It hasn’t looked good for Ferrari since the first quarter of 2022 and that in part has been due to their cars. The F1-75 tended to blow up when you least expected and the SF-23 chewed up its tyres like a hungry dog. That’s why their 2024 challenger is set to take a page out of Red Bull’s very successful playbook, but the team insists that it will not just be a “red RB19.”
Technical Director, Enrico Cardile, told the media in December (via RacingNews365) that the architecture of the new car would be completely different to the last two challengers. The largest change will be the lateral crushable structures (anti-intrusion cones). Why? Because last year it was these structures that prevented the team from implementing more radical aerodynamic development of the lower section of the sidepods. The new car will instead place these elements at the level of the upper edge of the floor which will allow greater freedom to the aerodynamicists.
The suspension will still have front push rod and rear pull rod layouts, but they will be heavily modified. The front suspension will also be accompanied by a major change to the front section of the chassis. It will no longer be squared and thus receive a “keel” profile rather than flat.
What this means is that it will direct airflows under the floor, implying a reduction, or perhaps tapering, of the lower part of the nose which will increase laminar flow under the car. This will favour generation of aerodynamic load with the floor.
Everyone always wants to talk about sidepods though and Ferrari haven’t neglected this area either. Both lower sections at the level of the leading edges of the floor will have a different shape from the SF-23 and will retreat between five and eight centimetres from the air inlets. This should keep away the turbulence generated by the front wheels and increase aerodynamic efficiency while also allowing for smaller cooling air intakes.
On paper, this concept could be taken to the extreme and greatly improve efficiency, but even Red Bull didn’t do this. Cardile explained there are two main reasons for this: first is that the engineers must consider the minimum heat exchange to guarantee reliability of the engine and electrics. The second is that when these concepts are taken to extremes, you get progressively lower benefits.
So it looks like the new car will smooth out and improve the most competitive elements of the 2023 concepts with room for originality. Let’s see if it leads to an improved season for Ferrari.