Ferrari nearly got it right in 2017. The start of the season was very promising: a strong, adaptable chassis combined with a power unit nearly on par with Mercedes’ allowed them to contest for the title.
Then came the meltdown: a drastic reversal of fortunes during the three Asian races which shattered Sebastian Vettel’s championship hopes. Making matters worse was a clampdown on teams burning oil as fuel.
Nonetheless the rejuvenated team won five times including at the penultimate round in Brazil. They went into the off-season knowing they are closer to Mercedes that at any previous point in the V6 hybrid turbo era. The question now is whether they can close that gap enough to make the titles a realistic prospect.
There are promising signs from the evolutionary design of the SF71H, presented on Thursday, after years of successive design changes and wrong turns. Ferrari are normally quite coy with their launch pictures, withholding a lot of features until the car rolls out for the first time. Up front, however, we can already see new features.
They include a revised front wing and slotted nose pylons akin to what McLaren ran last year. The front wing produces ample downforce so almost all changes are designed to manage the critical aero structures, such as the Y250 vortex, enabling the surfaces downstream to do their job properly. Last year’s car was strong aerodynamically, so these developments are mostly about producing better performance across a wide range of driving scenarios: braking, accelerating, turn-in etc…
It was always going to be interesting to see how the Scuderia evolved their pioneering sidepod philosophy over the winter. Several of the other teams have copied Ferrari’s design from 2017, creating more desirable contours around the inlet by lowering the upper side impact protection structure.
To achieve optimal cooling the main intake is accompanied by a supplementary inlet on top of the sidepod. On the SF71H both intakes are roughly the same size, reducing the bodywork width significantly – the frontal view really highlights how narrow it is. This also allows the installation of a number of turning vanes on the sidepod shoulder (in exposed carbon black) to guide airflow towards the rear end.
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The bargeboards and turning vanes around the main intake area of the car are revised versions of its predecessor. There were reports of a third inlet behind the bargeboard by the floor, but closer inspection reveals the region in question is in fact three ‘teeth’ vanes on the leading edge of the floor. A lot of downforce is produced here so it’s important to control the flow.
Over the past year we have started to see some very creative wing mirror designs. Mirrors are compulsory and the wake they produce can be manipulated to help control air over the downstream bodywork.
On the SF71H Ferrari have been very creative by allowing air to pass through the mirror pod and, presumably, out and around the top and bottom of mirror the other side. They won’t produce downforce, as the air is split evenly through the pod, but they will manage the wake more effectively and could reduce drag slightly in the process.
After fabricating a multi-inlet airbox towards the end of the previous season, an integrated intake is now used on the ’18 car that encompasses the inlets for the turbocharger and an ancillary cooler mounted above the gearbox. This is what allows them to be so aggressive with their sidepods.
The rear of the car is a bit sparse at the moment but a lower T-wing compliments the spine along the engine cover, working in conjunction with the rear wing behind.
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31 comments on “Ferrari SF71H: Technical analysis”
24th February 2018, 11:45
“Closer” to mercs but nowhere near the relaiability of Mercedes PU and with only 3 PU avl that is going to be biggest downfall for Renault, Honda and this team to compete with mercs.
Sravan Krishnan (@sravan-pe)
24th February 2018, 12:00
Why do you say that when the season hasn’t even started? They won’t be sitting idle staring at all the problems they had last year.
24th February 2018, 20:13
No engines broke last year. Issues were very cheap small ancillary parts from 3Rd party suppliers. Design is good, breaks were bad luck. Merc actually blew an engine last year and famously for Hamilton in 2016. I think there’s every chance Merc will break 1st.
24th February 2018, 13:24
@Chaitanya ”with only 3 PU avl that is going to be biggest downfall for Renault, Honda and this team to compete with mercs.” – Actually, Ferrari’s confident about the ‘3 engines/PU element’ allocation, which is why they prevented a request for increasing the allocation number for next season from happening so that I wouldn’t be worried.
25th February 2018, 6:04
The 2018 F1 Championhip is done:Ferrari is world champion by a LARGE margin.You only have to look at the level,the degree of work done on Ferrari’s halo;to understand that that halo on ferrari has had some 2 years or more headstart
on the competition.
