Partner Talk: Riccardo De Filippi, Managing Director of Motorsport at Magneti Marelli
Posted on: 14 February, 2018
Where would we be without our partners? Definitely not among the title contenders in the ongoing season of ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
Magneti Marelli has been an integral part of our story over the last couple of years. Since the Italian tech giants came on board, we managed to finish in the top three in Season 3 and are currently contenders for the top spot in Season 4.
Recently, we caught up with Riccardo De Filippi, Managing Director of Motorsport at Magneti Marelli to know more about the motorsport veteran’s role with Mahindra Racing, the growth of electric cars and Formula E amongst other things.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
It must have been some journey to become the Managing Director of Magneti Marelli Motorsport. Can you describe the journey for us?
Year, 1975. I was six when I wrote a letter to Mauro Forghieri who at the time was the chief of the Technical Department at Ferrari. I wrote that I had a dream: to become an engineer and to work in motorsport. Since then, I’ve been following that precise dream. It’s a lot about passion and about caring for performance and for the people that make it happen.
Can you explain the role of Magneti Marelli with Mahindra Racing?
Due to the fact that Formula E has spec chassis and battery, the powertrain components constitute one of the major performance differentiators among the various manufacturers participating in the series. Magneti Marelli is the technical partner and technology supplier for Mahindra’s Formula E powertrain components.
The performance of Mahindra Racing has been on the rise since the partnership with Magneti Marelli. What’s the secret behind this success?
Magneti Marelli has a privileged position in the motorsport field thanks to its long history. Its engagement in motorsport dates back to 1919, almost a century ago. In this long route, Magneti Marelli has gained deep knowledge in the design and deployment of motorsport oriented devices: heritage is a key factor.
On top of that, in the last decade, it has built a strong team dedicated to motorsport electrification, which is able to bring the best technologies to the various branches of motorsport. All these factors, matched perfectly with the strong Mahindra Racing team organization and track operations, has seen us deliver strong performances since the beginning of the partnership.
Magneti Marelli’s engagement in motorsport dates back to 1919.
What has been the biggest challenge while working with Mahindra Racing so far?
Magneti Marelli’s main effort has been to extract most of the efficiency out of the current technologies. This exercise has been challenging, with Mahindra Racing always demanding for higher performance. The continuous innovation in new Wide Band Gap Semiconductors and Advanced Magnetic Materials has given Magneti Marelli the chance to achieve results that just a few years ago were impossible to even imagine.
Technology advances at a rapid pace in a sport like Formula E. How do you keep up with the need for change?
The secret is the continuous scouting of new technologies at 360 degrees: semiconductors, control techniques, microprocessors, magnetic materials, winding technologies, additive manufacturing, composites, and new design tools. All these factors together contribute to a continuous product evolution.
What excites you most about Mahindra Racing and Formula E?
Mahindra’s fresh and open approach to a completely new motorsport paradigm that requires a new mindset and way of racing is the wow factor. It’s a great adventure and Magneti Marelli is proud to be a part of it.
Your thoughts on the growth of electric cars.
Electrification is a global trend in the automotive market. I cannot say what the future will bring to us, and when, but Magneti Marelli is definitely ready to play a role in it.
Electrification is a global trend in the automotive market.
How big do you see Formula E becoming in the near future? Can it challenge Formula 1?
Formula E and F1 are two very different formulas in many ways, with both providing very tough technical challenges. The former has proven to be a very exciting series, and its fanbase is constantly growing. So, with more competition and more races; all motorsport fans can only be happy!
Your thoughts on how Formula E will help in the development of EV technology.
Formula E is all about efficiency. In other words, the best package is the one that makes the better use of the energy stored in the battery throughout the complete race. For road cars, best efficiency means longest range. The same technologies and solutions applied to motorsport can also have a direct and measurable impact on the road cars of the future.
Your predictions for Mahindra Racing in the 2017-18 Formula E season.
No matter what, it will be a season spent at full attack!