Leaked patent documents show that Ferrari could be working on its own super-performance version of Fiat's Multiair valvetrain technology, which effectively allows the cam profile to be altered dynamically through hydraulic actuators. The documents indicate that Ferrari is developing a high-performance V-8 engine with the Multiair valvetrain arrangement.
Ferrari laid out the system in two-dimensional illustrations, which may indicate Formula 1-like air control over the valves in addition to the Fiat-implemented electro-hydraulic actuators. F1 engines can run over 20,000 rpm (even though they're restricted to less) by using air to actuate the valves.
The springs are simply unable to handle those valve speeds. This means that Ferrari could have a small-displacement, high-efficiency, very high-revving V-8 in the future.
By divorcing the operation of the valves from a specific cam profile or engine speed, the Fiat Multiair system can be more efficient over a wider range, boosting combustion efficiency and power, and saving fuel.
This also cuts the parasitic loads on the engine by lessening the pumping losses (an engine is basically an air pump). When the technology is applied to small engines, there would be better low-end torque, more top-end horsepower, and more overall horsepower.
Alternately, it tunes for efficiency exclusively. Ferrari will probably be interested in the system because it greens its high-output range without sacrificing performance. [via MotorAuthority]