Ferrari could leave F1 for IndyCar? Ferrari is not happy with F1's reported plans for a four-cylinder, 1.6 liter turbocharged engine formula for the 2013 season and beyond.
It emerged this week that the broad outline of the sport's future rules has been essentially decided and agreed by the majority of the teams.
According to Italy's Autosprint, the famous Ferrari outfit is not among them.
Instead, the report said the Maranello based team wants formula one to revert to a 1.8 liter V6 engine design, which would be much easier to adapt from the current 2.4 liter V8s. Ferrari is right, the V-design is torsionally more rigid, and the extra engine displacement and two extra cylinders equates to less stress on the engine in order to meet the requirement that engines get 5 full race weekends between rebuilds. This is the same argument Honda (HPD) made to IndyCar in lobbying for the V6 option and more displacement.
Ferrari's engine boss Luca Marmorini reportedly insists there is not enough time to design a completely new engine for 2013 "with the necessary reliability to have only four units (per driver), as they would like", he said.
Marmorini also argues that a 4-cylinder design would require a complete overhaul of the chassis designs. You can make the 4-cylinder engine have the same torsional rigidity as a V6 but that means adding more material to the engine block and heads that would increase rigidity, but that would increase the dead load (weight) of the engine.
Amid Ferrari's staunch opposition last year to the proposed budget cap rules, the team threatened to quit formula one.
In a new interview with Corriere dello Sport, team boss Stefan Domenicali said anyone who thinks F1 would be the same without Ferrari "is wrong".
He warned that, "depending on how the rules are configured", Ferrari is open to seeking new challenges in "Le Mans or the major American championships."
The IRL's Randy Bernard was rumored to be lobbying the parent company to Ferrari (Fiat) last week to participate in IndyCar, and their proposed 1.8L V6 layout for F1 means the similarities between the engine used in F1 and the IRL are closer. The IRL allows more displacement (2.4L vs. 1.8L for F1) to reduce strain on the engine at the continuous high speed on the oval tracks. It also means less exotic materials are needed (can produce the same HP at lower RPM or lower turbo boost pressure), which reduces cost.
Should Ferrari win the F1 argument, one has to speculate that it increases the chances they may also do an IndyCar engine, perhaps using the Maserati name.