One of the most worrying aspects for Ferrari fans at the beginning of the year was whether the Maranello team would be able to sustain a constant and consistent development program, capable of preserving the competitiveness of the F1-75 car and improving it to challenge Red Bull not only in the first part of the season. The performance gap from Red Bull has always been limited, but at the beginning of the championship the F1-75 stood as a point of reference on the grid. Gradually, Red Bull was able to recover the performance deficit and by the first quarter of the season, the RB18 even became technical superior on certain types of track and certain conditions.
Subsequently, however, it was Ferrari who implemented the technical counter-overtake, introducing targeted and effective updates that gave new life to the project, forcing its rivals to chase the F1-75 car again. In a season like the one Ferrari is experiencing, undermined by reliability issues, a few driving mistakes and strategic errors, the development work of the technical department was one of the Scuderia’s outstanding qualities.
However, the updates on the F1-75 car were almost absent during the first five rounds of the 2022 Formula 1 world championship. The team has in fact focused on understanding a car and an aerodynamic philosophy that is still new given the rules and regulations introduced this year, with the aim of accumulating the data and skills necessary to set subsequent updates on solid foundations.
A great deal of work has also been carried out in studying the set-up, in order to decide structures aimed at extracting as much performance as possible from the natural potential of the F1-75, whose main limit was initially represented by porpoising. In view of the Barcelona race, the first package of countermeasures for bouncing was therefore studied as a whole, after which there was the context and sufficient technical knowledge to make development proceed at a rapid pace.
Unlike Red Bull, Ferrari has not repeatedly intervened to optimize the cooling of the front braking system or at least by not declaring it in official documents. In fact, the F1-75 rarely showed brake overheating problems and above all suffered to a lesser extent from tire overheating, thus not feeling particular need to work on the cooling ducts of the wheel group to improve the thermal management of the tires through heat transferred inside the rim.
Ferrari, on the other hand, has suffered and continues to suffer from difficulties in getting the tires up to temperature, especially the harder compounds in cool conditions. The Maranello team also did not make any changes to the front wing, contrary to some operations by Red Bull. All this becomes a symptom once again of a satisfactory level of energy transferred to the tires, a good aerodynamic balance of the car and a sufficient range of adjustments guaranteed by the wing at the beginning of the year.
Like any other single-seater on the grid, much of the development focused on the car body and the floor, the latter component which, already during the pre-season tests, has been progressively evolved through the opening of vents and the affixing of flow deviators. Starting with the Spanish Grand Prix, a new floor designed to combat porpoising was installed on the car, along with a narrow keel diffuser already tested during free practice in Melbourne.
A new bodywork debuted at Silverstone, revisited in the front area of the sidepods below the radiator air intakes, in order to channel the flows around the central body in a different way for a greater generation of load from the floor through a better compromise between extraction of air from the side edge and from the rear diffuser. Also in England, the F1-75 was equipped with a new engine cover, characterized by a narrower tail vent, thus reducing the impact of hot air evacuated from the engine compartment on the aerodynamic impact of the rear.
Finally, in France the team from Maranello brought a significant update to the Venturi channel, revised in the tunnel layout and in the entrance section, with the dual purpose of increasing the aerodynamic load released and reducing the sensitivity to porpoising. The updates immediately provided excellent responses at the Paul Ricard circuit, denoting a consistent leap in performance of the single-seater.
During the season, Red Bull made great efforts to develop up to five different beam-wing configurations, limiting itself to just two specifications for the rear wing. Ferrari, on the other hand, has developed numerous rear wings, counting up to five at the summer break. The changes have not been studied so much for balancing reasons, but to increase the aerodynamic efficiency of the profiles and the effectiveness of the DRS, in order to reduce the speed gap at the end of the straight as compared to the RB18: the Jeddah medium-load wing, the high-load version of Barcelona, the lower Baku configuration already available from Miami and the new Canadian spoon geometry introduced on Charles Leclerc car, the latter accompanied from a revised beam-wing. At the same time, Ferrari maintained a single front wing while alternating five different versions of rear ailerons, which denotes how wide the intervals were available for adjusting the load at the front.
During the first part of the 2022 Formula 1 season there was also no shortage of work carried out on small details. In Baku, for example, the new supports for the rear-view mirrors made their debut, further refined at the Silverstone stage.
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Overall, the F1-75 update schedule can only be positive. The development work was not as prolific in quantity as that of Red Bull, but it was not less effective. The Scuderia has always operated targeted interventions, studied with care and often with substantial changes and a significant impact on performance. All this constitutes a positive sign in view of the final part of the season and most importantly for 2023, especially on the creative and productive abilities of the team, but above all on the validity of the tools and design methodologies within the Scuderia.
Ferrari 2022 development ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, according to formulapassion.it:
-Bahrain: progressive evolution of the floor through successive modifications during free practice.
-Saudi Arabia: medium-low load rear wing.
-Australia: different design of the central ramp of the diffuser (tested on Friday).
-Miami: new low-load rear wing.
-Barcelona: floor; diffuser; external aerodynamic appendages to the rear brake air intakes; new high load rear wing.
-Monaco: / (plausible adjustment of the steering kinematics, not officially confirmed).
-Baku: rearview mirror support.
-Canada: medium load higher efficiency rear wing; low load beam-wing.
-Silverstone: bodywork (sidepods and engine cover); rear-view mirror supports.
-France: Venturi channels