Things are getting serious at Ferrari. The desire to change gears in this anonymous 2023 Formula One championship is growing stronger. And it couldn’t be otherwise, after all. And since sometimes trying can lead to success, the team from Maranello is not letting go. There is a determined surge in updates and a strong desire to test them during the only available hour this weekend. And yes, that’s sixty minutes before the official sessions: the first free practice session, qualifying for the Sunday race, qualifying for the Sprint (Shootout format), and the Sprint Race. And then, the race.
Optimizing the performance of a car from 13:30 to 14:30, with a green track no less, will certainly not be a walk in the park. Yet, there are those who will succeed, perhaps by being better than others in simulations and arriving on track with a very good baseline setup. We don’t know if this will be the case for the Prancing Horse. We can only hope so.
For the rest, what else can we add? Several topics have been thoroughly addressed in recent days. On the technical side, for example, we have commented on the innovations aimed at incorporating the missing piece on the setup side. We refer to the updates on the front end, the front wing with a more balanced load distribution, and those in the central area of the car, with different shaping of some fences.
Then there is the power unit issue: at the 4.318-kilometre Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the use of the power unit plays a crucial role for various reasons. Ferrari has studied a particular mapping configuration to take advantage of the maximum hybrid and internal combustion unit support. It remains to be seen if the studies conducted in this regard will prove effective.
Ferrari: Front wing reducing drag
Another small detail about the SF-23 is noticed on the nose, where the tip appears to be positioned further back. This adjustment creates a larger portion of the main plane, which is now more “free” and no longer occupied by the extension of the protrusion. This is a micro-aerodynamic adjustment that apparently aims to reduce the increase in local static pressure in this specific area.
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Although at first glance, the novelty may be labeled as a “minor variation,” in reality, we know how much attention technicians pay to avoid unnecessarily increasing drag. It is precisely on the nose tip where a certain “fluid blockage” occurs, leading to a loss of energy in the flow that will then move adjacent to the sidewall of the protrusion.
Examining the outer part of the front wing, as we have seen with Mercedes, Ferrari also adopts a small aerodynamic appendage whose task is to generate the downwash effect. This feature, along with the rest of the updates, helps push down the vortex that detaches from the front wing by adding one with opposite rotation. Its function involves controlling the tire squirt produced by the front tire, as explained by F1 experts Alessandro Arcari and Niccoló Arnerich for FUnoanalisitecnica.
Ferrari SF-23: More Downforce to Manage Traction and Cornering Speed
Ferrari and Red Bull choose different paths ahead of the Austrian weekend, following what we saw last year, as we anticipated yesterday. The SF-23 will have a lighter setup, aiming to improve sector one lap times, where they lost most of their time in 2022, and then build a positive gap. The RB19 adopts the most used configuration in this championship.
On the contrary, Ferrari opts for a medium-downforce approach with the specification tested in Bahrain and then discarded due to excessive vibrations. As mentioned earlier, with only one free practice session available to fine-tune the car, following a known path in terms of downforce is considerably safer. This way, they will try to fully exploit traction and speed in the second and third sectors without significantly increasing the resistance to forward motion.