Ferrari counting on piston innovation and 3D printing for F1 2017

Ferrari is counting on 3D printing technology for an innovative piston design it believes could produce be a major boost for its 2017 Formula 1 engine

Ferrari counting on piston innovation and 3D printing for F1 2017

Having failed to match its bold 2016 pre-season predictions, this year Ferrari's efforts are taking place under a shroud of secrecy - ordered by president Sergio Marchionne.

Development of the 668 project is well advanced, and it is on schedule to make its public debut with a filming day at Fiorano and online launch on February 24.

The power unit initially fitted for testing is likely to be just a first step.

Engine department chief designer Sassi Lorenzo and Enrico Gualteri, responsible for assembly, are hoping to finalise bold changes that technical director Mattia Binotto, who transferred from the engine team, expects to be a major breakthrough.

Combustion is tipped to be the main focus, with the chamber set for a considerable increase in pressure thanks to the latest work on the Turbulent Jet Ignition System.

It is suggested that a new micro-injector design from Magneti Marelli will help ensure the perfect flame for the ignition chamber to increase performance, but also minimise fuel use.

The changes will put the engine under tremendous forces - with 400 bar pressure possible plus a big increase in temperature that can be a threat to reliability.

To meet its targets, Ferrari is having to revolutionise its approach to engine design

It is now testing a novel piston design concept that uses a new steel alloy.

Although the FIA limits the materials manufacturers can use, Ferrari is looking to move away from the common practice of aluminium.

Aluminium alloys are lighter than steel allows, but they have less ability to resist deformation and not break in extreme temperatures.

To help Ferrari's quest for the right alloy, Maranello engineers are evaluating the latest 3D printing technologies - known in the industry as Additive Manufacturing.

Using this technique allows engineers to build up thin layers on material one at a time, so it is possible to create complex shapes that have not been possible before using traditional casting and machining methods.

The degree of freedom that comes from 3D printing, allied to the speed of production, has opened up a new frontier of design development for something that was once limited to prototyping plastic parts for windtunnel models.

The use of materials such as steel alloys - which in normal casting processes would be unsuitable for the production of an F1 piston - can now be considered because it is no longer necessary to manufacture full surfaces.

Honeycomb designs are possible and bring the advantage of strength without the drawback of weight.

While Ferrari is unlikely to be alone in looking at this technology, Binotto is hoping to get the performance improvements on track as soon as possible - potentially the start of the season.

shares
comments
Renault surprised by Formula 1 engine gains in 2016
Previous article

Renault surprised by Formula 1 engine gains in 2016

Next article

Loopholes getting harder to find with 2017 F1 rules - Rob Smedley

Loopholes getting harder to find with 2017 F1 rules - Rob Smedley
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022