Scuderia Ferrari have confirmed that they would introduce a new diffuser at the forthcoming Portuguese Grand Prix as the latest step of their development programme.
Following a rather difficult start to the season, Ferrari was forced to dig deep concerning the issues with its 2020 F1 car, the SF1000. The Scuderia spent the first half of the season, trying to understand the issues that saw the team slip down the pecking order and came up with a significant upgrade programme at the Russian Grand Prix.
The Maranello-based team introduced new parts at Sochi where it debuted modifications to the rear wing, the under-nose cape and the nose profile. The Scuderia continued its development work at the Eifel Grand Prix, bringing new parts for the so far troublesome SF1000 that featured new bargeboards and slight modifications to the front of the floor at the Nurburgring.
The team will use the twelfth round of the 2020 season as a further opportunity to continue developing the SF1000. After the nose and bargeboard area, Ferrari will make changes to the diffuser of its car.
Ferrari’s Head of Performance Department, Enrico Cardile confirmed that a new diffuser will make its debut at the challenging track of Portimao.
“We already introduced a few small modifications to the car’s aero package in Sochi and added others at the Nürburgring. In Portimao we will have a further update, mainly to the diffuser, completing the programme set out over the past few months.”
While the team admitted earlier that correlation problems have hindered their car development in the early phases of the season and the design process, the engineer from Arezzo said that the latest parts showed the results that the team expected based on the computer simulations.
“The most important thing is to get confirmation that our development is on the right track. Indications from the past few Grands Prix are positive and we hope the same will apply this weekend. We have to consider that, more than ever this year, development is aimed at the following season.”
Ferrari currently finds itself down in the 6th place in the Constructors’ Championship after having collected 80 points in total. While Mercedes and Red Bull seem to have an insurmountable advantage, the third place is still a possibility for the sport’s most successful team. Currenty, Racing Point sits in the third place with 120 points followed by McLaren and Renault that have scored 116 and 114 points respectively.
With the fights in the midfield extremely tight this year, it takes only a couple of tenths to gain or lose several positions in the qualifying sessions. This also motivates Ferrari to find a small step in terms of outright performance in the closing stages of the coronavirus-affected season.
„All the same, we still expect to see a performance improvement with the SF1000: it would be very useful to at least find ourselves heading the group of cars and drivers currently fighting within just a few tenths for places four and lower.
„Only a couple of times this year have we been able to fight for a place in the sun on the second or third row and our aim between now and December is to be consistently fighting for those places.”
For the next season, F1 teams are only allowed a limited redevelopment of the current car. Furthermore, the cars will also undergo a downforce cut in a bid to trim downforce levels to protect tyres that will be a very similar specification that has been used since the start of the 2019 season.
With the limited opportunities, teams had to inform the FIA earlier which areas of their cars they want to upgrade for next year. Ferrari is set to spend its allowance of two development tokens for the rear end of its SF1000 because the teams thinks that this area will provide them with the biggest chance of finding performance.
„With the proviso that each team has its own design philosophy, our belief is that the rear end offers the biggest margin for improvement. I say that not just because it’s the area of the car where pretty significant changes have been introduced in the technical regulations, but also we believe that because of the way our car is laid out, we could really make significant progress,” the Italian said.
„That’s why we’ve decided to spend our two tokens allowed in the rules, in this very area. Because next year, it will not be permitted to modify all the basic components of the car, but only some and the FIA sets a token allocation for each of them, with all teams having two tokens available,” Cardile confirmed.