Ferrari SF70H - Technical impression

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At the front, it is almost certain we're looking at a very early version of the front wing, possibly only built for launch and shakedown purposes before eventually fitting a proper 2017 wing at the beginning of testing. Contrary to the Mercedes F1 W08, where it is extremely obvious that the nose cone will change, it isn't certain for the Ferrari, as the 2016 thumb tip nose and flat upper profile seem to neatly fit the front bulkhead.

In this new nose cone, Ferrari opted to integrate an S-duct very akin to what Mercedes used on their F1 W07 in 2016. A wide aperture underneath the nose cone, just behind the front wing pillars catches laminar airflow into an internal duct. This air is then ejected out of a slot just behind the pitot tube location on top of the nose. It is certainly further downstream than the S-duct solutions of Mercedes and McLaren's 2017 cars.

On both sides of the monocoque, above the pushrod mounting point, two overlapping fins were added, similar to designs seen around 2007. Along with the S-duct, this should help keep the airflow as clean as possible above and aside of the monocoque.

The front suspension meanwhile has not had any major geometry changes, with the wishbones still seemingly attaching as very similar positions, both at the wheel and on the chassis. At those wheel hubs, Ferrari continue to fit impressively large brake inlet scoops, suggesting the Italians will continue to use blown wheel hubs. This time around however, the team opted to add wiring on the inlets, a lesson they learned from Mercedes to protect from debris getting stuck, something that would negatively impact brake cooling and downstream aerodynamic performance.

Further downstream, the bargeboard area sees a fairly clean collection of panels, with a single white bargeboard featuring a continuous edge heading up the sidepods. These work in conjunction with a far more complex system of flow conditioners and panels around the leading edge of the sidepod, all working together on the airflow and to meet the mandatory slanted edge.

Arguably against the spirit of the regulations, the actual air inlets of the sidepods sit perpendicular to the airflow, and in the case of Ferrari, are nearly as wide as the sidepods themselves: shallow and as high above the floor as was possible. The large sidepod undercut and the sidepod panels then aim to guide all low airflow towards the back of the car and onto the upper side of the diffuser. The solution is particularly interesting, but one would still expect the inlets to be larger closest to the car's centreline - as is the case with all competing cars - rather than the other way around.

The actual dimensions of this inlet is also surprising - as is the case for many other cars as well. It was noted that power units would require more cooling to cover the additional heat rejection due to more fuel being used, but Ferrari have certainly not felt the need to increase cooling apertures. This is underlined by Ferrari's continued use of a simple and compact airbox, contrary to large split solutions as on the Mercedes F1 W07 of 2016 - a design cue that was broadly copied by other teams this year. Even though possibly marginal, this could of course be beneficial to reduce drag and increase airflow quality to the rear wing.

Ahead of this rear wing, Ferrari have chosen to add a large sail - or shark fin - on their engine cover. And on that sail, Ferrari added a T-wing, similar to what Mercedes have tested a day ago, even though they tried it without a full fledged shark fin. This T-wing makes use of a tiny loophole in the regulations that was introduced by requiring the slanted rear wing. The T-wing is unlikely to have a major effect due to its small dimensions, but even the tiniest amount of downforce can be enough.

Finally, the rear wing itself looks conservative compared to what some other teams have already put on display on their 2017 cars. The endplates for instance are nothing particular, featuring 2 slots at the trailing edge and conventional horizontal louvers. The central dual pillar support, even though featuring a swan neck to not intervene with airflow underneath the wing is unlikely the be better than a single pillar with a support through the exhaust pipe, like most other teams have gone for. We should therefore not draw too many conclusions from this part of the car as it seems unlikely that Ferrari will go racing with this layout.

All in all, it's clear Ferrari haven't wasted any efforts in trying to gain aerodynamic efficiency, especially around the sidepod area, but much will depend on the updates that one can expect to come through in the upcoming weeks of pre-season testing.


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