MARANELLO, Italy – Ferrari S.p.A. wants more technical innovation from Formula One racing to be applied to its production cars, despite current rules strongly limiting the transfer of such technology between the two.
"In the past, we took the first automated manual transmission from Formula One for our production cars, as well as a completely-sealed floor pan, an electronic controlled differential and we will soon take the KERS (the so-called kinetic energy recuperation system, basically a performance-boosting system similar in its function to a fuel-saving gasoline-hybrid system)," Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
While aerodynamic technology is a central part of F1 development, almost nothing of current racing car aerodynamics can be transferred to production cars, which have to respect pedestrian impact and other safety rules, Montezemolo said.
"In today's Formula One, aerodynamics accounts for 90 percent of the result and we are not an aerospace company," he told ANE.
The automaker currently employs a team equivalent in number to a medium size company in its F1 wind tunnel.
In a move to reduce costs, current F1 rules have frozen the development of new engines since 2007, and ensured that a single engine management system has been provided to all racing teams by one supplier since 2008.
But a change in rules will allow a new powertrain, together with a new set of technical regulations, to be effective from the 2013 racing season.
The new powertrain will involve a change from the current 2.4-liter V8 engines to 1.6-liter turbo V6 units.
The costs involved in such a change could be well over 50 million euros, Ferrari estimates.
"I'm convinced that the current V8s could still have a use, as they have some room to improve their performance. Making brand-new engines does not seem to be a truly effective cost-cutting measure," Montezemolo said.
The CEO added that Formula One is the only sport which prevents track tests during the racing season, limiting the number of testing days to just 15.
The measure, introduced to cut costs in 2009, was partly bypassed by the major racing teams, which built sophisticated driving simulators to allow driver training and the development of new talent.