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How Ferrari’s F1 fire-up video revealed clues to key design changes

Ferrari will unveil its latest challenger, the SF21, on the March 10 – just two days before pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain.

In a video presented on Friday by the Scuderia of the car being fired up at Maranello, it appears we’ve already been treated to a visual of one of the new design aspects of the car – the airbox.

For the last few years Ferrari has used a trapezoidal shape for the airbox (below left) and roll hoop but the video of this chassis shows a more oval design, which is much more akin to what the team used during the 2017 and ’18 campaigns (below right).

Ferrari SF1000 small winglet

Ferrari SF1000 small winglet

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari SF70H airbox

Ferrari SF70H airbox

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This design reversal is likely a response to the team looking for the right balance between cooling and aerodynamics, with a redistribution of the various radiators and coolers housed within the sidepod and around the power unit being implemented for 2021.

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Over the last few seasons, Ferrari has preferred to have the bulk of its cooling in the sidepods, going as far as to use a ‘sandwich arrangement’ last year (below), which is thought to have resulted in the SF1000 being considered too draggy.

Ferrari mechanics at work on the grid

Ferrari mechanics at work on the grid

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

While Ferrari has some of cooling elements mounted behind the power unit last year, just as it did in 2017, that’s not to say it hasn’t contemplated a total rethink, with something like the saddle-style arrangement like we’ve seen from the Honda-powered teams (Red Bull, left and McLaren, right) more than a possibility. 

Red Bull Racing RB15, Honda engine

Red Bull Racing RB15, Honda engine

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MP4/30 intercooler detail

McLaren MP4/30 intercooler detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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Series Formula 1
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Author Matt Somerfield
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