How Ferrari will decide on low or medium-downforce rear wing for 2023 F1 Bahrain GP
The question is only one: will Ferrari use the new rear wing, with more downforce, that was briefly seen on the third and final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain? The Maranello technicians had mounted it on Saturday morning on the SF-23 challenger driven by Charles Leclerc, but it was seen very little.
It had been smeared with flow vis, the paint useful for verifying the trend of the flows for the usual aerodynamic tests which are necessary when introducing a new part, but after only a couple of laps it was disassembled, because the DRS system did not work properly and the mobile flap broke.
The Maranello team found itself with a problem that Red Bull carried with it for a while when it kicked off the RB18 lightening program last year: it’s nothing new, therefore, a sign that Maranello too is going to extreme concepts of aero-elasticity and follows Adrian Newey’s path of reduction to save weight.
Therefore, the Maranello engineers did not have the opportunity to evaluate the alternative to the medium-load rear wing, so even the last long runs took place with the rear wing that made its debut last season in the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
It is curious that the more loaded wing was supported by a mono-pylon that is usually chosen when one wants to reduce drag when fighting this issue. The new solution, on the other hand, was recognized not only for the new support of the main profile (Ferrari for years preferred the two swan neck-shaped pylons), but also for a chord longer than the main element and for a light spoon shape more accentuated.
Even the side elements that support the mobile wing were more squared than the rounded ones of the lighter version.
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According to rumors from the Ferrari Racing Division, which have been reported by Motorsport Italy, it is not certain that the more loaded wing will be used in free practice for the Bahrain GP on Friday: the technicians would prefer to insist on the more unloaded version, after the data analyzes that were made upon return from Sakhir.
If the new adjustment of the rear suspension will make it possible to find the right grip at the rear, allowing the SF-23 to be slightly lowered with an increase in downforce, it is possible that the Prancing Horse engineers will insist on the medium-load aerodynamic configuration, otherwise they will opt for the wing which will lose something in terms of maximum speed, however finding the traction that was lacking in the slower sections of the Bahrain International Circuit.
The Ferrari Racing Department is aware that the Red Bull RB19 has an advantage over the SF-23, maybe not in a flying lap, but certainly in race pace: it will be important to estimate this gap to plan the best options ahead of the run-up to a very, very long 2023 Formula One world championship.