Major changes on “ambitious” new Ferrari

2016 F1 season

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Ferrari’s new SF16-H features new aerodynamic and suspension philosophies as well as a substantially revised power unit according to its designers.

Power unit chief Matteo Binotto said the team has prioritised improving its packaging and combustion.

“We have tried to compact it in order to have a positive impact on aerodynamics,” said Binotto. “The car is tighter and narrower compared to last year. We tried to move all the accessories.”

“But we did not work only on architecture, we tried to improve combustion for example, inlet aspiration and also the turbo. This is the first step compared to the past, a step forward, so we have made important technical choices and innovative choices.”

The changes to the SF16-H are more visible at the front of the car, which has a much shorter nose and revised suspension.

Chief designer Simone Resta described the overall philosophy as “very, very ambitious”.

“This level [of the nose] is higher so the air flows different to last year,” he said. “That is very important because it has a positive impact on aerodynamics.”

“Also, after four years of pull-rod, we have changed and now we have front suspension with push-rod. The weight is better and it is a step forwards compared to last year and the previous models.”

“Another important part are the sidepods. The radiators are different – and we have tried to take advantage with the cooling systems.”

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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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24 comments on “Major changes on “ambitious” new Ferrari”

  1. n00b query: what’s the biggest advantage of push-rod compared to pull-rod, at least in terms of what Ferrari can gain?

    Also, Mercedes tweeted a fly-by. See (or hear) for yourself (me? HUGE improvement, rivals ’10-’12 V8.)

    1. The cars sound nice in person. The issue is that on TV they don’t, and FOM/the broadcasters/whoever have not bothered to do anything about it in the last two years.

      As for the suspension: A push-rod is slightly disadvantageous aerodynamically, as it obstructs a bit more air. However, push-rod suspensions can be worked on much faster than pull-rods.

      The performance difference will depend on whether the aerodynamic loss is less than the gain made with the front suspension.

      1. They don’t sound nice in person either. I used to hear the V10s over a mile away as I walked to the track at Indy. Last year I walked through the ticketing gates at Austin and I still couldn’t hear the cars on the track.

        1. So a loud engine is an engine which sounds good according to you?

  2. Did Kimi ask for push-rod suspension?

  3. Blimey! I can’t believe Dirk is so stuck in old front wing thinking patterns. It’s all down to PU performance now.
    Therefore, I’m using this opportunity to congratulate Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team on the third consecutive constructors title. We’ll have to wait ‘a bit’ for the drivers.

    1. Yes, let’s judge people by front wings that will never see a racetrack and are designed purely for show

      1. They’ll hit the track on monday. I don’t see any advantage you can gain in two days. The aero package is a way to academic that application of a solution can be done over night, or applied to other package without thorough analysis. People look at Red Bull’s front wing for years and majority still don’t get it.

        1. Do you really think teams are only working on one wing design? They’ll be working on at least three: Monaco, Monza, and regular. And they just stick a 2015 wing on the show car for the launch.

        2. You must surely be aware that it is an old-spec wing. It’d be a great idea to needlessly display a new front wing in front of the world’s media.

    2. It’s the Abu Dhabi 2015 front wing.

  4. boomerang you are a clown ;-) its not “all” down to the PU. If you think thats all that matters, then you know very little.

    1. We’ll see mate, we’ll see.

      1. We’ll see what? Mercedes might well win the championship again. I’m a Ferrari fan so I hope not, but even if they do, that doesn’t mean your comment made any sense. If you think the power unit is all that matters, then why bother with anything else? Why invest money into other areas of the car. Force India, Williams and Manor all have the same engine this year and do you see them winning the championship? Nope. Mercedes have the best overall package, thats why they win, not just the best engine. Its not that hard to follow this logic.

        Engines are the predominant factor since 2014, but if you think they are all that matters (as referred to in your post) then you are quite simply wrong and a little clueless about F1.

  5. I’ve heard from lots of people that push-rods are more front-friendly for the balance of the car. Since Kimi likes his cars with good front end handling, should we expect him to be “reborn from the ashes” of the last two seasons?

    1. @gabrielrocha I hope so. I also hope Ferrari are able to hold a candle to Merc. Then we might have 4 drivers challenging for wins. It’s been long since we last had that

    2. You mean will the suspension change make Kimi care about winning again??

    3. I feel like Kimi can only go forward after those two seasons.

  6. One can do the math and show that push rod and pull rod can be configured to give the same physics. But as i wrote several years ago when ferrari first went to pull rod, i believe the driver feel during braking and turn in is different with pull rod; the push rod makes for a better feel and hence more precision. But this is just my opinion. It is worth what you paid for it.

  7. Wasn’t it Mclaren that last made “massive changes” (in the pre-turbo era) that went backwards in a huge way.

    I’m a bit concerned that Ferrari have gone too big with changes and may have brought themselves undone. I guess we’ll get an idea in 2 days time.

    1. When Ferrari went to the pull rod front several years ago people thought they went too far. I see this as them going back to what works

  8. We know ‘major changes’ usually not worked well, especially for Ferrari. I’m a little bit worried.

  9. Pull rod has better aero, but it is a bit heavier because you need stronger suspension members because of the narrow incidence angles. It is also a bit more difficult to work on. Another thing too, The previous cars were Pat-fry and Tombazis cars. Yes the 2015 car was a Tombazis car. They are gone now so their technical influence has dissipated as well. Enter James Allison.

    1. Exactly, push rod is way more physics friendly, you can make same theoretical setup with pullrod, but in reality all stressed parts, flex even carbon fiber, and pullrod has in some casses up to 10x larger loads, hence heavier components are needed, still more deviation from ideal geometry and end result car just isnt precise enough.

      Alonso could cope, Kimi could not. But ultimateley even Alonso would probably do better with pushrod. Since all F1 teams are about engineering and laptime other teams picked pushrod.

      As firm fun of Ferrari and Allison style… I hope for some major pace gain.

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