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Q&A with Ferrari engine maestro Luca Marmorini 28 Jan 2011

Ferrari F150 V8 Engine. © Ferrari Luca Marmorini. © Ferrari Ferrari F150 overhead view. Ferrari F150 Studio Images, Maranello, Italy, 28 January 2011. Ferrari team photo.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 17 April 2010 Ferrari F150 front three-quarter view. Ferrari F150 Studio Images, Maranello, Italy, 28 January 2011.

With an FIA-regulated freeze still in place on engine development, you’d be forgiven for thinking the head of Ferrari’s engine department, Luca Marmorini, had a relaxing winter break. Not so. In fact Marmorini had much to contend with over the offseason, not least the return of KERS and the constant battle for reliability. Speaking at the launch of the F150 on Friday he revealed all…

Q: Which changes could be made to the 056 engine for 2011?
Luca Marmorini:
The engines are still ‘frozen’, so direct interventions regarding the engine’s performance are impossible, but we’ve been working a lot, especially as far as the reliability is concerned and to reduce costs. Regarding the reliability we were also working on the engine’s pneumatic concept, which caused some problems in 2010. This year we’ve reinstalled the KERS, which lead to a substantial change of the engine’s front. There’s a new dragging system for the KERS, a new crankshaft, and we had to change the cooling and lubricating systems a bit.

Q: What’s new with the KERS system?
LM:
The KERS 2011 has to follow exactly the same specifications as in 2009. So there are the same performance and energy levels. Based on the experience in 2009 we redesigned it more efficiently, reducing its dimension and weight. At Ferrari the KERS has been planned with an eye on budget control. All costs regarding development have been reduced and the operative costs have been analysed and reduced to make the KERS manageable also for the small teams.

Q: Client teams can use the KERS provided by Ferrari. Is this an advantage for the team?
LM:
Increasing the number of tests on the track is always an advantage. Using the partners and teams in a constructive way to drive with the KERS is a positive aspect, considering that we’re talking only about a few units per year and only a few tests before the start of the season. So it’s definitely an advantage regarding performance and reliability that there is a second team to develop the KERS.

Q: From an operative point of view, how did you prepare yourself for this new season?
LM:
The technique is always the same, it’s been consolidated. Lots of work and many activities. We’ve done many long runs, but this year it’s even more difficult, because we have to do the long runs with the engine, the KERS and the gearbox of the new car, so we have been preparing ourselves very well and we think that we can reach a very good reliability until the start of the season.

Q: As far as consumption is concerned, what has been done?
LM:
The consumption remains one of the most important aspects regarding the performance. This year we also have to consider that the KERS is positioned inside the fuel tank. If you don’t want to create a much longer and much wider car, keeping the consumption under control is one of the most important issues during the development in winter. Here it is an advantage that Ferrari has such a long-serving partner like Shell in the area of fuels.

Q: Do you think that the combination of KERS and the mobile rear wing can really facilitate overtaking manoeuvres?
LM:
On paper and in our simulations it does. In 2009 we could already see that the KERS provided some advantage, although not systematic, during overtaking manoeuvres. The possibility to reduce aerodynamic resistance, combined with the extra horsepower provided by the KERS, could definitely make a change in terms of speed, which, if the car in front can’t use the same, will facilitate overtaking.

Q: Do you feel obliged to win this year?
LM:
Certainly. Obliged and inspired.

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