Ferrari have introduced their updates exhaust one day ahead of schedule. Luca Marmorini earlier spoke out of his worries about introducing such a new layout so close to the end of testing, but it appears that Ferrari have managed to speed up the manufacturing process for this particular item. As such, while Felipe Massa was running on Thursday with the same exhaust layout as the car was launched, Fernando Alonso's F138 is now fitted with the update.
The new sidepod bodywork aims to get the exhaust flow down to the car's floor quicker than it was possible in the previous version, thanks to a sharp downward slope in the channel. While the photo perspectives are somewhat different, the modification is quite drastic. This is obvious from the bulge that is now sticking out of the bodywork, showing how the top of the sidepod has been shaped to taper down more quickly. It is also noticable by looking at the small step inside of the channel, which Ferrari still produces with inconel. That step is present for the Ferrari to meet the rules, as there must be no bodywork in a virtual 3° cone sticking out of the exhaust. With the exhaust still in the same position, it is clear that the channel is curved more extremely down towards the floor.
Along with this goes is also a modified outlet for the sidepod air. The outlet is now slightly wider and closer to the exhaust itself.
The change is meant to improve rear downforce by getting the exhaust gases more precisely where the teams wants them to be. It should meanwhile help reduce tyre warmup and overheating due to the exhausts. To verify all this, Alonso has been busy today at Barcelona with a lot of constant speed running so that aerodynamic measurements can be read with less influence from car speed changes.