Mahle is expanding its ties with Ferrari in Formula 1 with a long-term partnership agreement that includes the development and supply of crucial engine components.

"We consider Mahle an important partner in the ongoing development of our powertrains. We appreciate not only their high level of technological expertise, but also their exceptional reliability," said James Allison, technical director at Ferrari.

The cooperation scope includes the optimisation of the crank mechanism and the development of high-performance materials.

"Our company's commitment to motorsport has a decades-long tradition. Many developments have contributed to series [production] vehicle engines being more powerful and at the same time more economical," said Wolf-Henning Scheider, Mahle chairman and CEO.

For this project, Mahle is developing and manufacturing high-strength forged pistons and optimising their aluminium alloys and protective reinforcements. It is also supplying friction-optimised piston rings and piston pins made of extremely resilient steel, as well as cylinder coatings that reduce friction and are resistant to wear.

"The new generation of hybridised, turbocharged V6 engines presents very specific challenges," said Fred Turk, vice president of Mahle Motorsports.

The development activities for Ferrari also include innovative combustion processes. For the first time, Mahle is using a patented development that significantly increases efficiency. The new lean burn combustion process called Mahle Jet Ignition achieves this with a special surface ignition. Higher power output is generated for motorsport applications.

Mahle will also develop the process for series vehicles as, with the help of this technology, efficiency levels can be achieved that are otherwise found only in diesel engines.

This example demonstrates how motorsport continues to be a technology driver.

"The extreme requirements in these vehicles are the starting point for many innovative solutions that are also used in series production at a later stage," said Turk.

Commitment to motorsport has been part of overall Mahle strategy for decades. The latest example is steel pistons which helped to claim victory last year in the Le Mans long-distance race. They are now installed in new 1.5- and 1.6-litre Renault diesel engines which meet Euro 6 emission standards.