With the engines gunning by now in all major world competitions and on the eve of the F1 Grand Prix in China - an increasingly strategic area for the automotive business - Magneti Marelli emphasises its presence and contribution in terms of technologies and products in the world of Formula 1 and motor sports in general.
Injectors on all Formula 1 cars, KERS and telemetry systems for top teams in F1, engine control units and vehicle data acquisition devices (Data Logger) in the WRC, electronic engine control units, data acquisition and other components in the MotoGP and SBK, complete powertrain systems for the GP2 and GP3 series, Data Logger for the GT categories in the World Endurance Championship and in WTCC, as well as components for the IndyCar in the U.S.
This is only a taste of Magneti Marelli’s technological contribution to the teams competing in the most prestigious international motorsport championships.
Starting from the Formula 1, all the cars fit made-to-measure injectors by Magneti Marelli Motorsport. Thanks to technologically advanced production processes and the related personalisation skills, each individual injector can be calibrated and balanced according to the needs of the different teams, adjusting the spraying beam in order to optimise combustion performance.
This championship season, Magneti Marelli continues to supply the top teams in F1 with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) during breaking, for which it manufactures in primis strategic components such as moto-generator, inverter and electronic battery control.
Another strategic contribution supplied to certain F1 teams is the telemetry system, increasingly important as it monitors and transmits in real time all the vital parameters and performances of the car (a few thousand pieces of data at the same time). By transferring data in real time and handling the two-way data exchange between car, pit and even remote assistance centres, these systems allow technicians to constantly monitor the behaviour of the car, intervening during the actual competition and analysing the overall performance down to the smallest details after the competition.
In addition to these systems, Magneti Marelli also supplies to various F1 teams ignition coils, fuel pumps, sensors and alternators: all basic components that, being effectively integrated into high-performance systems such as Formula 1 cars, are naturally subjected to extremely high stress and have to guarantee specific performances at a very high level.
As for the new frontiers in F1, in view of changes in regulations set to take effect in 2014, Magneti Marelli is already working on improving and fine-tuning the ERS system: the new version will provide a boost to the engine by combining the recovery of kinetic energy during braking with the recovery of energy deriving from the exhaust gases, both aimed at supplying power to the electric moto-generators connected to the drive shaft. The technological challenge which began in 2008 with the KERS thus continues, and new scenarios are opening up for hybrid solutions in motorsport, with important implications in terms of performances, fuel consumption and engine efficiency.
Magneti Marelli is also working on developing a Wi-Fi two-way system for data transmission from vehicle to infrastructure (e.g.: car-pits) that, compared to the current transmission via radio, allows for a more effective exchange of larger volumes of data and different types of signals.
The year 2014 will represent a challenge also with regards to fuel systems for the Formula 1: at present, Magneti Marelli Motorsport is already testing injectors and pumps for GDI engines with fuel pressure values of up to 500 bar.
With regards to the GP2 and GP3 series, Magneti Marelli’s contribution is significant in terms of quality and quantity: indeed, it supplies all the cars with the complete engine control system, the electro-actuated transmission and the data acquisition system.
Moving on to the WRC, Magneti Marelli Motosport is the official supplier of the Citroën team. The various products used on the Citroën DS3 WRC include the electronic engine control units and the data acquisition modules, thanks to which technicians can process more than 2000 vehicle operation parameters with the assistance of the Wintax software, a particularly flexible data analysis tool.
In the WRC area, Magneti Marelli has already developed GDI injectors (with high pressure) for the competitions thanks to the experience acquired in mass production.
Again for the world of Rally competitions, Magneti Marelli Motorsport supplies electronic vehicle control components to Skoda, which competes in the IRC with a Fabia S2000, and to the PSA Group for cars used in various rally competitions at the international level.
As for the data acquisition systems, Magneti Marelli is the only supplier in championships such as the World Endurance Championship in the GT1 and GT3 categories, the WTCC (World Touring Car Championship) and the ADAC GT.
Magneti Marelli Motorsport technology can also be found in the main American motor sports championships, such as the Indy Formula, with ignition components and fuel components.
Switching to the world of motorcycles, in the MotoGP, Magneti Marelli Motorsport supplies Yamaha and Ducati with key components, such as the electronic engine control units, data acquisition, ignition coils, injectors, pressure regulators and fuel pumps. Specifically, the engine control units fitted on motorcycles used in the MotoGP feature peculiar characteristics such as powerful calculations, flexible use, ability to be integrated with other components fitted on the motorcycle and, lastly, reduced weight and dimensions.
In the Superbike World Championship, Magneti Marelli supplies the Kawasaki team with the engine control unit, the data acquisition unit, the dashboard and also with the inertial platform that allows to measure the lean angle of the motorbike.