The entire red car is built around the halo: a 3rd spoiler.
This is not a prediction,this is a fact;ferrari will be 1 second a lap faster than anybody else in 2018 .
It is already up to who will be second best.
Everybody else’s halo looks like glued or attached to their car by some 5 years old.Real amateurish.
Ferrari’s halo is the only one fine tuned and in harmony with the side mirrors vent.
AND I AM NOT A VETTEL FAN.or even Kimi for that matter,Kimi is long finished and F1 wise;should be in a foster home already.
The championship is over,Ferrari double world champion.
25th February 2018, 13:22
I’d like to have some of what you are having…
But I don’t see any team pulling 1s on Mercedes, not until engine regulations change. Those guys are exceptional.
Ferrari looks great, but they need to be exceptional just to bridge the gap to Merc, then they need a head start and some luck. Then they can fight with Merc.
Hans Herrmann (@twentyseven)
26th February 2018, 8:14
I totally agree @popovic they painted the Hailo red so they’re miles ahead! It’ll take the others a full season to figure out what colour to use, my mother took 6 months to decide on the colour of her VW Polo a few years back, she went for bottlegreen (huge mistake!!)
Are you sure about sending Kimi to a foster home though? He tends to make kids cry! Plus he doesn’t take instructions very well so if he was colouring outside the lines on his colouring book he’d be all like “Leave me alone! I know what I’m doing!!” Just a thought, but the rest of your post is bang on!
26th February 2018, 11:00
popovic that sounds like a really well thought out and technically dissected argument… really. �����������������🤣�����������������
24th February 2018, 13:08
What is black triangular shape at floor below Lenovo sticker ..
Will Tyson (@willt20)
24th February 2018, 17:00
It’s the end of the bargeboard, with a small piece of bodywork lying horizontally on top of it
24th February 2018, 13:58
Every other analysis I’ve read mentions the clampdown on oil burning as a bigger issue for Mercedes than Ferrari
24th February 2018, 14:15
It was agreed that PUs introduced from the Italian GP onward will have to adhere to the new restriction of Oil burning set by the FIA. Mercedes introduced their 4th PU at the Belgian GP, so they didn’t have to comply with the new rule while Ferrari did, that’s why they were hurt more than Mercedes.
24th February 2018, 14:25
Or they wherent hurt by it and thats why they didnt have to rush it out before Monza like Mercedes. There are different ways you can look at it.
24th February 2018, 19:50
From what I understand, Mercedes and Ferrari had a gentleman’s agreement to introduce their new engines after the regulation change. Meanwhile, Mercedes brought there’s out before the change, which understandably is disappointing and maybe a little unsporting, but hey…what you going to do?
So I suspect Mercedes weren’t hurt by the oil burn changes like Ferrari were, but Mercedes still had to make their new engine last one race longer.
In any case Mercedes probably benefited a little from that relative to Ferrari.
I suspect this year will be a lot closer between PU manufacturers and if anything I’d argue they’ll be similar in relative chassis performance, maybe with Red Bull making some steps.
Overall I suspect a closer season but wouldn’t be surprised to see Mercedes/Ferrari dominate testing again.
24th February 2018, 20:33
@tifoso1989, on the other hand, Ferrari had reportedly already been forced to make modifications to their car earlier in the season.
There were reports that the FIA had quietly instructed Ferrari to remove a secondary oil tank from the car after the Canadian GP, based on suspicious data from the sensors onboard the car (I believe that the FIA then followed that up with a second investigation into Ferrari in Monza). We also know that, in late 2016, Ferrari had been asking the FIA a number of questions about being able to use different specifications of oil and about the chemical composition of the oil grades that could be used, which was the trigger for the FIA then clamping down more strictly on the composition of engine oils and insisting that the teams could only use a single type of oil during all sessions.
Whilst Ferrari might have had to comply with the tighter restriction on oil consumption later on in the season, there is an argument that the FIA’s investigation into them in Canada had already removed much of the advantage that they might have derived from using oil as a fuel.
25th February 2018, 8:38
Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you about the fact that Ferrari probably was hurt more after the second oil tank was removed after Canada. Just to add that it also coincide with Lorenzo Sassi been sacked from his role in the end of June, that decision looked strange at the time especially that Ferrari was almost on par with Mercedes power wise.
25th February 2018, 14:30
Merc likely benefited the most from oil burn but their system was more advanced thus integrated within the engine, harder to prove. Ferrari system was more obvious. Germans are good at getting through engine tests. This year it should be more level with increased measurements of oil throughout.
24th February 2018, 14:16
Are we looking at a championship-winning car? At least it looks like Ferrari did a lot of homework in two years. They were closer to Mercedes last year, I hope there will be an even closer contest for the championship!
24th February 2018, 15:52
The front wing components blows my mind. Its amazing to see how aerodynamics has influenced the shapes of current cars. How much time effort and money does it take to produce the SF71H front wing ?
Design time alone must be staggering.
Will Tyson (@willt20)
24th February 2018, 17:02
The nose and front wing combined are worth about £200,000!
harold wilson (@bonbonjai)
24th February 2018, 17:28
That in a nutshell, is F1 problem. And remember, they will have a few of these for each track that is different and a few spares just in case one of the drivers bins it. I can’t see how spending £1m on just the front wing and nose is good economics for F1. That’s just for the materials to produce it, not the design time, or the research to find a tenth of a second. Insane. But that’s why we love and watch it every 2 weeks for 8 months of the year. Madness I tell you, Madness.
24th February 2018, 21:53
You are correct Mr. Wilson
Spend Millions$$$ on wings but save money on engine costs by allowing just 3 engines for the whole season??? Lets say TorroRosso blows up 20 engines this season. At what price will they be penalized ??
The new F1 Mgmt. wants to improve the Sport then give the teams better rules and ones which arent so ridiculous. Seven races per season per engine ?? Are they crazy?? This is my Formula One and l think this 2018 rule is foolish. Listen to the fans. I know what works and doesnt. We want racecars that are fast, that are noisy and they must look cool. We want to see them go wide open and just scream. I want to watch that and the new F1 should consider that this is what fans want. Get rid of rules that dull the cars. Create rules which push the limits at every lap at every race track. F1 was more grandious when l was a kid. People knew of it. Drivers know the risks so lets just go race. Somehow the decision seems like the only choice is to pursue rules that dont pan out because of having to seek cost savings and the costs of F1 is enormous. Spend the money wiser.
Return to Greatness
25th February 2018, 14:24
@TEDBELL Yup I believe all that is in the works. For now it’s barely been over a year that Liberty has had the reins, so I think they deserve our patience, and the time they’ll take is what we should want…deliberate well thought out plans for the future. We shouldn’t want them to try to change things overnight ala BE days. I believe it’s onward and upward in the right way this time.
24th February 2018, 19:17
They could have won WDC last year if Vettel hadn’t thrown it away. Hopefully he’s learned from his mistakes and grown up a bit, so this season is more of a contest.
24th February 2018, 20:17
??? Vetted made one mistake at Singapore, it would not have mattered just bad luck Raikkonen was at the side of Verstappen. Hamilton crashed in Brazil quality and had a few off days, what killed the title was the reliability issues in Malaysia and Japan with the Singapore issue, in 3 races it was all wiped out.
24th February 2018, 22:21
Ehm, and what about Baku?
Armand Serpentier (@armandf1v)
25th February 2018, 9:51
is a mistake but vettel got more points, that’s not wdc throwing, definetly not, he extended the points gap. Baku is just a mistake that hurted his respect and how people look at him
25th February 2018, 14:25
Vettel’s one mistake was Baku. Everything else was just racing.
24th February 2018, 20:58
It seems that Ferrari did a decent job on integrating the halo with their car. So much that I wonder how a modern F1-car would look with a slightly improved halo and with the airbox entirely removed. There’s just too much going on around the cockpit. I am no engineer, but they could just make the sidepods larger again to compensate, right? It could like like a Ferrari 312B with halo ;-)
Armand Serpentier (@armandf1v)
25th February 2018, 13:09
The smaller the sidepods the faster you go in the corners and in general everywhere
It’s good that there is too much going on around the cockpit it means they have alot of improvements
3rd March 2018, 15:12
Many thanks for your work ! What about the allegated use of the mirrors to “downwash” air into the upper opening of the sidepod ?
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