For Ferrari, as is the case with the rest of the teams, the current regulatory framework has shown how small details, even those that may seem more insignificant, if carefully considered, can make a significant difference. It’s a bit of a recurring story in F1, even though, with two championship seasons of experience, the wing cars exhibit a sensitivity far superior to that seen in recent seasons, with regulations in force until the 2021 racing campaign.
Red Bull has successfully interpreted the technical dictates of the latest regulatory revolution, especially considering that, unlike other teams, they did not change their basic philosophy but rather improved it. In this regard, the Prancing Horse missed the mark. Although the project seemed right at the beginning of 2022, the limitations of this philosophy emerged in bulk, especially when the notorious Technical Directive TD039 changed the parameters related to ride heights. Starting from a blank slate for the upcoming championship is not the most accurate definition for Ferrari.
Certainly, there will be several changes, and as emphasized by Enrico Cardile, the technical director of the Scuderia, the future Italian car will undoubtedly be different. To be as clear as possible, we must assert that the foundation of the SF-23 will be partly maintained, despite significant changes. One of the most decisive factors, on which a mistake was not allowed, concerned the configuration of the car’s chassis. Unlike aerodynamics, it was not possible to modify this component of the vehicle at will under the cost cap.
Enrico Cardile admits that this factor was underestimated by Ferrari. The positioning of the intrusion structures on the Ferrari SF-23 was not optimal, inhibiting a change in philosophy during the season when the 2022 design choice proved to be highly penalizing. The lateral intrusion cones were positioned at the maximum height allowed by the regulatory volume. This “simplified” structure allowed the lowered placement of electronics behind the radiating masses.
During the design of an F1 car, it is never easy to consider all its various components carefully. The design choice aims to maximize performance with a precise setup. However, given the results of the 2024 racing campaign, it is clear that the decisions made on the red car did not pay off enough in relation to the more fruitful technical dictates of the current regulations.
The subtitle of the article includes a strong adjective: losing. Using it to “comment” on the characteristics of the Ferrari 2023 is not wrong. With the clear goal of changing things in the near future, the engineers in Maranello have studied a new configuration that can eliminate the aforementioned problems. It’s a “different” car, as defined by Enrico, aiming to achieve the maximum benefits allowed by current technical regulations.
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An internal restyling is ongoing, an operation that has been carefully thought out to reposition various internal components of the car using more “narrow” spaces. The lateral intrusion cone will be moved downward and will no longer be incorporated into the side pods but rather into the floor itself. Despite the fact that the proposed solution takes inspiration from the Anglo-Austrian car, this does not mean that the red car will be a carbon copy of the RB19. It is a winning idea that will be further developed and adapted to some peculiar and still good characteristics of the old SF-23.
Moreover, Ferrari and Mercedes are expected to make further progress and cannot limit themselves to “chasing” Red Bull, which, in fact, has been refining these concepts for about two years. In Milton Keynes, they have done a lot of work to compact the internal components as much as possible, streamlining the side pods with small but numerous updates, varying the volume of the radiators and relocating some internal components of the solid RB19. Returning to the next Italian aeromechanical engineering work, a couple of things remain to be said.
The shapes of the bodywork around the radiators will change, that’s for sure. A reshaping that essentially follows the changes made inside the car. In other words, from an aerodynamic point of view, Ferrari wants to create a greater pressure field to generate a more substantial outwash effect and, at the same time, ensure a “clean stream” to the rear of the car for vertical load production.
Everything has been studied in detail because, by adopting this prerogative, the turbulence created by the tire rolling must be taken into account, a crucial aspect to ensure “aerodynamic uniformity” for the car. The result? Being able to achieve excellent performance in medium-fast cornering, ensuring stability. This distinctive feature provides safety to the drivers, allowing them to access higher speeds in this type of corner.
Source: Alessandro Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica