Allison: To build the engine and chassis together is a nice advantage

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By Olivier Ferret

20 December 2013 - 10:16
Allison: To build the engine and (...)

One of the Scuderia’s strong points when it comes to taking on the challenge of 2014 comes from the fact that the power unit and the car to which it will be fitted, are developed together, symbolically under the same roof. In fact, Ferrari is the only team which, since 1950, has year after year been able to make the most of this situation, which only occasionally has it shared with other constructors. The Scuderia’s Technical Director, James Allison is well aware of that fact, as he has first hand experience of what it means for a designer to be in both the situation enjoyed by Ferrari and also that of the majority of the Prancing Horse’s competitors.

“Being able to build the engine and chassis together is definitely a nice advantage for Ferrari,” said James at the presentation of the 059/3. “Other teams cannot do the same and this year, like never before, installing the new power unit in the car’s chassis will be a complex operation. I’ve got direct experience of that from my time at Lotus: it’s true the engine supplier tries to meet your demands, but it’s never the same thing as happens here, where there is a historical culture relating to a common task of defining and developing the design of the new car.”

“We have worked side by side with our chassis colleagues over the years,” added Marmorini. “Precisely because we know there is no point in we engine engineers pushing too much emphasis on our single project if then it doesn’t adapt to a winning car. This is the case not just as far as the engine is concerned, but also relates to all the other elements of this powertrain which, as you can understand, is much more complex than in the past.”

“All I can say is I agree with Luca,” concluded James. “That argument also holds true for an element which, in recent years has been the centre of attention, namely the exhausts. Blowing them offered interesting technical challenges, but I have to say that, personally, I am pleased they have been eliminated and that we can go back to designing exhausts aimed at getting the most out of the power of the engine.”

A special project needs a special partner

A complex project such as the new 059/3 power unit involves not only all the staff from the Ferrari Engine and Electronics Department, but also the incredible Scuderia partners, first and foremost Shell. The longstanding fuel and lubricants supplier has been alongside Marmorini and his crew right from the start of this project. Over fifty versions of the Shell V-Power fuel were developed up until now and the best of them are currently being evaluated on the engine test beds in Maranello, prior to making their track debut on 28 January at Jerez de la Frontera, at the opening test session of the 2014 season.

“The FIA regulations concerning fuel and lubricants have remained unchanged, but the demands of the new powertrain are radically different compared to those of its predecessor, which has given us the freedom to explore new areas and to introduce innovations,” said Andrew Foulds, vice-president of Shell Fuels Technology, during the presentation at Maranello. “The change of configuration is important for us, as is the limit to how much fuel can be used per race. Finding a fuel that offers power and efficiency is like finding the Holy Grail.”

“Furthermore, we have to deal with an increased life cycle for each unit,” continued Foulds. ‘With only five power units available per driver over the course of the season, it’s a very complicated exercise to push on the performance front, while maintaining the reliability of which Ferrari and Shell are justly proud. The formulation of the Shell Helix Ultra lubricants that we are developing with the Scuderia allows us to keep pushing the limits: that way we can gather valuable information which will allow us to continue development, not only for the world of racing, but also for applications for road cars.”

Video - 3D launch of the new Ferrari V6 powerunit

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