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Yes the ECU is basically a computer chip inside the car that controls a number of the engine's timing etc.

ECU stands for "Engine Control Unit"

Controlling the engine is the most processor-intensive job on your car, and the engine control unit (ECU) is the most powerful computer on most cars. The ECU uses closed-loop control, a control scheme that monitors outputs of a system to control the inputs to a system, managing the emissions and fuel economy of the engine (as well as a host of other parameters). Gathering data from dozens of different sensors, the ECU knows everything from the coolant temperature to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. With this data, it performs millions of calculations each second, including looking up values in tables, calculating the results of long equations to decide on the best spark timing and determining how long the fuel injector is open. The ECU does all of this to ensure the lowest emissions and best mileage.

You can also have an ECU reprogrammed for better performance.
 

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Sounds like this could be an expensive job for a relatively new car. What's the life expectancy for an ECU on a normal car, and should a 575's ECU be any less reliable than any other ECU? I would imagine ECU's are not made by ferrari, possibly a largescale manufacturer who make them for many marques.
 

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Most ECU's are made by a 3rd party (unsure for Ferraris) however the car manufacturers have high input into the software programming.
 
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