Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel was the first to admit that the Maranello team got lucky at the Australian Grand Prix with the manner of its victory, and that for the moment the SF71H is still not what he wants it to be. Yet its race-winning start to the 2018 Formula 1 season has given it a good platform on which to build and improve what is a quite different car from its predecessor.
motorsport.com looks at the key areas where the Italian team has managed to make significant change during this winter in a bid to deliver a car that it hopes can bring home the world title. Giorgio Piola and Matt Somerfield explain the unique design aspect of the SF71H and the major changes from last season:
Rather than seeing Mercedes’ longer wheelbase philosophy as a weakness last year, Scuderia Ferrari felt that it was actually the better route to go down with its 2018 car. The SF71H is just over 100mm longer than its predecessor. This solution offers the team several possibilities in terms of packaging and weight distribution, and enables it to further improve the work done around the car’s midriff in 2017. The unconventional sidepod design was seen as a standout feature of the SF70H, with the low-slung and forward placing of the upper side impact spar a feature of the Red Bull, Williams and Haas this year.
The idea allows them to push back and redesign their cooling inlets, repackage the internals and reshape the subsequent sidepod surfaces. It’s a holistic approach to improve the sidepod’s performance in its entirety, but it was driven by a a primary desire to move the sidepods further away from the wake generated by the front tyres. A unique design aspect of the SF71H is its wing mirrors, as the Maranello team has created two distinct surfaces in order to improve airflow around them.
The outer casing has a hole in the front of it exposing an inner shell, which is carefully shaped in order to optimise flow around the inner surface of the mirror and reduce the turbulence that ordinarily surrounds it. The design cleverly improves not only the aero performance of the wing mirror in isolation, but in doing so should also improve the surrounding airflows path toward the sidepod’s upper inlet. Even with two pre-season tests under its belt, Ferrari had some questions about its 2018 front wing that it needed answering at the Australian GP – which is why it opted to run some back-to-back tests on a design from last year.