Paolo Martinelli is a name familiar to anyone who follows the technical side of Formula 1 racing. He joined Ferrari's powertrain department after graduating college in 1978, and has been in charge of the Scuderia's engine development program since 1994. Last year, however, Martinelli left Maranello for an executive role at Ferrari's parent company Fiat. The racing world has been waiting ever since to see what the motorsport-powertrain legend would produce next, and now they have their answer.
Next to a giant model of the Fiat 500 at the Bologna auto show last week, Martinelli, now Vice-President of Fiat Powertrain Technologies, took the wraps off of 420F3. Like sister-company Ferrari, which is working on the development of an engine for the A1GP racing series, Fiat will be offering the 420F3 engine to competitors in the Italian Formula 3 championship.
The engine is derived from race-proven architecture. Previous iterations have propelled the Grande Punto Abarth Super2000 rally car towards Italian, European and Intercontinental titles, as well as N.Technology's Alfa Romeo 156 race cars, which have taken six FIA World Touring Car Championships (WTCC). Now adapted for Formula 3, the 2-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine produces 220 bhp and is available to F3 teams for purchase as part of a Є38,500 package that includes the airbox, clutch, exhaust and electronics, or for a Є16,000 annual lease.