Formula 1 has gotten much stricter with rules limiting the implementation of technology developed for F1 into road-going cars, which puts automakers like Ferrari at a distinct disadvantage. Running an F1 team is mind-numbingly expensive, and the easiest way to recover some of that cost is by porting technology into your profitable production cars.
However, not everything developed for F1 can be transferred into a production car. Aerodynamics has become a key element of F1 car design, but as Automotive News (subscription required) points out, passenger cars must meet pedestrian impact standards that preclude the use of F1-style aerodynamics.
Even measures designed to reduce expenses in F1 can backfire, such as the introduction of new, more fuel-efficient V-6 engines for the 2013 season. Ferrari’s chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo projects that the switch could cost over 50 million euros ($67,565,000).
That doesn’t make sense to di Montezemolo, who believes that the current V-8s used in F1 could be improved for greater efficiency. Still, don’t expect Scuderia Ferrari to back out of F1 any time soon, since racing at the highest levels is far too important to Ferrari’s brand image.
Don’t be surprised, however, when automakers like Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Renault and McLaren begin to push back on the strictness of F1 regulations. The sport won’t get any cheaper, and those participating need to recover development costs somehow.