Why Ferrari's 2019 F1 front wing test was of limited use

Ferrari ran a simplified front wing on Kimi Raikkonen's car during the first Formula 1 free practice session at Abu Dhabi in preparation for the 2019 season's rule changes

Why Ferrari's 2019 F1 front wing test was of limited use

Adapting the specification of front wing used prior to Sochi to better fall in line with next year's regulations, Ferrari hoped to develop its understanding further of the pared-back aerodynamic formula - designed to introduce closer racing between cars.

Removing the elements of the wing stacked on top of the mainplane, along with their associated turning vanes, Ferrari also dialled back the complexity of its endplates to bring them closer to their expected 2019 counterparts.

As teams are unable to run 2019-spec components in the test at the Yas Marina Circuit following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, running a wing in this specification is the best compromise achievable within the current regulations.

Raikkonen ran the front wing for one lap, along with a network of pitot tubes behind each front tyre in order to assess the pressure distributions behind the wheels - as can be seen from Giorgio Piola's exclusive images.

This was then compared back-to-back to with a conventional front wing, helping Ferrari to assess the difference in how the tyre wake is managed by the smaller components.

Without the turning vanes, the wing produces a far less pronounced outwash effect, meaning that more airflow is pumped directly into the face of the rotating tyre.

This creates more wake and therefore compromises the desired effect of the floor, as the usual vortices developed are much more unruly, which cuts the effectiveness of the bargeboards.

It appears Ferrari has tried to pinpoint the predicted reduction in flow management in real world conditions, as simulation tools such as windtunnels and CFD tests can only provide limited insight into how next year's cars will behave.

Regardless, the test will have provided limited value; 2019's front wings will be 200mm wider and 25mm deeper, and with even more simplified endplates - which will manage airflow around the tyres in a different manner to the current designs.

In addition, only five wing elements are allowed next season (see Motorsport Studios' illustration, above), while a maximum of two strakes can be attached to the underside; on the test wing, Ferrari ran its usual six-element set-up with three strakes.

The radius of curvature allowed on the next generation of front wings will also be much larger, removing the intricate vortex tunnels of the current wings - which still made an appearance on Ferrari's test parts.

Ferrari also trialled a new floor on Sebastian Vettel's car, doused in flow-vis paint as it sought to understand the change in airflow underneath - before returning to its regular floor design later in the session.

The team had previously investigated a design with small fins positioned around the longitudinal slots in the floor, but this has not re-emerged in the last two rounds.

shares
comments
Ferrari's new ex-FIA F1 sporting director Laurent Mekies makes debut

Previous article

Ferrari's new ex-FIA F1 sporting director Laurent Mekies makes debut

Next article

Why Red Bull might have one more victory shot

Why Red Bull might have one more victory shot
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Author Jake Boxall-Legge
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021