Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

2019 tech verdict: Ferrari founders, but then finds form

Join us as we delve into Giorgio Piola’s 2019 archive and bring you insight into the relentless development undertaken by the teams throughout a season in the pursuit of more performance. In today’s gallery we will focus on… Ferrari.

2019 tech verdict: Ferrari founders, but then finds form

After winning the pre-season testing war, this was the year that Ferrari was supposed to truly challenge Mercedes for the world championship. So what went wrong?

Besides Bahrain, where newcomer Charles Leclerc was robbed of a first win due to an engine problem, its early-season form was poor and a lack of downforce was apparent. Only when the season hit the lower-downforce or power-dependent circuits – like Montreal, the Red Bull Ring, Spa and Monza – did the slippery SF90 truly come into its own.

Its power output soon became a focus of attention, with rivals seeking FIA technical clarifications in an attempt to negate its advantage. Ferrari did make decent steps with its car’s balance and downforce levels as the season developed, proved by Sebastian Vettel's win in Singapore, but by the time it was in a position to challenge Mercedes the title race was already over.

Click on the arrows on the images below to scroll through them…

Ferrari SF90 side detail

Ferrari SF90 side detail
1/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari’s sidepod and cooling game really lifted back in 2017 when it was the first to adopt the low-slung side impact spar and pushed back sidepod inlet. The regulation changes for 2019 were widesweeping but none had a severe effect on this area of the car, so gains here might be seen as minimal. Ferrari was still keen to make improvements here though, utilising a flow-through duct alongside the chassis (blue arrow), while also following on from the example set by others when it comes to using the tail-end of the halo transition for cooling.

Ferrari SF90 floor

Ferrari SF90 floor
2/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Having already tested vertical fins on the floor ahead of the rear wheels at Austin in 2018, the team pushed on with the concept for 2019. The fins help to improve flow circulation ahead of the rear wheels, helping to reduce the negative aerodynamic impact that the wheel wake and tyre squirt can create.

Ferrari SF90 DRS

Ferrari SF90 DRS
3/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari, like several other teams, used a tail section on the DRS pod for 2019. This stabilises the rear wing when DRS is activated, preventing the flap from over-extending.

Ferrari SF90 front brakes comparison

Ferrari SF90 front brakes comparison
4/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For a number of years Ferrari has been using a blown axle solution (inset) which collected airflow at the inlet and fed it through the centre of the wheel to reduce the aerodynamic wake created by the wheel and tyre that can have a negative effect on the rest of the car. With blown axles banned for 2019, the team looked for ways to recover some of the effects it previously enjoyed and so expanded on the outer channels that drive airflow through the wheel rim instead.

Ferrari SF90 floor Azerbaijan GP

Ferrari SF90 floor Azerbaijan GP
5/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Further development of the floor slots ahead of the rear wheels was undertaken for the Azerbaijan GP, with the rearmost slot extended all the way across to the vertical strake and another slot added on the other side of it.

Ferrari SF90 detail front wing Azerbaijan GP

Ferrari SF90 detail front wing Azerbaijan GP
6/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari’s front wing is the unloaded variant – a design that sees the outer portion of the wing reduced in height near the endplate to reduce the strength of the vortex created here.

Ferrari SF90 front wing endplate

Ferrari SF90 front wing endplate
7/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For the Spanish GP, Ferrari decided to make some alterations to the front wing, changing the bend in the endplate, whilst also adding a small triangular Gurney-like tab before the trailing edge of the footplate.

Ferrari SF90 front wing endplate comparsion

Ferrari SF90 front wing endplate comparsion
8/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The changes seen here from the side also show how a notch was removed from the upper rear corner of the endplate too.

Ferrari SF90 front brakes, Austrian GP

Ferrari SF90 front brakes, Austrian GP
9/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Seen here at the Austrian GP, Ferrari used a scalloped face on the brake disc when it needed maximum cooling, as this design increased the total surface area available.

Ferrari SF90, rear wing endplate

Ferrari SF90, rear wing endplate
10/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This illustration of the rear wing from the Austrian GP shows how the team used multiple strakes on the upper section of the endplate to improve the overall performance of the wing.

Ferrari SF90, nose

Ferrari SF90, nose
11/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team also made changes to the nose and turning vanes for the Austrian GP, with an additional longitudinal strake added at the base of the wing pillars to help improve flow around and through the slots, while the rear vane usually hung from the underside of the nose was moved back onto the chassis.

Ferrari SF90, nose

Ferrari SF90, nose
12/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This rearward image of the front wing pillars affords a better view of the strake introduced to help with airflow management.

Ferrari SF90, bargeboard

Ferrari SF90, bargeboard
13/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The team introduced a new bargeboard arrangement for the Hungarian GP in an effort to improve downforce deficiencies.

Ferrari SF90 front wing

Ferrari SF90 front wing
14/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Already the cream of the crop in a straightline, the Scuderia were looking to devastate rivals at the ‘Temple of Speed’ and ran with an extremely skinny upper flap configuration at Monza.

Ferrari SF90, front wing comparison

Ferrari SF90, front wing comparison
15/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In a bid to resolve its higher downforce woes, the Scuderia installed a new nose solution for the Singapore GP, which incorporated the under-nose cape solution used widely up and down the grid. This side-by-side comparison gives us a clearer understanding of how it achieved its installation with the cape integrated into the front wing pillars.

Ferrari SF90, floor

Ferrari SF90, floor
16/17

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari made further changes to its floor in a bid to improve downforce and aerodynamic consistency too, integrating metal stiffeners in the floor where it was prone to flexing under load.

Ferrari SF90, exhausts comparison

Ferrari SF90, exhausts comparison
17/17
With an eye on 2020, Ferrari arrived at the last race of the season with a new solution to test that sees the wastegate pipework once again split into two. It bears a significant resemblance to the design that Red Bull ran in the latter phases of its campaign with the tailpipes turned up to face the underside of the wing.

Read Also:

shares
comments
Hamilton still revisits texts from "great pillar" Lauda

Previous article

Hamilton still revisits texts from "great pillar" Lauda

Next article

Kubica: Tough 2019 season worth it to "close a chapter"

Kubica: Tough 2019 season worth it to "close a chapter"
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Author Giorgio Piola
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021