Feb 1, 2017 | By Benedict

Scuderia Ferrari, the racing division of Ferrari, is looking to improve its 2017 Formula 1 engine by using 3D printing technology to fabricate new and innovative steel alloy piston heads. The 2017 Ferrari, codenamed 668, is set to be unveiled on February 24.

The 2017 Ferrari Formula 1 car may contain 3D printed piston heads

3D printing in the automotive sector is nothing new—just take a look at the ever-growing number of 3D printed cars for proof. Rarely, however, has additive manufacturing been put to the test on a racing stage as grand as Formula 1. So when reports emerged this week that Ferrari is considering putting 3D printed pistons in their 668 Formula 1 engine, many observers in the racing and 3D printing worlds took notice. Could 3D printing really improve Ferrari’s fortunes on the track?

According to a number of sources, Ferrari has decided to incorporate additive manufacturing into their engine production in order to completely remodel their ignition chamber. By 3D printing the steel alloy piston heads for the 668, Ferrari reportedly thinks it can achieve perfect combustion, with the 3D printed pieces able to withstand 400 bar of pressure. The design is being carried out by Magneti Marelli, an Italian developer and manufacturer of high-end automotive components.

Ferrari and Marelli believe that additive manufacturing will enable them to improve the piston heads by reducing their weight while maintaining a high level of strength. To do this, they will likely use complex internal geometries such as honeycomb patterns, reducing material usage while ensuring density in high-impact areas.

The 2016 Ferrari Formula 1 car

Other changes predicted for the new Ferrari Formula 1 vehicle include a new power unit, designated 062/1, that will reportedly differ significantly from the 2017 model, and a larger diffuser,  increasing from 100 cm to 105 cm in width and 12.5 cm to 17.5 cm in height. Many of the new parts have been tested during free practice sessions since summer 2016.

The 2016 Formula One season was the longest season in the history of the sport, and was an unsuccessful one for Ferrari and its drivers, German Sebastian Vettel and Finn Kimi Räikkönen. Mercedes won all but two Grands Prix, with Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer scooping the other pair. Ferrari finished third in the World Constructors' Championship standings, achieving 11 podium finishes over the course of 21 races.

For the 2017 season, Scuderia Ferrari is reportedly targeting power levels exceeding 1000 bhp, around 50 bhp more than Vettel and Räikkönen had available to them last season.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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