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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Why Ferrari’s new F1 sidepods are not a straight Red Bull copy

Formula 1’s new regulations initially triggered a variety of concepts when it came to sidepod design.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23

Ferrari opted for the in-wash bathtub solution, Mercedes had its zeropods, and Red Bull went for a downwash idea.

As time has gone by, most of the grid has picked up the downwash route and pushed its development in that direction.

Last weekend Mercedes finally relented too, with its upgrade package at Monaco moving to its version of that solution. Now, in Spain, Ferrari has shifted in that direction too, which leaves Haas as the only outlier.

But while Ferrari has gone towards what Red Bull has been doing since the start of 2022, it would be wrong to say that it has simply copied F1's world champion squad.

Instead, the solution deployed on the SF-23 is a descendant of the original downwash ramp solution but it also carries a hefty dose of the Scuderia's own DNA.

This is largely to do with the infrastructure that's already in place, with both the 'S'-shaped chassis duct retained and the SIS bulge having to be enlarged to cater for the bodywork beneath the inlet that's creating a tighter undercut.

Interestingly enough, the ramped section of the SF-23's bodywork is not as wide as many of its competitors either, with more space afforded for the floor and the opposing angle of the diffuser as it rises rearward.

Ferrari SF-23 mirror comparison

Ferrari SF-23 mirror comparison

Photo by: Uncredited

The shoulder of the sidepod has also been lowered, with the team taking care to modify the upper wing mirror slat in order that it works the airflow ahead of it accordingly.

The upper slat is now a similar width to the lower slat, rather than extending all the way to the end of the mirror's body.

And, whilst focused on smaller aerodynamic furniture, it's important to note that not only is there a new winglet mounted on the side of the halo's transition bodywork (blue arrow), but there are also hefty modifications to the bridge winglets that connect to the rear portion of the halo and the airbox region.

Whereas the winglets had previously been relatively straight as they traversed the section between the halo and the airbox, they're now mounted slightly adrift of the forward guide vane on the halo and twist around and up to the airbox-mounted winglets above.

Ferrari SF-23 halo winglets

Ferrari SF-23 halo winglets

Photo by: Uncredited

This is clearly about setting up the right flow structures before the airflow finds its way to the engine cover, which is also now much broader than before in the mid-section.

It is still not quite a shelf-style solution that runs right to the rear of the car like many of the other teams favour.

There's also a change in approach to heat rejection as a consequence of the change to the upper surface format, with the upper louvred panel now taking a little more responsibility overall.

A pair of much smaller cooling louvres alongside the 'S'-shaped chassis duct's outlet is also employed in the topside sidepod gulley.

It's also notable that the team may take the option to run an asymmetric layout for the upper cooling panels, just as some of its rivals do.

Ferrari SF-23 detail

Ferrari SF-23 detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The changes made to the sidepods are not the only ones on the menu for Ferrari in Spain, with several tweaks made to the floor too.

The outer floor fence now features a two-step arrangement before it meets with the ramp section, which will now propagate multiple vortices.

The edge wing has also been revamped and includes a scrolled forward section, which also has a pair of vanes to help guide the airflow as it is offloaded from under the floor.

Meanwhile, at the rear of the floor, there's now a discontinuity between the edge wing and the tyre spat region, as the designers look to alter the wake turbulence inflicted by the rear tyre and reduce losses created by tyre squirt.

Ferrari SF-23 floor

Ferrari SF-23 floor

Photo by: Uncredited

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