Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis
Topic

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

How Ferrari's floor experiments have finally paid off

Ferrari has been investigating the benefits of a new floor design for several Formula 1 races now, with various iterations trialled to find the right performance balance.

How Ferrari's floor experiments have finally paid off

But even though it appeared it was making strides in practice sessions, it wasn't until the Austrian Grand Prix that both drivers took advantage of the solution under race conditions – and that appears to have helped it make solid pace gains.

With that journey in mind, let's take a look at Ferrari's floor development during the course of the opening nine races...

Ferrari SF21 floor detail

Ferrari SF21 floor detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari began the season with a similar solution to the one it tested during 2020, and one that the new regulations originally intended.

This tapered edge was supplemented by the usual strake that's almost in line with the inside edge of the tyre, a cluster of winglets on the floor's outer edge and a horizontal blade that bridged them.

Midway along the tapered section of floor, the Scuderia also mounted three 'r' shaped vanes in an effort to help set up a flow structure ahead of the rear tyre that would aid in the manipulation of the airflow across and around it.

Ferrari SF21 floor

Ferrari SF21 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It didn't take it long to catch up with the rest of the pack though, as it became the seventh team on the grid to adopt the Z-shaped floor cutout.

Ferrari also added a strake to the floor, in order to magnify the effect created by the cutout. However, the three 'r' shaped vanes were deleted as part of the update.

Ferrari SF21 floor detail comparison

Ferrari SF21 floor detail comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari then spent several races assessing the value of numerous solutions ahead of the rear tyre, with anywhere between four and seven fins used to help guide the air across and around the rear tyre in order to help mitigate the problems associated with tyre squirt (*).

* Tyre squirt describes what's happening as the tyre deforms under load, with the squish of the tyre causing airflow to be squirted out laterally. This can reduce the effectiveness of the diffuser, as the air squirted into its path upsets the ideal flow conditions that the team are looking for.

Ferrari SF21 new floor

Ferrari SF21 new floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It also evaluated whether the 'r' shaped vanes that it had on the initial floor could work in combination with the Z-shaped floor cutout, settling on its return along with a six fin layout ahead of the rear tyre for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Ferrari has not only been paying attention to it floor in an effort to improve performance though, as different front and rear wing configurations have adorned the SF21 over the course of the opening races of the season too.

Ferrari SF21 rear wing comparison

Ferrari SF21 rear wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

As you can see, Ferrari has the more conventional mainplane design available in a low and high downforce arrangement (top right), whilst also having the option of a spoon-shaped mainplane (top left), which is used to try and maximise downforce without dramatically increasing drag.

You'll also note that, in the wake of the flexi-wing saga, Ferrari has modified the lower section of its endplate, removing the tail section (arrowed).

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Ferrari SF21 front wing comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, at the front end of the car, the team has two different front wing configurations depending on how it wants to ratio outwash performance against the downforce trim level it needs.

You'll note that the upper of the two wings shown here offers more of the inner flapped section for adjustability, whereas the outer section remains static no matter the angle chosen.

shares
comments

Related video

How F1 team photos acted as Hamilton's wake-up call
Previous article

How F1 team photos acted as Hamilton's wake-up call

Next article

Russell: "Nothing will be announced" about my F1 future at Silverstone

Russell: "Nothing will be announced" about my F1 future at Silverstone
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021