Tech Talk: What have Ferrari got in the pipeline?

Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F14T during the Canadian GP weekend

Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari F14T during the Canadian GP weekend

Ferrari made it clear before Canada that they had a significant number of development tweaks to try out during the course of the weekend with a view to implementing the successful parts in forthcoming races – Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were busy chaps in Montreal.

Tech guru Matthew Somerfield looks at some key components which the Maranello outfit tested during the course of the Canadian GP weekend.

Ferrari arrived in Montreal with new bodywork that looked to enhance the F14T’s properties, tailoring it to the circuits mid downforce requirements. The package is something that has likely been in development since the start of the season and pre-dates the package introduced by the team for the Spanish GP.

I mention this because although the package clearly updated the engine cover and sidepods it meant the team returned to their previous rear wing support pylons, rather than using the singular Y-Lon support.

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The package from before Spain was tested by Ferrari in the free practice sessions in Montreal

Just as Mercedes did a few races ago, the newest package tested by Ferrari elongated their sidepods to alter their aerodynamic and cooling performance. With this package the sidepods extend past the front of the suspension elements, with cut-outs to allow the suspension the freedom of movement it requires.

This of course makes the sidepods a larger aerodynamic surface and so their shape is amended to make use of this too. This will also have an impact on where the slower moving internal airflow exits, placing it beyond the suspension elements, leading to a cleaner flow over the diffuser.

Placing it in this area could also lead to better extraction of the airflow as the other airflow structures pull on it, speeding up the more turbulent, slower and warmer airflow. Furthermore, the elongation means that the floor is less exposed to this slower moving airflow, extending the undercut.

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The newer bodywork extended the sidepods and reduced the size of the upper cooling outlet

To further maximise the extension of the sidepods the team also trialled a more shapely airflow conditioner, with the arc that follows the line of the sidepod before horizontally connecting to the cockpit being increased in height.

The change is sidepod profile of course changes the cooling properties of the car and so whilst the sidepods grew in length, the engine cover outlet which surrounds the exhaust was tightened, allowing the team to simply meet the dimensional constraints of the engine cover with a shark fin.

Although the results initially seemed quite positive the team decided that as the temperatures rose at the circuit they would switch back to a specification akin to the pre-Spain configuration (with the enlarged engine cover outlets, of which this engine cover was even larger, although the airflow conditioners were retained.)

I suspect that we will see a convergence of all of these ideas over the next few races as the team look to maximise both cooling and aerodynamic performance in this area, whilst taking care of the cars’ apparent lack of balance. (Analysis by Matthew Somerfield)