Mercedes-AMG is set to deliver one swift, sweeping blow to the hypercar world when it debuts its Project One at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The Project One will have a 1,000+ horsepower powertrain consisting of an electric front axle and 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine lifted directly from AMG’s F1 car and will represent the “pinnacle of what is currently technologically feasible,” Mercedes says. But Ferrari really couldn’t care less.
Speaking to Australia’s Motoring.com.au, Ferrari chief technology officer Michael Leiters shrugged off the idea of the Project One. He says an F1-engined road car is essentially pointless because you have to cap the RPM at a much lower point than the engine was originally intended to redline at. That means you’re stripping it of performance, which begs the question: ‘why put an F1 engine in it at all?’
“Putting an F1 engine into a road car? We already did it with the F50 and I’m not convinced it works,” Leiters said. “An F1 engine runs at 16,000 RPM. How can you use a car that revs to 16,000rpm on the street? You can’t. And if (the Project One) doesn’t rev to 16,000 RPM, you have to ask the question, what remains of the Formula 1 engine?”
“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.”
The track-only Ferrari FXX K and related LaFerrari are good examples of cars that employs an engine designed for the road but incorporate F1-derived technology. Not only do they use a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that harvests energy for the electric motor under braking (just like an F1 car), it also uses an F1-derived EF1-Trac electronic traction control system that is integrated with the hybrid system.
Leiters said Ferrari is currently looking to expand on its KERS system by applying a similar electric propulsion unit to the shaft of a turbocharger. This would not only increase boost and thus provide additional power, but would also minimize turbo lag and provide better drivability.