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Ferrari Isn’t Convinced About F1-Powered Road Cars

Ferrari would rather build a supercar from scratch than use F1 tech like the Mercedes Project One.

With its F1-powered engine producing 1,000 horsepower and revving up to 11,000 rpm, Mercedes-AMG wants the upcoming Project One hypercar to be a legitimate race car for the road. We’re seeing a recurring trend here, as Aston Martin has similar aspirations with the Valkyrie, having enlisted Red Bull and Cosworth as technical partners. Both cars look set to redefine the hypercar as we know it. Ferrari, on the other hand, isn’t convinced by this new direction.

Speaking to Motoring at Geneva, Ferrari’s chief technical officer Michael Leiters said he doesn’t see the point in bringing F1-powered cars to the road, citing the F50 as a failed example. “Putting an F1 engine into a road car? We already did it with the F50 and I’m not convinced it works,” he said. “An F1 engine runs at 16,000 rpm… How can you use a car that revs to 16,000 rpm on the street? You can’t and if [the Mercedes-AMG 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,” he continued. “To make a supercar, I prefer to do it from scratch.”

When it launched in 1995, the 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V12 that powered the Ferrari F50 was derived from a 1990 Ferrari 641 Formula One car. This enabled the mid-engined supercar to produce 520 horsepower and rev up to 10,000 rpm, which was hugely impressive at the time. Suffice to say, the F50 didn’t achieve the same iconic status as its predecessor, the F40, which may explain Leiters’ pessimism about future F1-powered road cars. F1 technology has evolved rapidly since the F50, but there’s no denying that F1-powered road cars will inevitably have some compromises. It was recently revealed the Mercedes Project One's engine will need extensive maintenance after 31,000 miles.

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