Ferrari's key steps to creating a Mercedes-beating 2018 F1 car

Sebastian Vettel was first to admit the Ferrari Formula 1 team got lucky with its Australian Grand Prix victory, and that the SF71H is not where he wants it

Ferrari's key steps to creating a Mercedes-beating 2018 F1 car

But its race-winning start to the 2018 F1 season has given Ferrari a good platform on which to build and improve what is a quite different car from its predecessor.

Here Giorgio Piola and Matt Somerfield look at the key areas where Maranello made significant change this winter in a bid to create a car that it hopes can bring home the world title.

Rather than seeing Mercedes' longer wheelbase philosophy as a weakness last year, Ferrari felt that it was actually the better route to go down with its 2018 car. The SF71H is just over 100mm longer than its predecessor.

This gives the team more options in terms of packaging and weight distribution, and enables it to further improve the work done around the car's midriff in 2017.

The unconventional sidepod design was seen as a standout feature of the SF70H, with the low-slung and forward placing of the upper side impact spar a feature of the Red Bull, Williams and Haas this year.

The idea allows them to push back and redesign their cooling inlets, repackage the internals and reshape the subsequent sidepod surfaces.

It's a holistic approach to improve the sidepod's performance in its entirety, but it was driven by a a primary desire to move the sidepods further away from the wake generated by the front tyres.

A unique design aspect of the SF71H is its wing mirrors, as Ferrari has created two distinct surfaces in order to improve airflow around them.

The outer casing has a hole in the front of it exposing an inner shell, which is carefully shaped in order to optimise flow around the inner surface of the mirror and reduce the turbulence that ordinarily surrounds it.

The design cleverly improves not only the aero performance of the wing mirror in isolation, but in doing so should also improve the surrounding airflows path toward the sidepod's upper inlet.

Even with two pre-season tests under its belt, Ferrari had some questions about its 2018 front wing that it needed answering at the Australian GP - which is why it opted to run some back-to-back tests on a design from last year.

The test was completed with a concept introduced at the United States GP toward the end of last season.

This old wing featured a slightly different arch and footplate in the mainplane's outboard section and an upswept leading edge at the connecting point with the neutral central section.

This is in contrast to the slots used this season which are performing a similar role.

In the end, Ferrari was confident enough to run its new wing for the race.

shares
comments
How McLaren was found out in Australia

Previous article

How McLaren was found out in Australia

Next article

Formula 1: How Bottas dealt with mental fallout from his Oz crash

Formula 1: How Bottas dealt with mental fallout from his Oz crash
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021