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Thanks to the looming figure of Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari Scuderia has been very secretive about its 2017 F1 contender, dubbed Project 668, which is expected to be revealed late in February.
According to Motorsport.com, technical director Mattia Binotto is expecting a breakthrough engine design that has very little in common with the one used last season.
Apparently, the Turbulent Jet Ignition System, although effective, provides a lot of pressure within the chamber (up to 400 bar), which threatens the car’s reliability. To solve this, Ferrari is said to be working on a new form of steel-alloy for its pistons, something that is technically allowed by the FIA.
To find the correct compound of alloy, Ferrari’s engineers will apparently be making use of 3D-printing, also known as “additive manufacturing”, which allows objects to be formed one layer at a time. The benefit would be faster production and the ability to form more complex shapes.
As a result, Ferrari might be playing with a honeycomb design, which would allow it to use a more robust alloy without having a full surface, thus making it lighter without compensating its structural integrity.
It’s possible that Ferrari is not the only team experimenting with this technology, but Binotto seems to be keen to get this technology on the track first.