Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

That Time Subaru Built a Flat 12-Cylinder Engine for F1 Racing


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 TDIMeister

TDIMeister
  • Member

  • 295 posts
  • Joined: January 06

Posted 03 February 2021 - 20:08

https://www.motortre...engine-history/

 

Discuss!

 

It's not clear from the article whether it was a boxer or 180-degree-vee design as done by Ferrari and Porsche. From the performance and weight problems that seemed to plague it, it might have been an attempt at a boxer.


Edited by TDIMeister, 03 February 2021 - 20:10.


Advertisement

#2 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 53,045 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 03 February 2021 - 20:41

The simplest point is why on earth did Subaru think it best to link up with Motori Moderni.  The engine for Minardi that they did was less reliable than Del Trotter.  Chiti's main success had come in 1961 and that was because Ferrari was the only one that worked to the 1.5l formula, when everyone else got proper engines in 1962 Ferrari was suddenly nowhere.  Otherwise his Alfa successes had come only after Ferrari, Matra, and of course Porsche had eschewed the sportscar championship, he was basically racing Osella.



#3 TDIMeister

TDIMeister
  • Member

  • 295 posts
  • Joined: January 06

Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:16

The simplest point is why on earth did Subaru think it best to link up with Motori Moderni.

Fair enough.

 

However, nevermind again the problems encountered in packaging a flat engine in an F1 chassis, there is nothing that fundamentally results in a flat engine being necessarily heavier and developing less power than a Vee engine of identical bore, stroke and cylinder count. I'm interested to discuss here why these turned out to be outcome. I have several theories why.



#4 desmo

desmo
  • Tech Forum Host

  • 22,237 posts
  • Joined: January 00

Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:31

The story implies this unit weighed 100kg more than a Cossie. I can't get past that. What the @#$% were they thinking? It almost seems impossible.



#5 GreenMachine

GreenMachine
  • Member

  • 1,799 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:46

There was a thread a year or three ago, originally titled something about 'Subaru F1 engine', but the title was changed.  Subaru had nothing to do with it, but it was Subaru based or some such.  Not a flat 12 if I remember correctly.

 

I tried searching, but couldn't find it.  Probably of little relevance to this thread though.



#6 TDIMeister

TDIMeister
  • Member

  • 295 posts
  • Joined: January 06

Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:47

The story implies this unit weighed 100kg more than a Cossie. I can't get past that. What the @#$% were they thinking? It almost seems impossible.

I guess, but we can't fairly compare one engine to another with effectively 50% more components in going from 8 --> 12 cylinders. There's also the matter of a whole lot more friction in a 12-cylinder engine than eight (but there are deeper reasons why specifically a boxer-12 would have been even worse in this regard than a 180-degree vee or other more conventionally vee-angled twelve cylinder engines, which underlies my theory of why it was so short on power).

 

With the benefit of hindsight, Subaru might have found far greater success with a 3.5L boxer-8 with a cross-plane crankshaft.


Edited by TDIMeister, 04 February 2021 - 05:02.


#7 TDIMeister

TDIMeister
  • Member

  • 295 posts
  • Joined: January 06

Posted 04 February 2021 - 05:08

There was a thread a year or three ago, originally titled something about 'Subaru F1 engine', but the title was changed.  Subaru had nothing to do with it, but it was Subaru based or some such.  Not a flat 12 if I remember correctly.

 

I tried searching, but couldn't find it.  Probably of little relevance to this thread though.

This one?

https://forums.autos...es/#entry224722



#8 GreenMachine

GreenMachine
  • Member

  • 1,799 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 04 February 2021 - 06:23

No, not that one, this one: https://forums.autos...ne#entry6510052 but it isn't F1, rather sports cars.

 

 

There is this one too, more relevant to this thread.https://forums.autos...g/#entry9362861



#9 guiporsche

guiporsche
  • Member

  • 278 posts
  • Joined: January 17

Posted 04 February 2021 - 09:30

The simplest point is why on earth did Subaru think it best to link up with Motori Moderni.  The engine for Minardi that they did was less reliable than Del Trotter.  Chiti's main success had come in 1961 and that was because Ferrari was the only one that worked to the 1.5l formula, when everyone else got proper engines in 1962 Ferrari was suddenly nowhere.  Otherwise his Alfa successes had come only after Ferrari, Matra, and of course Porsche had eschewed the sportscar championship, he was basically racing Osella.

 

It's a little more complicated than that, isn't it? By 1962 Chiti was no longer there and that year was all, or mostly about the 156 chassis, not the engine, which was good enough to be more competitive than the car demonstrated in that year. Innes' comments, if I remember correctly, were similar. 

 

As for the rest, I'll just say this. Chiti was surely an 'accentratore' who lacked organisational skills and had an old-school conception of racing was done, but at Alfa (especially in F1) he was constantly fighting political fires and at Motori Moderni had no funds whatsoever (even depending on his links to Enzo Ferrari to get an old Magnetti electronic injection). I have never seen Giancarlo Minardi blame the engine design in itself, they simply lacked the money to develop it. Surely by the time he did the Subaru flat-12 he was past it, but at least he gave it a shot. With his health problems and at his age he was just as entitled to stay at home....


Edited by guiporsche, 04 February 2021 - 09:31.


#10 Izzyeviel

Izzyeviel
  • Member

  • 1,008 posts
  • Joined: March 16

Posted 04 February 2021 - 12:16

Did Subaru go to MM or was it the other way round?



#11 blueprint2002

blueprint2002
  • Member

  • 161 posts
  • Joined: May 19

Posted 07 February 2021 - 01:20

I suppose there can't be any winner, or even a race, without a number of also-rans.

Credit to Ing. Chiti for his undaunted efforts, over so many years, that were also an integral part of the sport.