Analysis: Ferrari set to debut raft of upgrades in Spain

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

After Mercedes introduced a thorough upgrade package in Monaco, Ferrari seem to follow suit by debuting a raft of new part at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on Ferrari's latest development push.

The Scuderia was originally set to introduce new parts on home turf in Imola which would have included tweaks to the rear suspension of their SF-23. With the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Ferrari was unable to debut their new parts there which forced them to postpone the introduction of the upgrades for last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The new package incorporated new rear corner components, including updated brake cooling inlet and suspension fairing that were aimed at improving local flow features and loading.

Furthermore, the team brought a circuit-specific rear wing which incorporated more loaded top and lower rear wing profiles. The new main and flap profiles aim to cover the low efficiency requirements of Monaco.

During the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, Team Principal Fred Vasseur revealed that the team would bring further smaller bits to this weekend’s Barcelona round before debuting further small upgrades in Montreal, at the Red Bull Ring and in Silverstone.

While the Barcelona upgrade package was thought to be a small step, the images revealed by respected journalist Albert Fabrega revealed that the Italian outfit brought a significant development to the second European round of the 2023 F1 season. Ferrari’s Spanish driver Carlos Sainz revealed on Thursday that the team introduces upgraded parts that were originally planned for much later in the season.

While Ferrari has followed a substantially different route to Red Bull in terms of sidepod design since the introduction of the new-generation F1 cars, the team seems to have abandoned their previous philosophy and started to make first steps towards the reigning world champion team’s concept.

As it was the case with Mercedes upgrades, Ferrari were also limited in how much they could redesign their car as they were unable to change to chassis due to the cost cap.

Ferrari’s pursued the inwash effect with their previous sidepod and engine cover design which was thought to reduce drag induced by the front tyre wake. The Barcelona upgrade package’s visually most interesting part includes a revised sidepod design that abandons the bathtub concept and takes inspiration from Red Bull’s downwash philosophy.

Due to the aforementioned limitations, the new design retains the inlet shape and the front undercut section, indicating that there is still a big room for refinement if Ferrari really intend to mimic Red Bull’s concept.

Although the sidepods are arguably the visually most interesting part of the current F1 cars, the floor designs are clearly the real performance differentiator in the new technical era. The team has also brought a revised floor to Barcelona which is also a significant change to their previous version. The new floor features modified leading edge, sporting more complex curvatures along the middle section.

Furthermore, the team has modified the rear-view mirror housing with the upper section featuring a significantly shorter vane.