According to Autosprint, Ferrari may have found 20 horsepower via a special paint that acts as an insulator delivering more heat to the turbine. Apparently they have Marussia to thank for the help in vetting the innovation.

This paint or Magic Paint, as Autosprint calls it, would be used at the upcoming high-power circuits such as Spa and Monza where top line speed is crucial.

According to the article, Ferrari tried to get a new engine modification approved for the Canadian Grand Prix which improved the heat of the air delivered to the turbine but the FIA did not approve the design. This new insulator is believed to be viewed as a reliability modification and therefore be approved by the FIA.

There is a fine line between outright engine design change and reliability and I can only guess as to how many requests and on what grounds these requests are made. If Ferrari can find 20 hp by using a special insulating paint, then that could help close their speed gap to Mercedes for the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix and the team could be thanking Marussia for their efforts in developing the solution.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • At a guess I’d say they are looking to coat their exhaust primaries in Zircotec if we are talking about heat paint, this is nothing new to F1 and has been by many teams in the past. Ferrari were looking to try and wrap their exhaust primaries, as Caterham have done since the start of the season but by all accounts fell foul of the homolation regs (I’m not sure this can be the case as I read them, but hey ho the FIA will change their rules as they go).

    • That’s what I gathered by the article as well and it will be interesting to see if the author is right in that the FIA will see this as a reliability upgrade.

    • Indeed, Marussia’s primaries looked wrapped rather than coated from the pre-Hockenheim pic’s. Why would the junior team be used as a guinea pig rather than the Scuderia implement it? I see no difference whether a factory or customer team implements a potential homologation breach.

      Is Zircotec another brand name for ceramic spray like Swain? If so, I wonder why it’s taken so long, “Jet Hot” and wrapped headers, as you mention, are base stuff. I normally look towards the mechanical side, but my first thought about the wrapped headers was more towards the aero-packaging side, allowing Ferrari to close its bodywork further. Improved insulation *should* improve exhaust velocity (the heat mentioned), but 20 peak hp’s a lot to ask on a boosted engine w/ fixed fuel flow rate; perhaps the Scuderia’s looking for improved -H harvesting via software, although the fixed turbine-to-H ratio is homologated as well.

      Aside: Matt, glad you posted. As mentioned in an email, many in the US (read: Me) would benefit from the conversational tech talk you share; Negative Camber’s site seems to have great traffic, so thanks for your contribution.

      • Hi Jeff

        Zircotec is a very similar product to Swain (had to look it up) as they are ceramic based compounds.

        The whole situation regarding exhausts is quite a bizarre one to me as I’m struggling to understand how the Renault teams all have different solutions but run within the homologation regulations. The original regulations permitted exhausts to be changed and specified by each team (which Renault teams have done) but according to Appendix 2 of the Technical Regulations they are one of the included items.

        When I saw that the Renault powered teams had specified their own exhausts this season I suspected that as usual the regulations hadn’t been changed but a Technical Directive had been issued, allowing the teams to specify.

        What I’m getting at is calling the Renault powered teams exhausts into question, all four of the teams have their own solutions. The idea of the homologation procedure is that the powerunits supplied by each manufacturer have parity and so this shouldn’t be possible.

        The sting in the tail also comes at the expense of McLaren who’s original design concepts centered around a more equal length exhaust design, rather than the log manifold that Mercedes bombed them with just before pre-season testing started. This has significantly compromised McLaren aerodynamically and so it begs the question why they didn’t run the tubular manifold first specified rather than the log one. Of course there are performance benefits intrinsically linked to the use of the log manifold and the Mercedes powerunit but it’s something to think about.

        In terms of the Ferrari powered teams it’s an interesting debate on several levels, Marussia might well be a customer but unlike Sauber they’ve actually been working as an engine developer themselves over the last few years. With Cosworth only supplying Marussia a lot of the development work that went into exhaust blowing / coanda fell on their shoulders. This is something that has gone unnoticed by almost everyone and even Marussia haven’t openly admitted it was part of their failings when compared to Caterham. Now they don’t have that burden look at their advancement compared to Caterham….

        Anyway I digress, if we take a look at the following images we can see firstly something that Marussia have done since the start of the season is use a carbon shroud between the PU and the exhaust headers, now although this doesn’t deflect a significant amount of heat it will of course have an impact. On top of this the image shows that Marussia wrapped their exhaust for a Free Practice session, although this is only an inexpensive way of doing it, it does help to correlate the performance advantages of using a coating like Zircotec.

