Do Formula One engines have a place on the road? Ferrari's CTO doesn't think so.
Mercedes-AMG’s forthcoming Project One hypercar uses Formula-One-derived tech to make over 1,000 horsepower from a hybridized and turbocharged 1.6-litre engine revving at over 10,000 rpm. Ferrari’s chief technical officer isn’t impressed, though. He doesn’t see the point of bringing F1 systems to the road.
“Putting an F1 engine into a road car? We already did it with the F50 and I’m not convinced it works,” Ferrari CTO Michael Leiters told Australia’s Motoring. “Instead of an actual F1 engine, I’m convinced it’s better to take some concepts and innovations from a Formula 1 car… To make a supercar, I prefer to do it from scratch.”
When Ferrari launched the F50 in 1995, it used a 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V12 that derived from the powerplant in Prancing Horse’s 1990 F1 car. The mill made 520 horsepower and could rev to 10,000 rpm. Despite the impressive numbers, the F50 has attained the iconic status of its predecessor – the F40.
Using an F1 engine on the road requires compromises. For example, the latest reports indicate that the powerplant in Mercedes-AMG’s hypercar might need significant maintenance every 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometres) because of its high-strung nature. At a selling price of around $2.5 million USD each, the downtime shouldn’t disadvantage wealthy owners who likely have other vehicles to play with. Mercedes-AMG is revealing the Project One at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The company expects to have buyers for the entire 300-car production run by that time.
Meanwhile, fellow F1 competitor Red Bull is working with Aston Martin on the Valkyrie. Famed race car designer Adrian Newey crafts a sleek shape for the hypercar, and Cosworth is helping to create a 6.5-litre V12 for it. Some hybrid assistance should push the output to around 1,000 hp.
McLaren is also working on a new hypercar with the codename BP23, but the company is being extremely secretive about the project. We know that it has a three-seat layout and dihedral doors like the famous F1. The firm claims that the vehicle is the first “hyper-gt” and plans to produce just 106 of them. Don’t be surprised if some of the latest innovations from racing are part of what makes the vehicle so special.
Ferrari might have its own new hypercar on the way, too. Patent images and a concept on display in the United Arab Emirates suggest the company is toying with the design for a coupe that evolves the look of the LaFerrari.