According to English senior performance engineer Jock Clear, the upgrades introduced by Scuderia Ferrari in Barcelona would have helped alleviate one of the SF-23’s main weaknesses, despite the final result not meeting expectations at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The Maranello team significantly revised the sidepod area, moving away from the “bathtubs” philosophy of the former F1-75, to align more with their direct rivals.
Jock Clear explains why the Barcelona upgrades mitigated key SF-23 weaknesses
“What you see most on the sidepod is probably not a primary factor,” said the British engineer. “It’s a secondary part. It’s what you do with the floor and the diffuser that determines where the downforce comes from.”
“This leads to pushing the air to different points above the floor. You don’t look at this aspect and say, ‘We have to choose these different sidepods.’ You look at what happens on the floor around the rear wheel and say, ‘Okay, we have to change the design there.’ The result of this design change is that you end up with a different sidepod.” – the 59-year-old engineer explained.
According to Jock Clear, therefore, the significant change in philosophy in the sidepod area would have been merely a natural consequence of work on the floor and the rear, rather than the other way around. Furthermore, according to the engineer, this would have helped make the SF-23 car less “peaky.”
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“Our Achilles’ heel has been a car that is very sensitive to peaks. And I think that has become a somewhat more solid aspect compared to the past when we just made the car a little more docile. It’s an upgrade that has brought performance. Not just in terms of power but also in terms of increased airflow in the rear of the car,” Jock Clear adds. “But in doing so, it has also made the car a bit less sensitive to wind, oscillations, and changes in altitude.” – he pointed out.
Although the final result of the Spanish Grand Prix was far from satisfying for the Maranello team, the upgrades introduced in Barcelona would have helped the SF-23 become less unpredictable. Additionally, they would have made the car less sensitive to sudden changes in conditions.
The goal for Canada now becomes optimizing the entire package to finally achieve significant results. Most likely, Scuderia Ferrari will focus on using the second half of the 2023 Formula One season as a testing ground to evaluate solutions for next year’s Formula 1 car.