Tech F1i - Still evolving in Abu Dhabi

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As the 2017 Formula 1 season drew to a rather unmemorable close under the floodlights of Abu Dhabi, the teams’ focus was pretty much on next year’s campaign already, as Nicolas Carpentiers found out when casting his expert eye on the technical concepts on display at Yas Marina.


Ferrari trialed a new diffuser at the final round of the season, unveiling a design similar to the Red Bull model. The four vanes on the outside (highlighted in red in the picture below) had been removed. As a result, the edges of the diffuser were raised while the flaps on the perimeter were made bigger in a bid to channel the airflow to the sides. This contributes to expanding laterally the airflow coming out of the diffuser, which in turn increases the depression underneath the car.

The new diffuser spec was fitted to Kimi Raikkonen’s car during Friday practice, with the Finn’s SF70H running more rake than usual. We can assume that the Scuderia sought to learn more about that configuration, which has become something of a Red Bull trademark in recent years, ahead of finalising its 2018 car. Raikkonen’s charger was thus equipped with massive aero rakes comprising several probes designed to measure pressure levels behind the rear wheels.

To put things broadly, the diffuser serves to speed up the air under the car. Working in conjunction with the rear wing, it ‘pumps’ the air from the floor with a suction peak occurring in the area where the undertray and diffuser meet.