Ferrari has a clear intention to overturn the recent competitive narrative. The SF-23 seen in the Netherlands was too bad to be true. As analyzed yesterday, the technicians of the Prancing Horse are confident in their ability to maximize the characteristics of the Italian car. Furthermore, the nominal power of the 066/10 engine will undoubtedly be a weapon to be fully utilized.
For the rest, the usual combination of aerodynamics and mechanics will be given due attention, as the balance between developed downforce and drag plays a key role in optimizing lap times. There’s much anticipation for the red car, and the awareness of being able to have a different weekend from the last one. This, at least on paper, is the intention of the Prancing Horse on the sidelines of the simulations developed in Maranello during the past few days.
Through the initial images arriving from the Italian pitlane, we can examine some aerodynamic setups. As we know, the three high-speed zones that characterize the Italian circuit lead to the use of specific setups with low or medium downforce, depending on the characteristics of each car. We should remember that Monza’s “secret” doesn’t solely concern excessive reduction in wing angle of attack.
On the contrary, it’s about finding the right compromise between top speed and rear stability. There are critical braking zones where having a stable rear on entry is crucial. This setup will also be achieved through the vehicle’s mechanical adjustments. Many teams reduce wing-generated downforce to minimize the so-called “form resistance.” Simultaneously, they seek to make the most of the downforce generated by the combination of the floor and diffuser.
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For this reason, a suspension stiffness compromise must be found to achieve satisfactory mechanical grip and a stable aerodynamic platform to properly utilize the car’s underfloor. This is why ride heights are crucial: the team that manages to have the smallest distance to the reference plane (asphalt) will automatically gain an advantage, making the most of the car’s “underside.”
Red Bull: Aero Approach at the rear of the RB19
Keeping these concepts in mind, let’s analyze the choices made by the top teams. Red Bull engineers have reintroduced a specific main plane seen earlier at Spa-Francorchamps before the summer break. However, two different aerodynamic setups are present, suggesting a comparison will occur during the practice sessions. The two versions differ in the second flap, with its trailing edge cut by a few centimeters and an additional nolder.
Currently, this specification is mounted on the car number 1 of the reigning world champion, Max Verstappen. Meanwhile, on Checo Perez’s single-seater, we can observe the specification used in Belgium, which lacks the nolder on the trailing edge. The Milton Keynes team executed a very similar comparison last year. Additionally, it’s still unclear which configuration is planned for the beam wing, as currently, only the first element appears to be present in the Monza paddock in view of the Italian Grand Prix.
Ferrari SF-23: Aerodynamic Setup Customized for Monza
Regarding Ferrari, we observe a new low-downforce rear wing, designed based on the configuration seen on the same track last year. The relevant part of the car features a nearly horizontal main profile with a shallow leading edge. In this case as well, the profile tends to be less loaded at its extremities, reducing the induced resistance from the “wing-tips vortex.”
In simplified terms, we have three types of resistance: form, induced, and viscous. The men from Maranello have reduced the first two, presenting downforce levels quite similar to those in 2022, albeit with clear revisions. We’re awaiting the choices regarding the beam wing, as we saw a specification in Zandvoort with the second element moved higher with reduced angle of attack.
Concerning the front, we note the presence of the Budapest specification with a revision. In this case, we find a last flap with a reduced chord in its central portion. Therefore, just like Red Bull, we cannot exclude some comparative tests with the more loaded standard version. We should remember that the red car suffers from chronic understeer, which should be less pronounced here due to reduced rear downforce.
Source: Alessandro Arcari and Niccoló Arnerich for FUnoanalisitecnica