Since the foundation of the company in 1919, motor sport has been at the heart of our approach to developing and perfecting Magneti Marelli products. The mechanical components and electrical devices are subjected to extremely heavy-duty uses in hot and cold climates, dry and wet conditions and dusty and muddy atmospheres – each helping to prove the reliability and effectiveness of the products by virtue of racing success.
Even in the early days, Magneti Marelli was already renowned for the quality and performances of its magnetos, ignition coils and distributors and was even providing constant on-event technical assistance to drivers and vehicles as they competed around the world. As a result the best racing teams in the world chose, and still choose, Magneti Marelli.
An early example of success came in 1930, where three Alfa Romeos, all equipped with magnetos made by Magneti Marelli, placed first, second and third in the legendary “1000 Miglia” endurance race through Italy.
1950 saw the advent of the official Formula 1 World Championship. The first Grand Prix was held on the famous British circuit of Silverstone and was won by Giuseppe Farina at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo. Farina went on to claim the Formula One World Drivers’ Crown in 1950. Of course, the winning Alfa Romeo was equipped by Magneti Marelli.
As the pace of technology development increased towards the end of the 1960s, Magneti Marelli was a leader in the design of many of the newly-born electronics and their application to racing car performance.
The Ferrari-Magneti Marelli association, which began started way back in the 1930s with the Alfa Romeos of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, and which has continued to this day through the companies famous road car activities, has been particularly significant. In the 1970s and 1980s, Magneti Marelli developed the control electronics for the first Weber-Marelli electronic fuel injection systems fitted to the Ferrari Formula 1 engines.
Grand Prix after Grand Prix, Magneti Marelli’s reputation in Formula 1 continued to grow – the ability to develop ever better products was enriched by cooperation with numerous teams: in addition to Ferrari, Renault, Ford-Cosworth-Hart, Matra, BRM, Lotus, Ligier, Osella, Toleman, Spirit, and many others chose the benefits of Magneti Marelli.
Between the 1980s and the year 2000, all of the major Formula1 teams relied on Magneti Marelli for electronic and electro-mechanical systems installed in their cars and for the technology that provided the electronic communication infrastructure, for which Magneti Marelli is a leader in terms of testing and know-how.
For example, this was the case with the introduction of telemetry in race management or the development of the complex steering wheels now used on virtually every single-seater racing car.
In the last twenty years, Magneti Marelli’s name has been associated with many Formula 1 world championship titles: from 1992 until 1997 with the Williams-Renault team, from 1999 until 2004 with Ferrari and, after two years full of victories with Renault, again with Ferrari in 2007 and in 2008.
In 1989 our engineers developed the semi-automatic transmission with steering wheel controls along with Scuderia Ferrari;
· in 1994, our development of the intelligent steering wheel allowed the driver to monitor and control the car from the confines of the cockpit
· 2000 saw the Magneti Marelli Motorsport introduced the ‘distributed architecture’ concept for electronics, including miniaturised components for the engine electronics and vehicle control systems;
· in 2001, Magneti Marelli Motorsport brought advanced real-time telemetry (DST Data Stream Telemetry) to the fore and allowed the team engineers to monitor the health of the race car while on track, and;
· in 2008, Magneti Marelli Motorsport was at the forefront of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) development which ushered in the latest era of Formula 1;
In 2016 Magneti Marelli Motorsport introduced its first full Electric powertrain system for Formula E racecars. This motor is actually one of the most performing, competing for the World Championship title.
World Rally Championship (WRC)
Synonymous with efforts of Fiat and Lancia, Magneti Marelli’s commitment to competition has also made history in the WRC. Magneti Marelli technology featured in legendary cars such as the Fiat 131 Abarth, Lancia Stratos, Lancia 037 and the fabulous Group A Lancia Delta Integrale which won the Constructors' Championship a record six times in a row from 1987 to 1992 and scored 46 WRC rally wins.
Since 2015, in order to reduce costs and improve the show, Dorna standardized the Electronic Control Unit for MotoGP class. Magneti Marelli is unique supplier of the MotoGP ECU and its management software.
The list of titles in the motorcycling world is just as prestigious as those on four-wheels, with five world championship titles in MotoGP with Yamaha and one with Ducati Corse and, since 1988 in the Superbike World Championship 15 titles with Ducati Corse and one with Yamaha.