2008 Spanish Grand Prix preview: Ferrari ahead by a nose?

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Ferrari vented nose, Barcelona test, 2008, 470150

Ferrari seem strangely keen to play down the benefits of their intriguing new vented nose. Nicolas Tombazis told the press:

It is not something revolutionary that will make us go two seconds quicker. More simply, it’s an aerodynamic development, like others that are perhaps less evident but maybe even more important.

However they were also very annoyed that details of the design emerged in the Italian press before the season had even begun.

Ferrari seem key to play down expectations, which is not unusual for an F1 team. It seems as though some sections of the press have claimed the trick nose is a ‘secret weapon’ which will put the team out of the reach of McLaren and BMW.

When I first saw the design I wondered if it might cause visibility problems for the drivers in wet conditions if it forced water through the aperture directly into their line of sight.

However they reported no problems last week when it rained at Barcelona as they tested the new device. I suppose it could still be a problem if they were following another car closely in heavy rain – but in those circumstances visibility is pretty dire anyway.

Even though, by virtue of the press reports, Ferrari’s rivals will have known of the design long before it was shown last week, it may prove a difficult design for them to replicate. As Tombazis explained:

The main challenge with this part was its design and manufacture as we effectively had a part which, by virtue of the slot, has less carbon fibre, less material and yet still had to conform to all the usual FIA crash tests, which it passed successfully. This was a big challenge for the people involved in producing it.

The Circuit de Catalunya is a circuit where aerodynamic efficiency is particularly critical – teams have to balance the need for maximum speed down the long straight against the need for maximum speed through the many long, fast corners. If Ferrari have a decisive advantage here, as they did last year, then Istanbul, Magny-Cours, Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps will surely be easy pickings for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa once again.

What’s it like to visit the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya? See what F1 Fanatic’s readers had to say.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “2008 Spanish Grand Prix preview: Ferrari ahead by a nose?”

  1. If it proves successful expect a challenge on the basis it is in effect a ground effect item.
    If the challenge fails expect to see it on other cars very quickly.

  2. The "hole in the nose" construction is no more of a ground effect device than any existing diffusers. It does not contravene the regulations as to minimum ride height (which was imposed to curbe those designs), and it is of course by no means a moveable aerodynamic device if you are thinking of the quickly banned Brabham BT46 "fan-car" as ground effect…

    It does, however, appear to produce quite substantial aerodynamic forces, and getting those to work in harmony with the car’s existing aerodynamic profile (without requiring too much extra wind-tunnel work in adapting these too) is probably a considerable challenge too. Adding thses factors to the mentioned challenge of also passing the impact test, I wouldn’t expect seeing this implemented effectively on other cars any time soon.

  3. it’s surely a advantage for ferrari..
    but hamilton ll win this spanish GP. my money on him

  4. I think Felipe is going to win this Gp, Pole and victory, but Kimi and Hamilton will fight for the podium, don´t forget Kovalainen. I Hope Alonso improve his R-28 and get the 7º place or better. Thanks.

  5. theRoswellite
    24th April 2008, 16:41

    Someone please enlighten me.

     This type of major conceptual design jump doesn’t seem to fall within Ferrari’s normal modus operandi. They have always seemed to me a team more comfortable with evolution than revolution (as are most successful teams).  Does this reflect any changes in the key design personnel? 

    I appeal to someone’s expertise.

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