FERRARI SF7OH – TECH REVIEW
After a difficult 2016, Scuderia Ferrari worked hard over the past winter in order to change the situation and get back to the top, choosing an aggressive approach for the 2017 car and reorganizing the staff: Mattia Binotto became the new chief technical officer in place of James Allison and Enrico Cardile joined the Scuderia’s aero department. It was not a change made overnight, but the first step of reorganization wanted by Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrivabene, leaving the vertical management structure bonded to a strong figure to adopt a horizontal structure, with the aim of improving the cooperation between all the working groups involved in the project and of giving space to those engineers who were held back by the previous team philosophy. The team worked hard to unlock the potential from Fts new 2017 rules – wider tyres, wider front wings, lower/wider rear wings, larger floors and bigger diffusers – and, as seen at the launch of the new car, the 5F7OH featured some innovative and interesting technical solutions, starting from the sophisticated sidepods which allowed a better airflow managment. 5 wins, 20 podiums, 5 pole positions, 17 front row starts and 7 fastest laps are the numbers of the Ferrari’s “re-birth” season. Statistics that don’t tell the whole truth though, because this car would have deserved more for its potential and for the performance showed on track, until unfortunate episodes, incidents and reliability issues stopped Ferrari from improving the score. In fact, through-out the season the SF70H showed to be a competitive car, with a good balance on almost every type of circuits: very different materials (carbon fibre) allowed Seb to improve his starts and save weight. In fact, only Seb used the updated versions of the clutch paddle, while Kimi kept the first version of the paddle for the whole season.
The airbox shown at the launch of the car was a revised version of the one which had been used on the SF16-H: the shape – more rounded – and the size changed, in order to supply enough air to the engine. The only update was brought in Malaysia, adding two extra inlets on the side of the airbox itself: this choice was probably a conseguence of a reorganization of the some elements of the hybird system, in order to achieve a better rear mass rearrangement.
REAR WING AND MONKEY SEAT
The rear wing shown at the launch of the car was lower and wider, as imposed by the new aero rules for the 2017 season. Ferrari opted for an high-downforce rear wing, with a twin swan-neck pillar arrangement, rather than a mono pillar (a solution which had been chosen for the SF16-1-I last year). In Canada Ferrari introduced its medium-downforce update, which also featured an entirely new rear wing, in addition to a modified floor (different slots) and modified sidepod deflectors (revised hole in the footplate). The changes were made to the mainplane (spoon-shaped), the pillar supports (still two but attached to the underside of the wing) and the endplates (with open-end style louvres). For the Italian GP, with its unique characteristics, Ferrari brought its low-downforce package, featuring a wing with a shallow angle of attack and
“conventional” louvres. Throughout the season, Ferrari used to alternate rear wings depending on the circuits, changing also the number of louvres and base slots. The Red team also worked to improve the monkey seat, modifying the numbers of flaps and switching from a single (on the crash structure) to a double configuration (with the second monkey seat attached to the rear wing mounting pillars).
One of the most inventive innovations introduced at the beginning the 2017 season was the t-wing, an aero device placed at the shark fin trailing edge – reinstated this year thanks to the new rules. At the launch of new car, the SF7OH featured a single t-wing, with the aim of conditioning the air-flow over the rear of the car, improving the efficiency of the rear wing and limiting drag. In Spain, Ferrari introduced a new aero package, with updated bargeboards and a new two-element t-wing, which also featured full length slots in either surface. A second update was brought in Austria, with slight differences compared to the t-wing which had been introduced in Spain, aimed to improve its efficiency and save weight. During the season Ferrari never ran without the t-wing and the shark fin, alternating the single/double t-wing depending on the characteristics of the circuits. On low/medium downforce tracks Ferrari used to run its single t-wing, while on medi-um/high ones the choice was for the double t-wing.
The 2017 regulations allowed much larger and complicated bargeboards. Ferrari’s launch spec was pretty simple but functional, made of the main bargeboard and a convex vane on the lower leading edge, which had the role of directing the airflow around the sidepod. During the rest of the season, the area of the bargeboard became more complex, featuring a complex array of elements. The first important update was introduced in Spain, where Ferrari slight revised the convex vane and the large bargeboard, adding two vertical slots in order to improve the efficiency of the surface. The second – and most important – update was introduced towards the end of the season, in Malaysia, adding a new boomerang-shaped pre-bargeboard, a series of mini-winglets to the footplate and modifying the shape of the main element.