How Ferrari's Imola spec offers clues to hit-and-miss upgrades

Ferrari arrived at Imola in relatively high spirits given its recent results, with the team having found the right combination of upgrades and retrogrades in recent races to help unlock some of the SF1000's hidden potential.

How Ferrari's Imola spec offers clues to hit-and-miss upgrades
Listen to this article

Although it still has a long way to go in its quest to return to the sharp end of the grid, its work over the last few races has not only resulted in a solid showing on track, it should also pay dividends going forward.

Ferrari SF1000 front wing Emilia-Romagna GP

Ferrari SF1000 front wing Emilia-Romagna GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

For Imola, the team once again took the opportunity to tune its downforce level at the front of the car, trimming the upper flap to shorten its chord around the site of the front wing adjuster.

This is remedial work that the team seems to be carrying out at the track, rather than sending new flaps to each venue. It is something we've not really seen from the Scuderia over the last few years.

This further signals the team's intent, as it adapts to the challenges that this season has thrown up and as it attempts to balance both its short and long term development goals.

Ferrari SF1000 rear wing Emilia Romagna GP

Ferrari SF1000 rear wing Emilia Romagna GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari also opted to run with less downforce at the rear of the car too, returning to its gentle spoon-shaped rear wing.

You'll note that in this configuration the team has really pushed the design of the endplate further, with the wall thickness reduced around the mainplane and upper flap to expand the outer channel's influence on the airflow.

It's also interesting to see the hanging section of its endplate from this side too, as it shows that, whilst the elements are all connected, the forwardmost one acts like the tail seen on some rival cars. This creates a U-shaped guide rail for the airflow to follow as it enters from the other side.

Ferrari SF1000 diffuser

Ferrari SF1000 diffuser

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The floor introduced at the Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao was also retained by the Scuderia, as the team clearly felt the retrograded design, which featured three vertical fins ahead of the rear tyre, offered more performance than its predecessor.

Meanwhile, the diffuser, which is a throwback to the design used by the team at the first race of the season, was also kept for this weekend.

Ferrari SF1000 diffuser detail
Ferrari SF1000 2020 diffuser

When compared side by side, we can see that the revised layout features just the two main vertical strakes either side of the central ramp, with the innermost two being solid rather than having slots in them.

The stiffening strap (red arrow) now connects all four of the diffuser elements together, rather than just the outer three from the diffuser introduced at the Styrian GP. This is likely in response to reducing flutter at a certain speed and perhaps brings with it a little more aerodynamic consistency.

The team also revised the diffuser upstand beneath the crash structure, trimming the section by hand by the looks of it. This is similar to the way it adjusts the front wing upper flap.

Meanwhile another flap, which appears to have been rapid prototyped, was added above it and strapped to the side of the crash structure (blue arrow).

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Whilst Leclerc enjoyed another high points paying finish for the Scuderia, Vettel once again fell short. However, were it not for lap one damage and a long pit stop then the four-time champion may well have finished in the points.

Vettel's scuffle with Kevin Magnussen during the opening lap resulted in a broken the front wing endplate that he carried through the entirety of the race. This would clearly have an impact on aerodynamic performance but also meant that the team and driver had less data to work with too.

The section of Vettel's endplate that became lodged in Valtteri Bottas' bargeboard cluster, and cost the Finn a chance of the race win, has the thermal imaging camera attached to it, meaning Ferrari was flying a little blind on that tyre.

Remarkably the German's lap times hardly fluctuated though and his pace, considering the level of damage, was pretty decent, meaning he ran as high as fourth place at one stage in the race when the soft runners ahead of him pitted.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000

Photo by: Ferrari

Vettel also had the misfortune of having a visor tear-off lodged in his rear wing at one point too.

But the moment that really changed the face of his race was the slow pit stop which cost him around 13 seconds due to a stripped thread on a wheel nut. This was especially damaging when we consider that Imola has a high pit stop delta, meaning you already lose a considerable amount of time relative to those on circuit.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000, makes a stop

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF1000, makes a stop

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

All signs point to Ferrari being on the road to recovery and, with the arrival of a revised power unit scheduled for the start of next season, it may be able to close the gap to their rivals ahead a little further still.

shares
comments

Related video

AlphaTauri favourite Tsunoda gets F1 Imola outing
Previous article

AlphaTauri favourite Tsunoda gets F1 Imola outing

Next article

Could Hamilton really be out of F1 in 2021?

Could Hamilton really be out of F1 in 2021?
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Prime

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Prime

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing.

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023