Rectifying damages is never easy. Scuderia Ferrari knows this well and has been trying for many months. The 675 project has been a failure. There’s no point in beating around the bush. The Milton Keynes team has done an extraordinary job during the winter, and thinking that they can come close to the performance of the RB19 in the race is somewhat utopian, considering the current gap. However, there have been several steps forward for the Scuderia. The package of updates presented during the Spanish Grand Prix satisfies the Ferrari Racing Division technicians.
There is talk of a 2/3 tenths of a second gain, although it is always difficult to understand the real benefit. The car is easier to drive and, it seems, despite the narrow setup window, its behavior is slightly less “picky,” as they say in jargon. To fully validate the update and define the best path for fine-tuning the car, Silverstone is awaited. The track has peculiar characteristics that will provide a more reliable assessment in this regard.
Meanwhile, they continue with aeromechanical tests that go well beyond the free practice sessions, as we mentioned last week. During the second stint in Canada, the track engineers asked the Ferrari drivers for continuous tests related to the drivability of the car. The objective is obvious: to constantly try to capture any detail, no matter how small, that is very useful for a better understanding of the car and, consequently, to identify the future development areas to focus on.
Carlos Sainz confirms the targeted study of the Ferrari SF-23 in any available session. The direct testimony of the aforementioned approach, a practice on which we have been writing articles for a long time, candidly comes from those directly involved. The Spaniard, in fact, asserts that in all the runs available during the weekend, the attention to the gathered feedback is very high, experimenting with suspension and aerodynamic setups to definitively address the deep-rooted issues of the SF-23 car. The goal is to dispel doubts by finding the necessary unity of purpose, an aspect they are working on.
There is something to be said about this thorny issue. Yes, because despite the evident efforts made, the working methodology still struggles to take off. New ideas are examined and subsequently put into action. We agree. However, developing an F1 car requires much more than just goodwill. And considering the current technical shortcomings where several roles are occupied by temporary substitutes, the results are not as optimal as they should be.
And it’s not just external criticism. Of course not. After all, there have always been criticisms within Ferrari since the dawn of time, and unfortunately, as planned, there always will be. Coming together, closing the doors of Via Abetone Inferiore No. 4 tightly and never considering others’ opinions: this is the attitude to adopt in such a context for a rapid ascent to more suitable shores.
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Fiorano: Another Test Field for the Ferrari SF-23
The technical regulations of the International Federation provide for two annual sessions dedicated to filming the single-seaters for purely promotional purposes. Ferrari has decided to use this second bonus before heading to Austria. In this context, there is no prohibition on fitting new parts to the cars, and for this reason, although not entirely freely, these days are usually used by the teams to test new aerodynamic configurations.
During the 100 kilometers allowed by the regulatory body, which is slightly less than a third of a Grand Prix distance, Carlos Sainz took to the track with car number 55, completing 11 laps in which various measurements were made using the usual constant speed runs, as planned. The same goes for the suspension setup, which was observed by comparing it with the one used in Montreal.
During the afternoon session, after the lunch break, the modified car with number 16 appeared in full view. The Ferrari driven by Charles Leclerc features further updates. We’re talking about “necessary” innovations to further improve the management of airflow towards the rear end.
The front wing has been largely revised. While the main plane and the first additional flap remain unchanged, the last two profiles have undergone changes. The outermost area has been refined, seeking a different distribution of vertical load. In the previous version, introduced in Saudi Arabia, the downforce was concentrated in a more inner area, while in the new specification, it is distributed more evenly. Furthermore, the profiles have a more linear descent towards the outside, where the last of the two still has some influence even at its extremities.
Although the overall produced load seems apparently unchanged, the way it is produced changes. With a different distribution of vertical thrust, the pressure gradient between the inner and outer zones varies, thus altering the outwash effect. This is the real motivation behind this update. We also notice a complete reshaping of the endplate, which is now smaller and lacks the cut at the base that characterized the previous version.
Continuing with the observation of the front wing, we note another difference. We refer to the winglet attached to the outer wall of the vertical profile. All of this suggests that the Ferrari engineers have chosen a specific repositioning of the vortex-generating structure that separates from the wing, whose task is aimed at managing the squirt produced by the rolling of the front tire. This is a significant change that further distances the current car from the original design, as explained by F1 experts Alessandro Arcari and Niccoló Arnerich for FUnoanalisitecnica.
Ferrari SF-23: Changes to the Leading Edge of the Floor
Moving to the central area of the car, we can comment on several “transformations” related to the floor, which was already completely revised in the Spanish update. The changes focus on the initial portion, while the rest of the floor is the one analyzed at Montmelò a few weeks ago. First of all, we notice that a single-step external vertical baffle is being used again instead of a double step. This is a step back that still needs to be validated, and we will only understand in the near future if it will indeed be confirmed in future races.
But the most significant modification concerns the further raising of the leading edge of the floor, an operation aimed at increasing the volume of affected air. Furthermore, thanks to the side view of the Ferrari SF-23, we can see that the vertical fences have been extended, as in the previous specification, they started at the level of the floor. These appendages are located at the entrance of the Venturi channels. The regulations allow for four of them, tasked with generating the fluid structures essential for creating front and rear downforce. Their extension reveals a possible modification of their shape.
Lastly, it is worth emphasizing one fact. Despite the 2023 racing campaign being clearly irrecoverable, the hope of the Ferrari team to close the performance gap with Red Bull remains alive. This evidence arises from the awareness of the still untapped potential. In other words, according to the minds at Maranello, if a complete understanding of the SF-23 is achieved, beating the RB19 and winning some stages is not impossible.