Q&A: Matteo Valentini, Chief Engineer, Maserati


What career did you want growing up?

In my early childhood I dreamed of a future as a designer, but that changed when my father (retired mechanic with an incredible passion for restoring motorcycles) bought me a scooter with a 50cc two-stroke engine. . Something clicked in my mind that day. How does this engine work? What if I want to fix it? How can I improve its performance? These questions fueled my desire to learn as much as possible about engines. It really motivated me to get my bachelor’s degree and keeps me focused on achieving my goals in daily work activities.

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What was your career path to get to where you are now?

My first job was in 2005. I became an intern at Oral Engineering under the supervision of former Scuderia Ferrari engineer Mauro Forghieri as part of a bachelor’s thesis. After graduating in 2006, I was hired by Oral as a motorcycle chassis designer and immediately got involved in one of the biggest challenges for the company at the time: designing a MotoGP prototype. from scratch for a German customer. We managed to complete the project within a year and by the end of 2008 I had joined the engine design department. Since that day, I have never looked back.

If you had to pick one highlight of your career, which one would it be?

Without a doubt, the day I decided to leave my old company to join Maserati. It was in 2014 and I was very satisfied with the development of my career so far. I had 360 ° experience developing and testing small batch prototype parts for racing applications, but felt the urge to join a larger company to figure out how to manage production oriented projects. massive.

Fortunately, Maserati was hiring at the time and granted me an entry-level position in the design department. I took the risk and started this wonderful adventure that I still live today.

What are the best and the worst aspects of your job?

I could tell you how difficult selecting a concept can be, how frustrating an issue can become when it affects the production schedule, or how satisfying it is to get approval for development. ‘a new engine, but honestly there is nothing good or bad about any job. It all depends on you and your mood when you get in your car to go to work.

If you lose your motivation or have a negative outlook, then everything is bad (not just at work). On the other hand, if you are strong-minded and focused on your tasks, everything will be better and the people around you will benefit.

Please describe what a typical day looks like for you.

A typical day for me is strongly linked to the development phase. In the beginning, my team and I invest a lot of effort in overseeing the design and virtual validation activities of all components. Then we focus on the suppliers for mass production. Once done, we move on to manufacturing to check if the production line is ready to start the assembly process. From there, it’s all about working on the dynamometer and validating the vehicle.

Throughout the development process, we keep an eye out for emerging issues. Once everything is sorted and we reach the start of engine production, we can start over on the next engine in line. It may sound repetitive, but I can assure you that I have never had a day like the previous one.

Are lawmakers helping or hindering your work?

We aim for the “best technique”, but we also have to work with a multitude of limitations to achieve some kind of balance between performance, handling, environmental impact, quality and regulatory requirements. Given this, I think we can say that lawmakers are giving us the extra push to improve our technology every day and comply with the latest legislation.

What was your first car and what do you drive now?

Since I got my license, I’ve mostly had used cars. I even had the chance to borrow a Lancia Fulvia from a friend of mine for a few summers and it was a really good experience. Now, working for Maserati, I am happy to drive a company car. It’s not a Maserati, unfortunately, but I plan to take some driving lessons to improve my skills and test the Nettuno engine in the MC20.

What’s the biggest challenge for Maserati right now?

From my perspective, I think we need to avoid any disruption to Maserati DNA. The customer should experience the same sensations of our future cars as those of today in terms of performance quality and driving pleasure.

Are there other OEMs you have particular respect for in engineering?

The respect I have is not for other OEMs but for all the people who work at their best every day to ensure that customers are able to get a solid product that is affordable, safe, reliable. and fun to drive as well as a product that respects the environment we live in.

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