Ferrari's new Formula 1 car was fired up for the first time on Tuesday, with the team well aware that the success of its revamped power unit may well define its championship ambitions. For however much Maranello's 2016 machine makes gains on the aerodynamics front, the modern turbo V6 era has shown that without a good engine there is little hope of taking the challenge to the dominant Mercedes team.
By: Franco Nugnes, Direttore Responsabile
Ferrari's new Formula 1 car was fired up for the first time on Tuesday, with the team well aware that the success of its revamped power unit may well define its championship ambitions.
For however much Maranello's 2016 machine makes gains on the aerodynamics front, the modern turbo V6 era has shown that without a good engine there is little hope of taking the challenge to the dominant Mercedes team.
The whispers coming out of Ferrari are that the team has not held back in pushing the boundaries with its engine development over the winter – and could be set to unleash a radical change of its power unit in a bid to jump past the 900bhp performance that Mercedes has.
Earlier this week, Ferrari's former sporting director Massimo Rivola told an audience at the ACI CSAI in Taormina that there was some confidence about what had been done on the engine front.
"The plans for the new season have been born in a healthy way, and everyone expects a great championship for Ferrari," he said.
"On the power unit front, I think the technicians have done an excellent job to chase Mercedes, while on the chassis front I hope we have overcome the lack of competitiveness in the past."
On the chassis front, Ferrari's new car (codenamed the 667) is expected to feature a short nose - somewhere between what Mercedes and Toro Rosso did in 2015 - with a push-rod front suspension, lower sidepods and narrower coke-bottle shaping and gearbox.
Changes to the combustion characteristics of the engine have already been reported – but it has now emerged that Ferrari is set for a major repackaging of components to boost both power unit performance and help aerodynamic efficiency.
As Giorgio Piola's exclusive illustration of what Ferrari may have changed shows, Ferrari could be set for a pretty big revolution in terms of what it will be bringing to the track in 2016, even if it will try to keep what it has actually done top secret.
1. The large intercooler that was on the SF15-T was placed inside the cylinder bank of the V6 turbo. For 2016, this has been enlarged for performance reasons – because Ferrari needs more fresh air feeding the engine to maximise its extra power.
To ensure no compromise, the intercooler has been split in to two parts. The larger part will be placed inside the chassis on top of the fuel tank, while the second one will be placed in the left sidepod.
2. The MGU-H is the only component that is likely to remain in the same position in this year's car as it was in the 2015 challenger.
3. The MGU-K, which was effectively used as a spacer for the gearbox in 2015, will be moved to the left bank of the V6 – in a position that other manufacturers have also used previously.
4. The oil bank reservoir has also been re-designed. For the 667, it will be lower and slightly wider: which will help with the car's centre of gravity.
5. The 2016 Ferrari engine will feature variable inlet trumpets, which Ferrari could not use last year as the presence of the intercooler inside the V-bank prevented it.
The addition of the trumpets (which Mercedes used in 2015) will be a boost in allowing the better quality of combustion through better tuning of the air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
6. The clutch that was in the 059/4 engine has been shifted to inside the gearbox housing – with a coupling shaft connected to the crankshaft.