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How Ferrari has cut to the chase with its new F1 design

Ferrari has unveiled its latest challenger, the SF-24, which it hopes will build on the progress made during the backend of 2023.

Ferrari SF-24

Ferrari

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

The stated aim is for a more manageable car, with a broader setup window, that’s easier to drive and quick across the course of an entire race weekend.

Delving into the changes made by the Scuderia, we’ll start with the sidepods. At the start of last season, Ferrari decided to hold firm and committed to its bathtub-style sidepod solution.

But that design wasn’t long for this world, with the arrangement abandoned midway through the campaign in favour of a hybrid version of the downwash ramp-style solution seen elsewhere on the grid.

It was unable to fully commit to the change, however, owing to the position of the lower side-impact spar (SIS), which remained enclosed within the sidepod, rather than being mounted lower and enclosed within the structure of the floor.

Ferrari SF-24 detail

Ferrari SF-24 detail

Photo by: Ferrari

The SF-24’s design rectifies this, allowing the team to fully embrace the performance advantages that can be obtained from a much deeper undercut section, with a notable bulge in the forward section of the floor taking care of the lower SIS.

In terms of the undercut, which is further enlarged by the Scuderia’s adoption of the lower lip underbite inlet design, first championed by Red Bull, the lower chassis bypass duct has reprised its role, with the outlet positioned alongside the rear leg of the halo.

It’s here where you’ll also find an interesting piece of aerodynamic furniture, as the team have added a robust flow conditioner that sprouts out from the side of the halo and droops down to meet with the bypass duct’s outlet.

Returning to the undercut, it wraps down low and tight as the upper section of the bodywork creates a high waist that’s much wider to not only manage flow to the rear of the car but also help deal with the turbulence created by the front wheel assembly.

Ferrari SF-24

Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Ferrari

Ferrari SF-24

Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Ferrari

The remainder of the sidepod bodywork represents a well refined variant of the downwash ramp-style solution we’ve seen elsewhere, complete with a rearward focused waterslide gulley that draws flow down into the coke bottle region, aided by a high sided shoulder.

Meanwhile, the airbox and rollover remains faithful to its predecessor, featuring a triangular inlet but, there’s a distinct lack of aerodynamic trinkets surrounding this region for 2024, with the team having surrounded it with all manner of winglets in the last few years.

The engine cover features the now almost ubiquitous shelf-like bodywork, which leads back from the cockpit to the rear cooling outlet.

Ferrari has also opted to include a cooling gill panel that will likely be altered depending on the level of heat rejection required for each given venue.

Ferrari SF-24 nose

Ferrari SF-24 nose

Photo by: Ferrari

The nose tip represents the first in a bunch of subtle changes made to improve the SF-24’s aerodynamic tendencies, as it is both wider and taller than its predecessor, which results in a different interaction with the mainplane, while the body thereafter will also merge with the upper flaps in its own way.

The front wing has also been reorganised, with the outwashing slot gap separator brackets used throughout 2023 ditched in favour of more traditional horseshoe brackets. Outwash is still on the menu though, with that focus heavily shifted to the outboard section of the wing, as the team takes inspiration from the setup seen on the Mercedes last season.

In this instance the two rearmost flaps have been all but detached from the endplate, aside from slender connecting spars, then twisted from the car’s centreline to assist in generating more outwash.

Ferrari SF-24 front wing

Ferrari SF-24 front wing

Photo by: Ferrari

There’s clearly some vortex generation and manipulation at play here, which is undoubtedly going to be assisted by the early curtailment of the flaps in the outboard section of each flap, as they’ll each create a shedding surface.

The camber and shape of the endplate and diveplane is of similar design lineage to how the team finished out 2023 and will work in unison with the aforementioned to deliver more outwash.

The front suspension remains push-rod on the SF-24 but the position of the elements and the shape of their fairings have been mildly adjusted to better suit the characteristics that the aerodynamicists require of them.

Unlike a slew of teams that have now made the switch to a push-rod layout at the rear of the car, Ferrari has retained its pull-rod layout.

This comes off the back of the struggles it faced with tyre performance during the opening phase of 2023, that were largely settled in the backend of the season, so it’s little wonder it has opted to fettle what has become a known quantity, rather than reset everything.

Ferrari SF-24 rear wing

Ferrari SF-24 rear wing

Photo by: Ferrari

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23 rear wing detail

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The rear wing features a single, centrally mounted support pillar with integrated DRS pod, a spoon-shaped mainplane and a return to barrel-style pivots for the upper flap, with the team having flirted with teardrop-shaped pivots last season.

But what’s most interesting is that Ferrari have now adopted the semi-detached tip section design first seen on the Alpine A523 at Monaco last season and which a raft of teams appropriated.

This contrasts with Ferrari’s development through 2023, whereby it followed the example set by Aston Martin, which was also looking for ways to manipulate the vortex that’s shed from the tip section. But, in that instance, it sat the tip section inboard, rather than creating another shedding surface.

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