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

Why Ferrari has gone back to old ideas to move forward

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Why Ferrari has gone back to old ideas to move forward
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Co-author: Matthew Somerfield

Ferrari has been working hard in recent races trying out a raft of updates in a bid to make the progress it wants with its SF1000.

In order to get the best out of it car though, Ferrari has not only been looking to introduce a stream of new parts. It has also rummaged through some of its old design ideas and reapplied them to this year's car too.

One such idea that has returned in recent races but escaped our gaze until now is a roof panel for the coke bottle trench to form a tunnel.

Ferrari SF1000 detail
Ferrari SF1000 floor detail

It’s a solution that the team has had for the last few seasons but discarded going into 2020. However, it had left behind the trench in the floor, in order that more airflow could make its way through the coke bottle region and under the gearbox, before exiting over the central portion of the diffuser. 

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As we can see from the specification used in Russia, a small strap-like appendage remained: perhaps in an attempt to funnel the airflow that might be leaking out at that point.

The retrograde solution, introduced at Portimao, is more substantial and reaches forward to create the sort of tunnel section previously favoured by the Scuderia.

Ferrari SF1000 floor tunnel detail
Ferrari SF71H floor channels

As we can see from the front, the tunnel extends out under the lower wishbone (red arrow) in order to give the airflow flowing into the trench a pathway to follow, rather than being able to spill out over the sides.

Looking back through the design lineage of this section of the car, the trench itself predates even this ruleset, with Ferrari having in mind to use such a solution as far back as 2016 (left inset).

For its next phase of development it obviously saw fit to include the roof panel in order to isolate that flow so that it works with the corresponding diffuser layout.

Taking two steps back to stride forward

Based on these retrogrades, it’s clear to see that the team has taken a large step back in its development programme, with the majority of the changes made to the rear-end of their floor and diffuser for this season now largely dumped. 

It’s also interesting that it decided to make this u-turn at a point when it was investigating the effects of the 2021 regulations too, seeing as the changes are focused largely on the floor, diffuser and rear brake ducts.

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with 2021 rules

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with 2021 rules

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This would suggest that, whilst investigating the 2021 regulations, it discovered that this along with the accompanying retrogrades to its diffuser, floor and other areas of the car, yielded the best development path going forward. 

Three pronged attack

The Scuderia has made a succession of changes to the SF1000 over the last few races, all smaller changes that add up to a much larger package. Here we take a look through them...

Ferrari SF1000 nose inlet detail

Ferrari SF1000 nose inlet detail
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

At the Russian GP, the team focused on the front of the car, adopting a revised layout for its plough that captures airflow beside the nose tip and delivers it with more accuracy to the aerodynamic surfaces behind it. As we can see, this resulted in the team expanding the opening beside the nose tip.

Ferrari SF1000 front wing Russian GP comparison

Ferrari SF1000 front wing Russian GP comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari also unveiled a new set of turning vanes at the Russian GP, which featured three rows of vertical vanes mounted on the footplate. These just help to gather up the airflow and repurpose it at a point where it might be becoming turbulent or is in need of redirecting.

Ferrari SF1000 new bargeboard detail

Ferrari SF1000 new bargeboard detail
3/7

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The second phase of its development plan was introduced in Germany for the Eifel GP, with its focus now shifting to the central portion of the car. The tall elements at the front of the bargeboard cluster had their ratio altered, with the forwardmost slot moved further forward [1]. The upper boomerangs surface was also altered to account for other changes beneath it [2], whilst the vertical elements that sit on the outer boundary of the car were altered in order to work more effectively with the L-shaped deflector panels behind them [3 & 4]. The shape of the leading edge of the floor was also changed, along with the strakes mounted on it [5].

Ferrari SF1000 2020 diffuser

Ferrari SF1000 2020 diffuser
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari introduced a new diffuser at the second round of the championship in Austria, which featured three vertical strakes either side of the central section, rather than the two. The two innermost strakes on either side also featured slots in the lower section

Ferrari SF1000 diffuser detail

Ferrari SF1000 diffuser detail
5/7

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The diffuser fitted to the SF1000 at the first round in Austria is very similar to the specification that Ferrari switched to in Portugal and features just two vertical strakes either side of the central section. The two innermost strakes are now devoid of slots once more.

Ferrari SF1000 floor comparison

Ferrari SF1000 floor comparison
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Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, another retrograde made by the Scuderia has been in its treatment of the floor ahead of the rear tyre, with the horizontal flap discarded and replaced by three angled fins - a solution introduced last season and subsequently abandoned.

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with debris

Ferrari SF1000 floor detail with debris
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Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Whilst it won’t be the primary reason for its switch to the three fin arrangement, it’s also interesting to see that the horizontal flap had a penchant for collecting discarded rubber which will obviously hinder performance.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Author Giorgio Piola