Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
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Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

F1 2021 tech review images: Ferrari & McLaren

Join us as we take a look at some of the best technical illustrations and images, courtesy of Giorgio Piola and Sutton Images, focusing on the development stories of McLaren and Ferrari.

F1 2021 tech review images: Ferrari & McLaren

McLAREN

McLaren MCL35M diffuser detail

McLaren MCL35M diffuser detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren had a unique solution for the new diffuser strake regulations that had been introduced by the FIA at the start of 2021. Reduced by 50mm as part of the regulatory overhaul the governing body had enacted to help reduce downforce, McLaren’s solution saw the innermost strakes connected to the central ramped section of the diffuser, creating a lower boundary than was intended.


McLaren MCL35M floor comparison

McLaren MCL35M floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren had been the first team to test a 2021 specification floor during the previous campaign, when they installed a tapered floor on the MCL35 during Free Practice at the Belgian GP. Their original design for 2021 was very similar to the test item but they would join the growing throng of competitors using the Z-shaped floor at the Spanish Grand Prix.


McLaren MCLM35M front wing new end plate

McLaren MCLM35M front wing new end plate

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The MCL35’s front wing footplate had some distinguishing features in order to help orchestrate the airflow’s direction and pressure distribution. Note the contouring used on the outer edge of the footplate, which has the square design in the front section but blends into more of an arched shape at the rear to accommodate the rear lip section.


McLaren MCL35M floor

McLaren MCL35M floor

Photo by: Uncredited

McLaren ran an updated floor at the Austrian Grand Prix with an additional ‘r’-shaped vane added to the cluster of fins and strakes found ahead of the rear tyre.


McLaren MCL35M new bargeboards: Imola

McLaren MCL35M new bargeboards: Imola

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren’s bargeboard and sidepod deflector region had already undergone a significant change during 2020, with the team converging on many of the solutions we saw elsewhere up and down the grid. Solutions such as, the venetian blind like deflector section, the disconnected vertical deflector and sidepod wing and given the next illustration we should also note the pair of downwash wings protruding from the main vertical bargeboard element.


McLaren MCL35M bargeboards

McLaren MCL35M bargeboards

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

These downwash wings were exchanged for a more prominent boomerang that connected the bargeboard with the forward-most vertical element within the sidepod deflector array, while a smaller, more purposeful downwash wing was mounted beneath it (red arrow). You’ll also note that changes continued to be made on the edge of the floor, with additional angled strakes added to help drive flow outboard (green arrow). Meanwhile, having introduced tighter bodywork the team also began using a louvered cooling panel beside the cockpit to help reject the created when demands were high.


McLaren MCL35M rear endplate detail

McLaren MCL35M rear endplate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren, like so many other teams, had already enjoyed the use of the sinuous louvres in the overhang section of the rear wing endplate, as first introduced by Haas. However, at the French Grand Prix they also introduced a similar, albeit inverted, version at the foot of the endplate.


McLaren MCL35M front wing detail

McLaren MCL35M front wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

We normally concentrate on the changes made at the rear of the cars to help boost straightline speed performance at the Italian Grand Prix, as the alterations are more obvious but they must also be balanced at the front of the car too. The front wing upper flap was cut back at the inboard end to help with this (red arrow).


McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Italian GP

McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Italian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren’s rear wing specification for the Italian Grand Prix saw the trailing edge of the top flap sat down below the height of the allowed box region (highlighted in yellow).


Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, with aero-paint on the rear wing

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, with aero-paint on the rear wing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The team painted the rear wings mainplane with flo-viz paint during Free Practice to visually ascertain whether it was performing as anticipated.


McLaren MCL35M floor detail

McLaren MCL35M floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A close up of the fins mounted in the forward section of the floor and around the Z-shaped cutout.


Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

More flo-viz, this time painted on the rear suspension and brake ducts to get visual confirmation they’re performing as expected from an aerodynamic point of view.


McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Russian GP

McLaren MCL35M rear wing, Russian GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For comparison the team's high downforce offering takes up more of the available box region and utilised a double T-Wing arrangement.


McLaren MCL35M rear wing

McLaren MCL35M rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Here we can see the high downforce arrangement being deployed at the Turkish Grand Prix.


McLaren MCL35M bargeboard detail

McLaren MCL35M bargeboard detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A great view of the bargeboard cluster from above - note the slots in the upper elements in order that they mirror those on the reference plane below. Also note the metal inserts used to help maintain rigidity, especially as the parts begin to age over their period of use.


McLaren MCL35M detail

McLaren MCL35M detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The extra louvred cooling panels beside the driver were in use at the Qatar Grand Prix


McLaren MCL35M detail

McLaren MCL35M detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A peek inside the MCL35M’s cockpit and predominantly at the steering wheel, with its various buttons, rotaries and switches used by the driver to tune certain aspects of the chassis and power unit's behaviour, whilst also allowing them to communicate with the team.


McLaren MCL35M detail

McLaren MCL35M detail

The MCL35M being prepared for action in Abu Dhabi - note the rear end has not yet been installed and so we get a view of the components from the rear.


Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A nice top down overview of the MCL35M showing off many of the details front-to-rear.


McLaren MCL35M brake drum open

McLaren MCL35M brake drum open

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A peak beneath the front brake drum cover reveals some of the details on how airflow is transported to the various elements that require cooling, whilst also offering a route out through the face of the wheel rim to aid aerodynamically.


McLaren MCL35M brake drum

McLaren MCL35M brake drum

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The drum cover has various channels which provide a pathway for the airflow to follow without being overly influenced by the heat generated by the brakes.


McLaren MCL35M detail

McLaren MCL35M detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A close up of the MCL35M’s diffuser at the Hungarian Grand Prix.


Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The team also ran with flo-viz daubed all over their bargeboard cluster during Free Practice in Hungary as they looked to ensure that their real world performance matched what they’d expected it to look like in their CFD and wind tunnel simulations.


McLaren MCL35M rear cooling comparison

McLaren MCL35M rear cooling comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

Four of the different rear cooling outlet packages that were run by McLaren during 2021, as they sought to strike the right balance between heat rejection and aerodynamic efficiency.


Sparks kick up from Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Sparks kick up from Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

A great shot that during the right climatic conditions allows us to see the tip vortex created by the rear wing.


Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, leaves the garage

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, leaves the garage

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

An overview of the MCL35M’s bargeboard cluster, sidepod deflectors and floor are afforded to us as Lando Norris exits the pitlane at the Dutch GP.

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FERRARI

Having spent its tokens at the rear of their 2021 challenger, Ferrari couldn’t make any structural changes to their nose. However, in an effort to improve flow around the main body and incorporate a more prominent cape they narrowed the front wing mounting pillars to free up the space needed.

Ferrari SF21 nose cap comparison

Ferrari SF21 nose cap comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola


Ferrari SF21 chassis winglet

Ferrari SF21 chassis winglet

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The SF21’s ‘S’-duct outlet was also framed by four winglets either side of the chassis to help divert the surrounding airflow.


Ferarri SF21 floor

Ferarri SF21 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Having tested a 2021-specification floor during Free Practice sessions in the previous season, the Scuderia initially implemented a tapered floor solution, much like what the rules had intended.
This included a trio of outwash winglets midway along the tapers length, a collection of winglets on the outer edge of the floor just before the tyre and a horizontal blade connecting them with the strake inboard of them. It also added a trio of fins beside the rear tyre to help mitigate any additional turbulence that might be caused by the regulation and tyre changes (inset, red arrow).


Ferrari SF21 floor

Ferrari SF21 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team moved to the Z-shaped floor cutout in Imola, utilising an angled strake on the forward joint in order to help promote the desired aerodynamic effect.


Ferrari SF21 floor detail comparison

Ferrari SF21 floor detail comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari followed this up by making changes to the number and design of the fins mounted on the rear outer edge of the floor.


Ferrari SF21 rear wing Spanish GP

Ferrari SF21 rear wing Spanish GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The high downforce wing used by the team featured elements that took up a significant percentage of the allowable box region and a double element T-Wing.


Ferrari SF21 rear wing qualification and race, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari SF21 rear wing qualification and race, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The lower downforce offering as a comparison with no T-Wing.


Ferrari SF21 rear wing FP1, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Ferrari SF21 rear wing FP1, Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The medium downforce wing sported a spoon-shaped mainplane in order to create more downforce in the central section of the wing, whilst reducing the drag created at the wing tips.


Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The Scuderia also had a few front wing specifications at their disposal, with notable differences to the shape of the footplate and the position of the adjuster, with the latter dictating how much of the wingspan is adjusted.


Ferrari SF21 floor and rear wing detail

Ferrari SF21 floor and rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The trio of outwash winglets that had featured on the tapered floor solution made a return later in the season, applied this time to the Z-shaped floor. Also note how the lower portion of the rear wing endplate was cut back, where previously it had a tail section.


Ferrari SF21 gearbox detail

Ferrari SF21 gearbox detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari spent its development tokens for the 2021 season on their gearbox carrier in order to extract more performance.


Ferrari SF21 front wing bottom

Ferrari SF21 front wing bottom

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Beneath the nose and between the wing pillars a splitter (highlighted in yellow) can be found that helps to align the airflow and take advantage of the now side mounted cape. Also note the small inlet housed just behind the splitter.


Ferrari SF21 brake drum detail

Ferrari SF21 brake drum detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari had numerous brake duct designs available during the course of the season to provide the optimum cooling to the various components and provide the necessary aerodynamic support.


Ferrari SF21 brake drum open

Ferrari SF21 brake drum open

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Here’s the more open basket design without the collar attached, which shows the gap that’s created between the two surfaces to help create a bypass for the airflow.


Ferrari 2022 brake disc

Ferrari 2022 brake disc

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In this version of the open basket an additional window was opened up around the brake disc to allow the heat rejected through the drill points a passage to escape into the bypass channel. You’ll also note that the team introduced a new brake material and drilling pattern towards the end of the season based on research into the 2022 design.


