Ferrari SF-23: found so much downforce from the bodywork?

The First day of pre-season testing began a few hours ago in Bahrain with the long-awaited 2023 cars. The Red Bull RB19 has also made itself known, although plenty of focus still remains on the Ferrari SF  -23 and Mercedes W14.

Ferrari with a surprise: medium load rear wing confirmed

One of the first standout features of the Ferrari – which we have already analyzed  – was first seen when its aerodynamic concept made its debut at Fiorano. The Maranello-based squad began the Bahrain tests with the classic aerodynamic rakes at the front area of ​​the car, with the aim of collecting data on airflow moving from the front wing, nose and suspension, to the rear. This is a standard procedure that teams normally carry out during the pre-season.

However, among more technical insiders, there has been plenty of speculation about the SF-23’s rear wing specification, given that the car’s first presentation in Fiorno was carried out using a medium-load wing.

This was similar to the specification that the Italian squad introduced in Canada with F1-75 with Charles Leclerc before it was used by Carlos Sainz at Silverstone. This was a version of the rear wing that provided good load, without excessively penalizing the top speed.

This choice was curious for the SF-23 launch, but even more so here again in Bahrain – a medium-high load circuit that is known for being very rear-limited.

The track requires excellent traction and, therefore, significant load to protect and enhance the rear. This is also necessary due to the nature of the track surface.

Ferrari’s introduction of this front wing could be described as a good sign, although it is still too early to make any conclusions.

Ideally, it would bring the Italian car closer to Red Bull in terms of load and drag induced by the wings, with the chance of reaching greater speed on the straight.

Considering that most of the car’s drag comes right from the rear wing (as well as from the tires), this new element could be very helpful.

Overall, achieving a car with more drag is one of the objectives for the SF-23. It is no coincidence that Sainz has already recorded a speed of 325 km/h.

It must be remembered that the SF-23 uses an innovative S-Duct, designed to improve airflow to the rear wing and to the beam wing – through the energization of the air exiting from the gills on the engine cover.

The S-Duct should also improve airflow from the turbulences that are created below the inlet of the sidepods, generating a greater flow and thus achieving more load between the central and rear parts of the car.

Ferrari SF-23: the ‘flexible’ nose issue  has now been solved

The Ferrari SF-23 is undoubtedly a car born featuring aggressive solutions, such as the S Duct explained above, which have already caused a lot of talk. 

The FIA ​​has already received requests for clarification for certain parts, though this process is not entirely uncommon. However, the flexible nose seen in the first hour of this pre-season test day is not part of these solutions.

Formula 1’s most attentive enthusiasts spotted that the nose of the SF-23 was flattening at high speeds, before returning to position under braking.

Ferrari did not want this effect, which would be illegal anyway – since the regulation does not allow such active aerodynamic shapes. The Scuderia has now resolved this issue. 

Author:  Piergiuseppe Donadoni
Paolo D’Alessandro

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang