the last race of his track.
Francesco has made many appearances in books, most of which re-tell the story of Cars 2. He also appears occasionally in the comics, most notably in Francesco's New Look!, Francesco has decided to visit Radiator Springs, to see his friends Lightning and Mater. However, Mater accidentally swings his tow hook into Francesco's hood, giving him a tiny dent. Francesco claims that a high-media celebrity like himself could never be seen with a dent like that. He asks Ramone to fix him up, but Ramone gets carried away and gives him a flame job.
Francesco is based on a modern Formula One race car, as noted from specifications such as open wheels and a long hood. His top speed is 220 mph, with a 0-60 of 2.5 seconds. His engine is a 2.4-liter V-8, 18,500 rpm redline, with a horsepower of 750. He is painted red, white and green. He has red rims, as well as black rubber tires that read "Pasta Potenza" and "Rotelli Tires" (with "Pasta Potenza" replaced by "Rotelli Tires" in Disney Infinity).
He has brown eyes, and is painted in the colors of Italy's flag. The red color is seen on his nose cone and across the middle of his bodywork, and the green and white colors are seen on his upper bodywork, sidepods and front wing endplates. The colors are also painted on each side of his rear wing. On his nose cone, he also has a picture of the flag with yellow borders, along with a white circle showing his racing number, 1, in black. These are additionally shown on an idol on his sidepods that shows the World Grand Prix logo and symbol. On his barge boards, he has the allinol logo, as well as the letters "FR", which stand for his racing league, "Formula Racer", and look similar to the Formula One logo. Additionally, he wears black tires and red rims. On his tires, there is text reading "Rotelli Tires Pasta Potenza". In Disney Infinity, his tires just say "Rotelli Tires".
Personality and traits
Francesco started out as being cocky and self-centered, as he usually boasted about being the fastest racecar in the whole world. He was also arrogant, as shown when he believed that McQueen could not beat him in their races together, which also made Francesco self-centered. This attitude also made him slightly similar to Chick Hicks, Lightning McQueen's former persona and Jackson Storm. He even felt confident that he would win in his home country, but he was proven wrong. By the end of Cars 2, Francesco appeared to become nicer since he was shown to not be as much boastful as before, and his bitter rivalry with McQueen seemed to become a much more firendly one in the Radiator Springs Grand Prix. Francesco also often refers to himself in third-person view, saying his name and the words "he", "his" and "him", likely because he isn't fluent in english. However, he does sometimes refer to himself in first person, such as when he uses "I" and "my" while stating about being in his hometown Porto Corsa.
Francesco is a world-renowned racing champion.
For some reason, Mater can't say his name right. He's always calling him "Mr. San Francisco."
"Francesco Bernoulli grew up in the shadow of the famous Monza race course in Italy where he and his friends would sneak onto the track and race the famous Pista di Alta Velocita bank turn. He was an instant winner on the amateur circuit and soon became an international Formula Racer champion. The ladies love Francesco's open wheels, youngsters look up to his winning spirit and fellow racers envy his speed. But Francesco's biggest fan is Francesco himself, as evidenced by his racing number. As the most famous race car in Europe, #1 Francesco is a favorite to win the World Grand Prix, which also makes him Lightning McQueen’s chief rival."
Cars 2: The Video Game
"Francesco was an instant winner on the amateur Grand Prix circuit, and soon became an international Grand Prix champion and the most famous race car in Europe. Despite his ego, Francesco plays fair on the track and loves a friendly competition."
Weight class: Medium
"So sleek. So bold. Francesco dazzles the competition (and his fans) with black and gold."
On Francesco's side is a logo presenting the letters FR in a design similar to the F1 logo. It is the abbreviation of "Formula Racer", his racing league.
Francesco's tires are "Rotelli Tires Pasta Potenza". "Potenza" alludes to Bridgestone's Potenza tires, which were used by all Formula One teams from 2007 to 2010. "Pasta Potenza" would literally mean "the power of pasta". "Rotelli" is a play between Rotini, a type of pasta, and Pirelli, which is the current official F1 tire supplier. It is possibly also a reference to Italian sports cars being called "Pasta Rockets". However, in Disney Infinity, "Pasta Potenza" is replaced by a repeat of "Rotelli Tires".
Francesco, similar to Luigi, often refers to himself in the third person.
Strangely, they are both Italian.
He has similarities to Chick Hicks: they both love to win and hate second place, they are antagonistic towards McQueen's perspective but unlike Bernoulli, Hicks remains bad for the whole episode, they both have good fates (Bernoulli becomes friends with McQueen and Hicks will be an RSN announcer in Cars 3).
His pits (Porto Corsa and London) has his first name rather than having his surname like the rest of the cars.
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