Ferrari SF21 extended suspension upright bracket detail

Ferrari SF21 extended suspension upright bracket detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Sticking with the SF21’s front end, here’s a bare suspension upright showing the lattice-like structure used to help save weight, whilst retaining the required stiffness. Note also the pushrod-on-upright extension which enables the pushrod to be mounted further outboard.


Steering wheel of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Steering wheel of Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Front view of the steering wheel used by Charles Leclerc, with the various buttons, rotaries and switches used to control the various power unit and chassis functions. Also note that Leclerc continues to use the single wishbone-style clutch lever (arrow).


Ferrari SF21 steering wheel detail of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Ferrari SF21 steering wheel detail of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Comparatively here’s the wheel used by Carlos Sainz Jnr, which as you’ll note has all the buttons, rotaries and switches in the same places as Leclerc but crucially has a different clutch paddle arrangement.


Ferrari SF21 steering wheel of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Ferrari SF21 steering wheel of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Easier to see from the rear view, Sainz chose a clutch paddle arrangement similar to the one he used whilst at McLaren in order that he could quickly get up to speed in his new surroundings.


Ferrari SF21 brake drum open

Ferrari SF21 brake drum open

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

One of the variants of the SF21’s front brake duct bodywork without the outer cowling attached.


Ferrari SF21 front brake detail

Ferrari SF21 front brake detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari uses a brake drum heater when the car is in the garage in order that all of the components are brought up to the optimum temperature.


Ferrari SF21 front brake drum detail

Ferrari SF21 front brake drum detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The more open version of the Ferrari brake duct designs includes a wedge-shaped strake to help define the airflows path in the bypass section.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A close up side view of the chassis horns mounted beside the ‘S’-duct outlet.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A close up of the trio of ‘r’-shaped fins added to the central section of the Z-shaped floor cutout.


Ferrari SF21 Cooling comparison

Ferrari SF21 Cooling comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

A look at some of the rear cooling outlet options used by Ferrari in the early stages of the season, along with the optional louvered cooling panels beside the cockpit (inset).


Ferrari SF21 rear wing detail

Ferrari SF21 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A shot of the lower downforce rear wing used by Ferrari at the Belgian GP, note the green dots on the wing which were used by the FIA for reference points when examining the rearward facing camera footage.


Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

A comparison of the front wing used at Monza, where the upper two flaps had been re-profiled.


Ferrari SF21 engine

Ferrari SF21 engine

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A shot of the Ferrari power unit during the car build at the Russian GP. Note how the exhausts weave their way under the ICE and into the gearbox casing behind the power unit.


Ferrari SF21 rear brake drum and sensor details

Ferrari SF21 rear brake drum and sensor details

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team mounted their large kiel probe array at the rear of the SF21 during Free Practice for the Turkish GP in order to collect data on the airflow's behaviour.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A close up of the outer section of the diffuser and the Gurney-like extensions that run around its periphery.


Ferrari SF21 rear detail

Ferrari SF21 rear detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This rear end shot of the SF21 at the United States GP allows us to take in plenty of detail, including the diffuser, rear suspension, brake duct winglets and the rear cooling outlet, which you’ll note is set forward above the suspension line.


Ferrari SF21 brake duct detail

Ferrari SF21 brake duct detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In comparison, in a shot from the Mexican GP we can see that the rear cooling outlet is no longer set forward above the suspension line and is altogether much larger to account for the demands of the circuit and altitude.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The SF21’s sidepod without the bodywork attached, which presents us with a view of the stacked radiator layout within.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

The SF21 was outfitted with a pitot tube stack on the floor all season.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A close up of the SF21’s bargeboard cluster and sidepod deflector region, note how the venetian blind section of the deflector is splayed, rather than being completely horizontal, in order it fans the passing flow stream.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

We get in even tighter here to take a look at the bargeboard cluster with its twin boomerang layout that requires slots in their surface that match to the slots in the elements on the reference plane below.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Another angle on the chassis horns mounted beside the ‘S’-duct outlet.


Ferrari SF21 detail

Ferrari SF21 detail

Photo by: Uncredited

The shape of the airbox on the SF1000 / SF21 allowed the team the space to have the airbox horns mounted alongside.


Ferrari SF21 in the garage

Ferrari SF21 in the garage

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Another shot of the SF21 in the garage with the front brake duct heaters attached. Also note the under chassis turning vanes which line up with the cape when the nose is attached to form a longer aerodynamic surface.


Ferrari SF21 front suspension detail

Ferrari SF21 front suspension detail

Photo by: Uncredited

With the vanity panel removed we’re afforded a view of some of the SF21’s inboard suspension elements.


Ferrari SF21 camera pod detail

Ferrari SF21 camera pod detail

Photo by: Uncredited

A specially-commissioned storage pod on top of the camera pod in which the team can place a bag of dry ice.


Steering wheel for Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Steering wheel for Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

A close up of the rear of Charles Leclerc’s steering wheel with several buttons and switches on display in the upper corners, whilst the shift and clutch paddles are slightly obfuscated.


Ferrari SF21 rear sensor detail

Ferrari SF21 rear sensor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The large kiel probe array returned in Abu Dhabi as the team collected data on the airflow's behaviour once more.

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