Haas, like Ferrari, struggles to shine. These four words perfectly explain the ongoing woes of the American racing team. It’s a context that has persisted for a while, from which the American car cannot seem to break free. On the occasion of their home Grand Prix, the American car undergoes a transformation. We’re talking about the latest Formula 1 car in the batch, which is shifting towards more profitable technical principles within the current regulations, effectively abandoning the outdated concepts of the prancing horse.
Under the formidable constraints of the budget cap, which regulates the annual spending limit for racing teams, it’s not at all easy to modify a Formula 1 car. This is especially true when engineers decide to shift towards different design philosophies through a complete aerodynamic reshaping. In this regard, the Kannapolis team took quite some time, but in the end, almost out of sheer frustration, they chose a new design direction that will serve as the basis for the 2024 season.
As mentioned for Mercedes and Aston Martin, considering the unique format of the weekend, which includes the Sprint Race once again, the ability of the technicians to understand the car in just one hour of free practice must be exceptional. The goal is to gather as much data as possible and face the challenging validation process. Without further delay, let’s delve into the analysis of the “new” VF-23, a car that aims to make a performance leap starting from this weekend in their home territory.
Haas VF-23: Ferrari will have access to the technical-intellectual properties of the American car
Thanks to the images from Spanish journalist Albert Fabrega, we can examine the technical improvements made to the Haas car. First and foremost, it’s worth considering an interesting technical point. The historic Ferrari team will closely observe the upgrades introduced by the American team. The reason is quite simple, as the Prancing Horse will receive feedback on the new parts installed on the VF-23. This is a very big advantage for evaluating the next steps to be taken for Project 676.
These upcoming races will once again be used to conduct on-track aerodynamic testing for the 2024 cars. While there are no restrictions on simulations, testing for updates in the wind tunnel is regulated in terms of hours. This is the limit that Ferrari is trying to bypass by “utilizing” Haas, whose car shares several similarities with the SF-23.
The innovations presented in Texas mainly concern the side pods. First, the entry section, as seen in the image above, has undergone a clear remodelling, effectively eliminating the floor in the style of Alpha Tauri/Red Bull. We’re talking about extending the lower entry edge, which increases the static pressure and, consequently, enhances the outwash generated by the car.
The initial configuration of the sidepod has changed, with further narrowing in the cone area, which is now partially visible. This solution is somewhat similar to what was seen on the Ferrari car. The other update that can be noticed aligns with the changes presented in Spain on the SF-23. The rear section of the side pods on the VF-23 abandons the upwash philosophy that used to feed the beam wing and instead embraces the more profitable downwash setting.
It will be very interesting to understand, over the course of the upcoming weekend, how the vortex structure of the American car behaves in this specific area. Technicians in North Carolina have likely decided to increase the airflow in the area between the rear tire and the diffuser side. This is a measure that Ferrari has not implemented, but it will receive valuable feedback for the future.
Source: Alessandro Arcari and Niccoló Arnerich for FUnoanalisitecnica