F1’s return to Europe: A flurry of upgrades

Many upgrades and innovations were spotted at the Spanish Grand Prix and subsequent two-day in-season test held at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. This means there is plenty to dissect and stimulate our curiosity…

Ferrari – 1

Raffaele Marciello (ITA) Ferrari SF15-T Test Driver. 12.05.2015. Formula 1 Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

Ferrari brought a new major aerodynamic package in Spain, though it did not enable the Maranello-based team to cut the gap to title rivals Mercedes. Except for the nosecone, pretty much everything else has been revised on the SF15-T’s bodywork: front and rear brake ducts, bargeboards, sidepods, engine cover, floor, diffuser and rear wing.

As detailed in a previous article, Ferrari technical director James Allison and his team have changed the positioning of the coolers located inside the car’s sidepods. The new design introduced in Spain makes better use of the flatter radiators by shrinking each sidepod end. As shown on the top right picture, the outer edge of the sidepod as well as as the area ahead have both been lowered. The overall solution creates a smaller volume, which in turn reduces drag. This also means there is a wider gap underneath the sidepod vane, which is now split into two following another design revamp. The new installation has been made with a view to better channelling the airflow over the sidepods and towards the back of the car.

It looks as though Ferrari is trying to recreate the Coanda effect

Sauber sampled a similar solution when blown diffusers and coanda exhausts were allowed in F1. Aerodynamicists at Maranello thus look to direct the airflow towards the back of the car in an effort to offset the turbulence coming off the rotating wheels. This major overhaul meant that Ferrari had to re-design the rear extremities of the sidepods, (where hot air is vented, see both yellow outlines below), place a small vortex generator at the bottom of the sidepods (see the white arrow near the SKF logo), and change the shape of the rear brake ducts (see blue arrows).

Sebastian Vettel (D), Scuderia Ferrari.  Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.