This near miss was a clear indication of the progress Ferrari has made since updating its sidepods during the Spanish Grand Prix and gaining crucial insights into the optimal setup for the SF-23.
The Spanish Grand Prix weekend, along with the subsequent Pirelli test, proved to be a turning point for Ferrari. The team’s engineer, Jock Clear, who also serves as Charles Leclerc’s driver coach, singled out the Barcelona race as a eureka moment for the team.
“Barcelona is an exceptional track for understanding your car’s performance,” Clear explained. “You cannot hide from the flaws of a bad car there, and likewise, when you have a good car, you’ll be strong in Barcelona.”
He added, “The Pirelli test in Barcelona provided valuable additional data. But it was during the race weekend itself that we identified the weaknesses and gained clarity on what needed to be addressed.”
Since then, Ferrari has made progress not only in car development, with the updates already in the pipeline, but also in fine-tuning the car’s setup.
This progress has translated into improved race consistency in Canada and Austria, although Ferrari still faces a performance gap compared to Red Bull. Nevertheless, the team has taken significant steps toward closing that gap.
Ferrari’s recent upgrades in Austria were aimed at enhancing the car’s stability. Notable changes were made to the front wing, including a new flap design with increased chord height in the movable portion. This adjustment allows the outermost section of the wing to focus on flow management.
The endplate underwent extensive modifications to optimize outwash, with the entire structure reworked and a curved flap juncture introduced. The leading edge of the endplate now has a curved profile, replacing the triangular finish of its predecessor, while the overall surface angles out more actively from the centerline.
Other refinements include revised attached elements, such as a new, more gently curved diveplane, and repositioning the pod for the infrared tire monitoring camera to accommodate the altered endplate shape. Additionally, Ferrari added a winglet to the lower inboard rear corner of the assembly to control vortex formation.
The nose also received a subtle tweak, with the vanity panel pushed back slightly from the leading edge of the second front wing element, resulting in a more tapered tip section.
Moving to the floor, Ferrari introduced a single step on the top edge of the outermost fence, as opposed to two steps. The fences inboard of this have been extended further and now feature a curved leading edge to optimize flow and pressure conditions.
At the rear of the floor, modifications were made to reduce separation between the edge wing and the tire spat region. Changes to the floor surfaces, as well as the connection points, were implemented, eliminating the horseshoe bracket and utilizing a support spar bracket to straddle both sections.
Although the details of the diffuser and underfloor modifications remain undisclosed, Ferrari took advantage of these changes to enhance performance.
As Ferrari continues its pursuit of improvement, the team’s breakthroughs and upgrades demonstrate its commitment to narrowing the performance deficit and challenging the competition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 car development
What updates did Ferrari make to their F1 2023 car?
Ferrari made several updates to their F1 2023 car. They focused on improving the sidepods, front wing, endplate, floor, and nose of the SF-23. These changes aimed to optimize flow management, enhance outwash, reduce separation between components, and improve stability.
How did the Barcelona Grand Prix contribute to Ferrari’s progress?
The Barcelona Grand Prix played a crucial role in Ferrari’s progress. The track’s characteristics provided valuable insights into the car’s performance, making it an ideal testing ground. Ferrari was able to identify weaknesses and gain clarity on necessary improvements, setting the team on a path towards progress.
What upgrades did Ferrari introduce in Austria?
In Austria, Ferrari introduced upgrades to various areas of their F1 2023 car. These included modifications to the front wing, endplate, attached elements, nose, floor, and rear diffuser. The changes were aimed at optimizing aerodynamic performance, reducing separation between components, and enhancing overall stability.
Has Ferrari been able to close the performance gap with Red Bull?
Ferrari has made progress in closing the performance gap with Red Bull, but there is still work to be done. The recent upgrades and developments have improved race consistency and performance. However, Red Bull continues to hold an advantage, and Ferrari will continue their efforts to narrow the gap and challenge the competition.