The paper shows how specific requirements of the cooling system of an ICE can be met by actuating the coolant flow rate independently of engine speed, by means of an electric pump and of an ad-hoc developed control system. Given that the proposed methodology is valid for each condition, in the present paper the focus is on the engine operating under fully warmed conditions, with the aim to keep the wall temperature into the prescribed limits, with the lowest possible coolant flow rates. This goal is achieved by properly defining the controller parameters. The developed controller is based on the Robust Model Predictive Control approach, which makes use of a lumped parameter model of the engine cooling system. The model also includes the radiator-thermostatic valve-fan block and incorporates the nucleate boiling heat transfer regime. In order to make the control efficient from a computational point of view, the engine torque-speed map is divided into sub-regions and the control parameters are computed, off-line, for each of them. During the actual engine operation, the control algorithm selects the correct parameters from look-up tables and requires, therefore, a very small computational effort. Different control strategies are proposed and their effectiveness is evaluated in terms of engine wall temperature, coolant temperature, coolant flow rate and heat transfer regime in response to step-wise variations in fuel flow rate. The region of stability of the controller is also discussed. Both numerical simulations and test rig experimental data are presented. Results show that the control algorithm is robust in terms of disturbance rejections and ensures effective and safe cooling with much lower coolant flow rates if compared to the ones provided by the use of the standard crankshaft driven pump.