low-line cooling outlet to help center of gravity
The new Ferrari SF-23 car we have seen following the official presentation last week is a direct successor of last year’s single-seater and the 675 project did not include any significant restyling in terms of aerodynamic philosophy.
Before understanding the reason for this choice, we can state that the Ferrari SF-23 is the car that differs most aerodynamically from all the other cars presented, which – some more, some less – converged significantly in the direction of Red Bull. Leaving aside Haas, which can be considered closer to the Ferrari concepts, all the other teams have opted for what the British call “body down-washing” in their projects. The trend that made the 2023 projects converge is that of the elongated sides sloping towards the rear, which bring the air to the upper part of the diffuser and to that critical area between the diffuser and the shoulder of the rear tyres, and at the same time to free up space for the flow above the sidepods by moving the hood vents to the height of the diffuser.
If we look at all the single-seaters from a rear perspective, Ferrari and Haas are the most closed and adherent to the mechanics in the upper rear area, an aspect that generally characterized Ferrari-powered cars last season. However, the choice of all the teams to converge towards the Red Bull direction does not directly imply that the Ferrari aerodynamic layout should be rejected. More simply, the Red Bull design is easier to implement.
Ferrari still strongly believes in its concept and keeps the cooling low which helps the center of gravity of the SF-23
Last year we were able to schematize three macro-philosophies of cars in terms of aerodynamics, carried out by Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. The latter, with the new W14, no longer has an aerodynamic design completely distinct from the other two top teams and which will go even closer with the update packages scheduled for the first half of the season.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s new Formula 1 challenger takes its place between the two interpretations of the management of the flow through the car body, albeit with an inlet part of the sidepods that is unique in its solution, with the vertical cooling vents. However, as far as the upper part of the bodywork is concerned, Mercedes has an aerodynamic imprint markedly in the direction of Red Bull. The W14’s engine cover showcased the “tray” shape, albeit more contained and “vasked” than other cars, which directs airflow under the edge of the rear wing, and large rear vents.
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At Ferrari, however, it was decided to keep the entire upper part of the car clean. On the F1-75 and likewise on the SF-23, the engineers wanted to have a flow as free as possible from obstacles in the direction of the rear wing and the beam wing, as explained by Rosario Giuliana and Piergiuseppe Donadoni for formu1a.uno. It is no coincidence that in the past season the F1-75 was often seen as the car that generated the greatest rear downforce and which, after the update brought to Silverstone by Red Bull, has become more front limited than the RB18.
This included a strong and crucial synergy with the Power Unit department in terms of placement of the radiator cores, all allocated to the sides of the car, in the sidepods, and only partially at the rear of the SF-23. The triangular grip under the t-cam is a direct consequence, a factor that had already been introduced the first time on the SF90 also to have a lower center of gravity. Since the cooling layout is all located in the lower part, to let the SF-23 breathe, Ferrari still had to adopt a large number of slits along the bodywork, which “blow” right along the sidepod tanks. This is one of the main reasons why the other teams cannot adopt the close-fitting car body, but have to open up the rear bodywork. The case for Alfa Romeo is more articulated, as the team is equipped with a Ferrari Power Unit but at Hinwil the choice was made for a cooling layout independent of Ferrari. The additional air intake in the C43’s airscope is clear proof of this: part of the exchangers are located in the upper part of the Power Unit and the direction taken thus had to become that of the descending sidepods.