        Ferrari –

        Marussia –

        Marussia (wrapped) – /

        As you’ve already alluded to using coatings or wrapping will retain the heat in the primaries and allow for more power to be garnered, but what’s unseen is the knock on effect. This allows the mapping to be altered, allowing power to be made at different rpm, which cascades to better utilisation of the MGU-H and MGU-K. As I alluded to at the start of the season ( I still believe that Ferrari had several options in terms of turbocharger size (as tested during the pre-season tests) but perhaps chose a unit that didn’t offer enough scope especially when understanding how to use the MGU-H alongside it. They have made strides in this area from the start of the season but I’d put much of this down to their collaboration work with Shell, which leads me onto where the use of heat coatings/wrapping could also find favour.

        Mercedes and Petronas have stolen a march on the other teams this year, blending fuels that offer a power advantage, this is another clear indicator of where McLaren have dropped away with them being the only Mercedes powered team not using their fuel (supplied by Mobil1). Renault also made this mistake and have openly admitted their work with Total (supply all Renault powered teams) has increased performance significantly and almost race by race. This then is where Ferrari/Shell need to make further gains too and I’d surmise their quest to control the EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperatures) will stem from R&D done by the pair.

        Hope that adds a little more insight on the matter, as a side note the Italian media do get drip fed information which is often misinterpreted and so you have to read between the lines a little.

        • Good stuff, even for the disinterested. The relationships between teams, between a team and supplier, and even departments within a team, are fodder for daytime soaps. Team heads juggle hand grenades no?

          It’s odd, the manifold situation. I had assumed, per #1 (Appendix 4), Sporting regs, that teams had successfully argued installation peculiarities necessitating individual solutions, and convinced FIA each design performed on par with the manufacturer’s homologated design.

          However, even if that was true, the downstream changes should have been disallowed, Marussia’s wrap and Lotus’ ditching its funky horizontal/overlapping primaries being examples. And, how did Marussia convince thermal wrap enhancing reliability; if anything, it increases likelihood of cracked manifolds. Odd.

          Good point, Marussia being circumstantially-forced into engine mapping etc. likely helping it now. Do you think it shrouded/wrapped its manifolds independent of Ferrari input? As mentioned below, that’s my impression; it makes no sense for Ferrari to ask its customer for the data, as Autosprint and others report, and less so for FIA to disallow development to one user (the manufacturer no less) and not another.

          With Mclaren, I don’t see the benefit of using its designed headers. The bodywork allowances were made, but can now be shrunk. I’d thought its retention of the high-situated cooling outlets had to do with directing airflow onto the rear-set flared wishbones. I admit my aero-illiteracy likely causes the disconnect.

          Ferrari tested multiple turbine sizes during pre-season? Thanks, completely missed that What I find interesting is if the teams are using some compounding effect within the turbine/-H systems. If say Merc with its supposedly more efficient systemic energy conservation is spooling its turbine during a cam overlap/expansion stroke phase, then using -H to compensate for the power shortfall compared to conventional boost methodology, there are power/economy gains to be had. It’s a relative thing of course, with Merc performing so well, but even in isolation, both Renault and particularly Ferrari seem to have missed steps.

          Regarding fuel, I underestimated how much composition could affect performance. At the time the media reported new Shell blends for Ferrari/Total for Renault, I pooh pooh’d significant gains. F1 isn’t the consumer world; the manufacturers and fuel suppliers can work together to combat pre-detonation/increase thermal resistance/balance timing and waste temps etc, and I should have realized it then.

          • McLaren’s baggy bodywork isn’t purely a legacy of the manifold but it is a massive contributor, the way in which their cooling cannon’s feature either side of the exhaust is also a problem aerodynamically that cannot be fixed due to the ‘Wishbone Wings’ too. Plainly, McLaren pinned their hopes on them having something the others did not but made it very difficult for them to adapt too. A larger problem that has shown itself in McLaren this year but could affect others in subsequent seasons is the reduction in CFD/Wind Tunnel time. McLaren can usually out develop their opposition but they have been humstrung this season, unable to make widesweeping changes without tying up too much resource or taking big punts (what I’d have done LOL)

            The PU’s offer massive scope for development that is really going un-noticed by the mainstream media, the job of mapping and energy flows can only be simulated so far at this stage as they’re so complex and require correlation and moreover adaptation during the weekend. Issues we have seen (mainly with the Renault powered teams) is that you rob Peter to pay Paul with different maps sometimes resulting in fail codes (Vettel mostly).

            Fuel again is something the ‘mainstream’ media know little about and so won’t talk about it but it’s a battlefield. This was the case in the N/A days too but as performance equalised the gains lessened, which will be the case as the teams/fuel suppliers understanding matures, especially as they try different things (2015 on) with EGT/variable inlets etc.

    • PM

      Hey Matt. Good to see you on here. I follow your blog regularly and am glad to know that you are contributing to the f1b discussions

    • I don’t speak or read Italian but the translation was discussing something about the primaries being very long and that adding a level of complexity to the issue. Not sure if that was why the FIA disallowed the first request or not. hard for me to glean from translated Italian. :)

      • Interesting, Todd. I somehow always miss the embedded link, but appreciate you posting them.

        A turbo motor with too-long primaries relative to cross section can indeed affect spool time (lag), but I think the article’s inferring Ferrari made the mistake of designing its headers for a turbocharged 1.6L V6 *engine*, not a *Power Unit*.

        Although not simple per se, it’s elementary for competent engine builders to size primary cross section/diameter and length for desired power and power band. On a turbo engine, one typically downsizes runner cross section (increased relative length-to-diameter) compared to a naturally aspirated motor of similar power. This is to help spool the turbine faster, the boost compensating for the increased back pressure.

        However, with F1’s MGU-H on demand turbine spooling alleviating the manifold of that responsibility, designers are free to build the most compact and thermally/energy-retentive solution i.e.; Merc’s log-style merged primaries. Cylinder-pulse interference isn’t as much an issue on a high-RPM race engine (an equal length advantage), and is outweighed by aforementioned positives.

        In short, is sounds like Ferrari approached ERS as an add on to the ICE, not an integral component of the Power Unit. The Ferrari manifold positives are mitigated by MGU-H, whilst its negatives compound general drivability issues and ERS deficits.

        I’ve long felt Ferrari’s individual design team members understood the challenges (they’re no dummies), but internal politicking or lack of direction, along with departmental isolation, lead to a fractured product of compromises. Obviously no evidence, but the media reports keep pointing that direction.

        Again, whomever sets the Scuderia’s tone and empowers its worker bees (Montezemolo? Mattiaci), better do more than hire/fire staff, but impart a team unity mission statement and empower the managers/operators. Yikes.

        PM, Matt said he’ll watch F1B’s Twitter/social media feed and will contribute when he feels appropriate. Another good perspective for fans.

      • “…the primaries being very long…Not sure if that was why the FIA disallowed…”

        I don’t see how that could be the case, but as I also don’t understand why FIA would allow the wrap/upcoming spray on the Marussia but not the Ferrari, who knows.

        My first thought when I saw the Marussia pictures was its engineers found a cheap way/easy way to slightly improve performance that the big team missed, and that the latter is hiding behind a bull “FIA didn’t allow us” excuse while playing catchup with a “more advanced” solution.

        That’s likely untrue, but one never knows with Ferrari, particularly these days.

  • Wow! something actually technically innovative in F1 these days! Halleluiah… don’t worry, DRS will spoil this somehow.

    • *Putting on flame suit*

      DRS has somewhat achieved its purpose this year; allow a trailing car to close behind a leader to enable a braking-zone pass, without making it too easy.

      I dislike DRS as much as the next guy, but the wake produced by a leading car seems too detrimental in current F1. My pilot buddy gave an analogy during his most-recent sim qualification, in which his plane, following the wing tip vortices of another some 5 miles back, completely upsetting the balanced lift, becoming nearly unflyable. Modern aerodynamics trump engine power.

      I too would enjoy more variation, but technical principles can’t be unlearned, so restriction for safety is an inevitable byproduct. Admittedly too, DRS is an artifice that still manifests in “push to pass” overtakes on straights, but it’s abated, and IMO no more fake than controlled-deg tires. An open formula world with ground-effect aero would be neat, but closed cockpit, 1500 hp cars that pull 7G lateral would kill drivers and spectators. The price of progress.