Ferrari will unveil its car today. An SF-24 ready to reveal its forms to the world, with much curiosity to understand how the Prancing Horse has performed during the winter. Project 676 awaits validation on the track when technicians and drivers can finally gather crucial data to verify the effectiveness of the work done through the first shakedown on the home track.
Today we can anticipate some interesting aspects related to the latest aero-mechanical engineering work of the red team. Over the past few months, we have dedicated a lot of attention to the Maranello single-seater, aware that 95% of the car, as the protagonists themselves claim, has undergone various modifications to correct and increase competitiveness.
We expect several changes compared to the 2023 car, both aerodynamically and mechanically. Firstly, we can say that the rear wing will be different. Although the nose detached from the main plane will continue to be present, the wing located at the front of the car will have a different design in its shapes, particularly concerning the last profile of the four allowed by the technical regulations.
We are talking about a specific profile with a decidedly more continuous trend that will present variations on the chord of the profile in its width. This means that the drop will be of lesser extent towards the outside. While the endplate should not undergo particular variations, as it was already updated during the past season with more congruent trends, aligning itself with more factual technical dictates for the current regulatory body.
Ferrari SF-24, changes to the push-rod kinematics: more anti-dive, greater rigidity, lower drag
At the front, we anticipate a change in the setup regarding the front suspension, which had given the SF-23 a chronic understeer behaviour, a car “equipped” with two overlapping triangles quite close in height. Their inclination in space provided a certain percentage of anti-dive, which, however, was not sufficient.
The lower triangle should remain similar, while the upper one should be completely redesigned to conform to the current trend. The first link of the upper wishbone will be raised by several millimeters. An “extreme” attachment will be sought, useful for increasing the percentage of anti-dive and, at the same time, creating a preferential channel for the incoming clean flow.
The new arrangement of the triangles would lead to a different kinematics, raising the roll center. This prerogative would mean reducing the moment arm of the inertia forces because it would decrease the vertical distance between this point and the center of mass, increasing suspension stiffness and camber recovery. The reason is “simple” because the trapezoid has different-sized lower and upper sides at the front and is not parallel.
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Moreover, we know how the front wing produces a very strong upwash effect. Therefore, the fluid must be redirected downwards (downwash) to continue its path. In this sense, a first arm positioned higher in space is very useful to the cause. The two triangles will have a greater height spacing. A move that provides greater rigidity, being able to use reduced thickness links that lower drag and provide upper flow cleanliness.
Ferrari SF-24: intrusion cone repositioned, doubt about the S-Duct system
In the central area, we will see a new layout of the side pods. As we now know with certainty, the intrusion cone will be lowered by several millimeters, bringing it to the lower limit of the regulatory box. Already in Spain, the SF-23 had changed radically, but tomorrow we will see a significantly greater undercut. An operation that required a different internal positioning of the components related to the power unit.
Like all teams, Ferrari has placed several internal elements in a more backward position, with the clear aim of optimizing the cubic centimeters of the undercut. Radiant masses, control units, and electrical components moved back will occupy more of the central area of the car. The “S-Duct” could “steal” space from the undercut, and the channeling to eliminate the low-energy boundary layer that flows over the side wall of the chassis has been questioned.
Nevertheless, it seems that Ferrari has spent time and money to have this solution on board, believing in its benefits. Perhaps absent in tomorrow’s unveiling, we still expect a floor with a sharp edge, revised to adapt to the new flow structure that surrounds the side pods. Like other cars, we will find two modified side extractors in their conformation. The rear suspension layout will be different in terms of kinematics, although it will retain the pull-rod scheme, even if it may partly obstruct the passage of the flow towards the rear of the car.
Source: Niccoló Arnerich and Alessandro Arcari for FUnoanalisitecnica