Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

How Ferrari’s last title-winner has inspired 2017 F1 design

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The Australian Grand Prix-winning Ferrari SF70H features an aerodynamic tweak that harks back to its last Formula 1 World Constructors’ Championship-winner in 2008.

F1 development is cyclic, with solutions used in the past often returning years later in a slightly different guise in order to suit new regulations.

This year, Ferrari has returned to a design it last used in 2008, albeit with a little help from their rivals, and the Scuderia has made further refinements…

Ferrari SF70H, s duct inlet nose
Ferrari SF70H, S duct inlet nose

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

On the face of it, Ferrari’s design seems very similar to the solution run by Mercedes and Toro Rosso last year (below), with the inlets placed further forward and internal pipework granting a passage for the airflow.

Mercedes W07 nose
Mercedes W07 nose

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

But, on closer inspection, the team has made a change to the internal pipework, crossing them over one another (red arrows), which should give the airflow much more freedom as it’s channeled toward the outlet, where it draws nearby airflow that would ordinarily detach from the surface back toward the chassis.

Ferrari SF70H, S-duct
Ferrari SF70H, S duct

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The premise of this new style of ‘S’-duct can actually find its roots in a solution used by Ferrari in 2008 (below), with air drawn in under the nose ejected out over the chassis surface to limit airflow detachment.

Ferrari F2008, nose back comparison
Ferrari F2008, nose back comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This trend to a more forward positioning of the inlets is a clever interpretation of the single cross-section regulations, whereby no holes must be present if a slice were to be taken at any point through the side of the structure.

It allows the designers to place the inlet in a more desirable location, in order that it can have a positive effect on the airflow in that region, rather than being limited by a point between 150mm forward of or on the front wheel centreline like the solutions used in recent years.

Ferrari F2008 (659) 2008 nose with S-duct detail
Ferrari F2008 (659) 2008 nose with S-duct detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis