The subject of much speculation, the Ferrari V6 is revealed here in pictures revealing some of its secrets…
Designed under the direction of Moden-born Enrico Gualtieri, the 066/7 engine put the Dancing Horse back in the saddle. Departing significantly from the 2021 block, it has a new combustion chamber that can allow a very short ignition time, to compensate for the fuel pressure control limit set at 500 bar.
According to Mattia Binotto, Ferrari chose innovative solutions and took risks on this engine “very different from the last one”, which will be used for four seasons. The V6 turbo hybrids are frozen until the end of 2025, with no permission to redesign them.
Its architecture remains a mystery: are the turbine and compressor separated (as in all other engines)? Or does the turbocharger form a compact unit mounted behind the block? Much has been said about this issue, without any real evidence. Now we know more thanks to our exclusive photos of the Italian V6 taken during the last Hungarian Grand Prix.
Let’s collect some tips by examining our photos. As can be seen in the picture above, the rear element (turbocharger, indicated by the yellow arrow) is relatively large. Its size is comparable to the 2018 Renault V6 turbocharger, which may suggest that its architecture has remained standard. Another clue that goes in this direction: the axis that connects the turbine and the compressor (here roughly made by a broken line) is too high for the strange element visible in front, indicated by the blue arrow, to be the compressor …
… BUT FEW INDICATORS
In profile, we see that the duct that connects the air intake (above the pilot hood) and the compressor is directed towards the back. Therefore, it can be considered that the compressor is not placed at the very front of the block, as in power units with unequal architecture (mercedesHonda and Renault since this year).
But where would it be, then?
The first hypothesis: it can be separated from the turbine and placed inside the V, which could mean that it is very small (or even of the “axial” type, as was believed for the time of the 2015 Honda V6?).
In fact, the F1-75’s high acceleration potential would come mainly from a smaller compressor (therefore providing a faster response) and a power supply that favors acceleration at the start of the line (whereas the V6 Red Bull Honda relies on a larger turbo to be faster at the end of the section straight). That said, even a compact compressor takes up space: would there still be enough for the MGU-H? We will remember that Honda abandoned its small compressor (located in the V formed by the cylinder bank of its “size zero” engine) and that the compressor that was too small (chosen in favor of aerodynamics) deprived the Italian engine of horse power. in 2014.
The second hypothesis, more acceptable at this point: the compressor is connected to the turbine, as it has been since 2014. The size of the turbocharger supports this interpretation, supported by several experts with general knowledge (including the famous Mark Hughes).
INTERCOOLER, REAL DESIGN?
But then what is the circular piece in front, seen in the picture above? Well, it could be a heat exchanger, a heat exchanger that cools the air that is just compressed.
Its appearance recalls the cylindrical shape of “pre-coolers” made by the English company Reaction Engines. These circular radiators were mentioned by several colleagues about the Mercedes W13, which sidepods will be explained by the use of technology from space, as suggested by the technical director of FOM Pat Symonds. In this case, the architecture would remain traditional, while the design of the intercooler, to say the least, would save space.
However, several questions remain unanswered. How does compressed air get to the cooler? On earlier Ferrari engines, the central duct extended the block to sink into the radiator, but there is no such duct on the current V6. Therefore, this duct must be between the cylinder banks, but the amount available in this place is not limited (the duct that leads the air to the compressor and MGU-H is already there, etc.).
POWERFUL, BUT NOT ONLY
If our position of a rear-block turbocharger is confirmed, this could make Ferrari the only engine manufacturer to retain a conventional design. This does not prevent the 066/7 unit from being considered in the paddock as one of the best engines on the grid. And not just from a raw power point of view, as Valtteri Bottas, who switched from a Mercedes power unit to a V6 Ferrari this season, points out:
“Honestly, there is not much difference [avec le moteur Mercedes] in terms of power, he handed Finn over to our fellows Race. This means that they have made great progress compared to last year! On the other hand, there is a big difference in terms of flexibility (“drivability”). This feature is one of the strengths of this engine. When exiting a corner, it gives more options on gear selection, etc.
Strong and easy to handle, block 066/7 is unfortunately fragile. In Spain and Azerbaijan, Charles Leclerc was forced to retire due to engine failure, while Carlos Sainz’s V6 exploded at the Austrian Grand Prix. Of course the Scuderia took risks to achieve better performance, knowing that, if the engines have been connected since 1.er March until the end of 2025, modifications are still allowed to improve reliability.
Is that why during the design of its engine, Cavallino focused more on performance than the strength of its horsepower? Faced with the lack of Italian engine power since 2020 (following the compliance set by the FIA), a strong remedy was needed.
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