Ferrari introduced their first major aerodynamics package at the Spanish Grand Prix. These updates were defined as very visible because, as we have seen, they changed the appearance of the SF-23.
In particular, the rear now has a very different connection towards the diffuser slide – especially compared to the tanks that were introduced with the F1-75.
However, this is only the first step. The consensus from engineers is always unanimous on one thing: what really matters to make this generation of cars work is what you can’t see – namely, under the floor.
The floor is not visible to the outside – unless a car is accidentally lifted with cranes, as happened in Monaco. Likewise, at the first corner in Montreal, Carlos Sainz’s exit gave us the possibility to still look under the SF-23.
The floor introduced in Barcelona was the second ‘updated floor’ after Miami. It featured a heavily updated edge, with the aim of widening its use according to the height to reduce harmful bouncing.
Perhaps the biggest outcome of this update is that performance on a single lap has been sacrificed in order to allow for better set-up scenarios in the race.
In fact, the appearance was not so different in terms of the function of the venturi channels, especially when looking at the modification in the throat area of the diffuser.
However, the technicians are not at all worried about this – since it is an element that will change significantly in the near future.
According to what has been learned, Enrico Cardile pushed very hard to quickly equip the SF-23 with a new and quite different floor.
The technicians have already been mandated to send the production mould to the autoclave and make the specimens available to the team over the next race weekends.
It is not clear whether they will be able to bring three iterations to Austria, especially given the nature of the sprint format, which limits the amount of race time.
The good news is that Ferrari will hold the second Filming day at Fiorano on Tuesday with the first specification of the new floor! In addition, the package includes a new front wing and new rear brake ducts.
The production times of the autoclave
They always depend on the complexity of the design as it is one of the handicraft works in the factory.
The technician works the carbon in the mould of the part to be produced and then puts it in the oven and heats it up.
The processing is quite complex since it is necessary to heat the specific part and cool it several times and slowly. The material is subject to a level of pressurisation that prevents the formation of micro air bubbles, which can make the piece less resistant.
A floor of an F1 car is certainly the area under the most stress, together with the tyres.
Build quality actually depends on knowledge of carbon machining and tooling. This means that when it comes to implementing a floor, even with small changes, the process cannot be quick or cheap.
However, the haste with which the production of this third floor of the season at Ferrari is being accelerated – suggests a concrete step forward has been taken.
Unlike the F1-75, the SF-23 never raced under the trim parameters it was designed for
We now have constant evidence that understanding new parts is essential but not lightning fast; the simulator can do a good job, but development remains a rather fragile path that takes miles.
An incorrect difference in height adjustments in millimetres can have a large operational impact. It is worth mentioning that the technicians were in for a nasty surprise when the car made its debut at the Bahrain tests.
In reality, in terms of pure aerodynamics, the correlation has always been good. The problem was always the set-up options of the 675 [Ferrari’s 2023 car], which did not give the expected results.
New suspension on the 676 car
In short, there was no convergence between the car’s mechanics, wind tunnel data and what happened on the track.
Nobody wants to approach the 2023 and 2024 cars in the exact same way. However, it is not possible to redesign the entire dynamic platform of the current car due to budget constraints and hours in tunnels and CFDs.
That’s why, despite some rumours, any new suspension can be expected for next year’s 676 projects, and so won’t be seen this season.
From what filters from the technical office, after the good response from Montreal, this convergence of performance will gradually be achieved with these updates.
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang