Ferrari have kept us from seeing some of what the SF70H has to offer but what we can see shows they have worked hard to unlock the potential from F1’s new rules.
Nose and front wing
The front of the SF70H, though similar to its predecessor, show signs of development over the winter. Ferrari tend not to show race specification parts in their launch images, and often keep their testing specification a secret too, so we can expect the front wing to change ahead of Melbourne.
The thumb-tip nose remains, allowing the mounting pylons to influence the airflow along the splitter. An S-duct has also been integrated into the 2017 car. This is a first for the Scuderia, although they did use a vented nose on their cars in the late 2000s. This version appears to mimic the Mercedes solution seen last year with a U-shaped inlet and plumbing to direct air through the nose box, into a hole in the front bulkhead and out behind the antenna on top of the chassis.
At the moment the camera pods are fused with the nose, with nose sign of any small bodywork to influence the aerodynamics. There are however a variety of chassis fins – reminiscent of 2008 – sprouting from the bulkhead, easing the transition of flow from the steep nose to the flat chassis top.
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Bargeboards and sidepods
Having already seen some extreme interpretations of the new rules, Ferrari have kept things low-key in this area for the launch. More complex arrangements are surely on their way for testing.
Things get interesting around the sidepods. The actual inlets are sat quite far back and perpendicular to the oncoming flow. A host of turning vanes are used to meet the regulatory diagonal leading edge and influence flow over the bodywork that forms a lovely coke-bottle shape at the rear.
Ferrari have chosen to crowd the main intakes with three subsidiary inlets (two horizontal and one vertical) which must lead to the ERS cooler and possibly a simple duct to cool some of the electronics.
The array of vanes and flow conditioners are designed to do a variety of things. The sinuous horizontal vane, curling upwards at the sidepod shoulder, cups the air from significantly high up, forcing it down and along the undercut towards the back of the car. This is closed off by another vane above that guides air into the aforementioned secondary intakes. A huge quadrilateral board branches off from this and protrudes forward into the tyre wake, shielding the undercut from turbulence. Two louvres, similar to those on the rear wing endplates, are used to bleed off pressure built up on the inside face.
By carefully managing the flow around the inlets Ferrari have managed to retain a regular sized airbox, unlike the rest of the competition thus far. For a year where reducing drag could be extremely beneficial to overall laptime, the Scuderia can now look elsewhere to improve straightline speed. Blockage to the rear wing (and T-wing) is also reduced as a result.
Shark fin and T-wing
Ferrari have done the double – a shark fin and a T-wing. The function of the shark fin is to ensure that airflow arrives cleanly at the lower rear wing which now sits in a realm of dirty flow coming off the upstream bodywork.
The T-wing’s main purpose is similar to that of the monkey seat winglets in that it aids the rear wing performance. The T-wing captures and gently pushes cleaner flow passing higher up the car upwards, enticing the flow coming off the rear wing behind to rise. The downturned tips further condition this effect.
Ferrari have kept us from seeing much of what’s going on at the back end of the car. In particularly the pull-rod rear suspension and diffuser are yet to appear in detail.
The rear wing, like the front wing, does not look ‘race ready’: traditional horizontal louvres (rather than open at endplate’s leading edge) and a double mounting pylon arrangement look almost dated before the season has even started. Expect to see new parts appear before Melbourne.
One notable difference at the back of the car is that, contrary to the Mercedes, Renault and Force India, a monkey seat has been installed on the rear crash structure. It is further from the exhaust exit than before. In recent years teams would use the combination of the hot exhaust gases and a winglet to connect the diffuser and rear wing aerodynamic structures, generating an upwash effect. Given that the wing is lower and the diffuser now taller, a monkey seat is not as great a benefit.
2017 F1 season
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- Undisputed champion: 10 titles name Hamilton top driver of 2017