During the winter there was a lot of talk about the Ferrari gearbox, the area of the SF21 in which the Maranello team decided to spend the two development tokens, in an attempt to make the car a lot more competitive than the disappointing SF1000 from the 2020 Formula 1 season.
And it must be acknowledged to the Maranello technicians that the modification of the transmission was certainly the key that contributed to the improvement of the car. In the British GP Ferrari took a brilliant second place, as Charles Leclerc also came very close to taking Ferrari to an incredible victory, as the Monegasque led 50 of the 52 laps scheduled, before being overtaken in the final by Lewis Hamilton in furious comeback with the Mercedes W12.
Giorgio Piola’s design allows us to discover some secrets of the Ferrari transmission, designed to reduce the lateral dimensions in order to recover a part of the pavement surface which, by regulation, has been cut in the lateral trailing edge. But the real novelty came from the elevation of the differential from the floor by about thirty millimeters. They may seem like a small thing, with a slight increase in weight upwards, which leads to a disadvantage due to a worse center of gravity, but having reduced the “keel” in the tail has allowed to significantly increase the flow rate in the rear diffuser, increasing the downforce produced by the car body.
It may seem strange, but it is also thanks to the different transmission box that Ferrari has been able to afford the use of a more lower downforce rear wing configuration which has unquestionably improved aerodynamic efficiency, reducing drag and, therefore, increasing top speeds, the big Achilles heel of last year’s SF1000 car.