Moreover, the Althea Racing team uses a Ducati 1198, for which the contribution of Magneti Marelli Motorsport in terms of systems and components is considerable, with the electronic engine control unit and the data acquisition unit.
For Magneti Marelli, motorsports represent the opportunity to create, design and test in an environment with extreme performances and conditions, know-how, new technologies, development and working methods that can then be applied to mass-produced vehicles. And, vice versa, motorsports at the same time represent an opportunity to apply technologies that, originally designed for standard vehicles, can be tested and further developed in the motorsport area.
This technological osmosis contributes to the evolution towards new frontiers in terms of efficiency, output, safety, fuel savings and reduced emissions, alternative engines and electronics at the service of intelligent mobility. Illuminating examples of this exchange, with applications in both areas, can be found in the recent past (the evolution of electronics for engine control, the AMT automated transmission) but especially when looking at the future: GDI direct injection from mass production to competitions, hybrid engine systems based on KERS technology and the possible transfers of know-how between advanced telemetry solutions for the racing area and info-telematic communication technologies between mass-production vehicles and infrastructures.
Motorsport in the DNA and in the history of Magneti Marelli
Magneti Marelli has been involved in motorsport competitions since 1919, the year the company was founded, where mechanical components and electrical devices were subjected to extremely heavy-duty uses, amidst dust, rocks and mud, consequently sturdiness, reliability and effectiveness of the assistance service on the competition fields were often the basic key to a team’s success. Way back then, Magneti Marelli was already betting on the performances and reliability of its magnets, ignition coils and distributors, providing constant support on all racing fields to drivers and vehicles which thus receive the necessary technical assistance from highly qualified and specialised personnel. Quality chosen by the winning teams. In 1930, for example, three Alfa Romeos, all equipped with magnets made by Magneti Marelli, placed first, second and third in the legendary race “1000 Miglia”.
Newspapers continued to report on the victories obtained by vehicles equipped with Magneti Marelli components, and record after record was broken: both drivers and manufacturers sent telegrams, autographed photos and thank you letters to show their appreciation and gratitude towards Magneti Marelli.
1950 was the year of the first Formula 1 World Championship. The first Grand Prix was held on the English racetrack of Silverstone, and that year the Championship was won by Nino Farina behind the wheel of an Alfa Romeo, of course equipped by Magneti Marelli. At the end of the 1960s, Magneti Marelli was a leader in the design of the newly-born electronics and in its applications to competitions.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Magneti Marelli developed the control electronics for the first Weber-Marelli injection systems used in the Formula 1 and fitted on Ferrari engines. The Ferrari-Magneti Marelli association, which started way back in the 1930s with the Alfa Romeos of the Ferrari Stable and which continued without interruptions with the start of the activities of the Prancing Horse Carmaker, has been particularly significant.
Grand Prix after Grand Prix, Magneti Marelli’s fame in Formula1 continued to swell, and was enriched by the cooperation with numerous teams and by many supplies: in addition to Ferrari, there were Renault, Ford-Cosworth-Hart, Matra, BRM, Lotus, Ligier, Osella, Toleman, Spirit, and others.
Between the 1980s and the year 2000, all of the major Formula1 teams relied on Magneti Marelli for electronic and electro-mechanical systems installed on the car and for the technology of electronic infrastructures and communication, for which Magneti Marelli is a leader in terms of testing and know-how. This is the case, for example, of the introduction of telemetry in race management or the development of the complex steering wheel of the single-seaters.
Since the 1980s, Magneti Marelli has become richer with the experience and competitive know-how of Carello and Weber, legendary brands in the field of lighting and engines supply, both successfully involved in competitions.
Magneti Marelli’s commitment in the world of competitions has also made history in the Rallies, for example with legendary cars such as the Fiat 131 Abarth, Lancia Stratos, Lancia 037 and the fabulous Lancia Delta Integrale.
Hence, Magneti Marelli Motorsport has contributed significantly to the technological evolution of modern sport competitions, thanks to the development and introduction of certain innovative solutions that represented a turning point: in 1989 the semi-automatic transmission with steering wheel controls (developed together with Ferrari); in 1994 the intelligent steering wheel; in 2000 the electronic engine and vehicle control system with distributed architecture and miniaturised components; in 2001 advanced real-time telemetry (DST Data Stream Telemetry), and in 2008 the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).
In the last twenty years, Magneti Marelli’s name has been associated with many Formula 1 world championship titles: from 1992 until 1997 with the Williams-Renault team, from 1999 until 2004 with Ferrari and, after two years full of victories with Renault, again with Ferrari in 2007 and in 2008. The list of titles in the motorcycling world is just as prestigious, with five world championship titles in MotoGP with Yamaha and one with Ducati and, since 1988 in the Superbike World Championship 15 titles with Ducati and one with Yamaha.