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GP Week : Issue 216
Ferrari close to Merc philosophy? TeCHNICAL PAOLO FILISETTI Technical Editor The first race of the season obviously carries a lot of interesting elements from a technical point of view. It is in fact the place where the cars actually show their real potential in race and qualifying trim. It is also the place where the first developments take place, and where it is possible to make close comparison between the cars. After the winter testing sessions what emerged was that Ferrari was recovering fast after the terrible 2014 season, and that their gap behind the dominant Mercedes was dramatically reduced thanks to great work done at home, in terms of completely overhauling last year’s project. The two cars, the Ferrari SF 15T and the Mercedes W06 Hybrid, are more similar than they appear, even though their PU concept differs dramatically, especially in terms of MGUH placement. It seems that, more and more, their aero concept at least can be seen as a sort of mutual inspiration. This time we will to analyse the front wing and nose – even though they differ in their central sections, both in terms of length and width, they still features common principles regarding the front wing. Both cars in fact feature a front wing that sports a slightly raised central section while the side sections include multiple slits both in the main profile and especially in the outermost section close to the endplates. Additionally, the additional winglets and fins placed on top of the main profile are dramatically curved outwardly, so as to direct the airflow in the outer area of the front wheels, to improve the quality of the central portion of the airflow passing through the flaps. This aim of this kind of configuration is to actually divide into two portions the airflow impacting the front wing. In fact the central portion has to be used to feed the underneath of the car and at the same time the radiator inlets, while the outer portion provides front end downforce thanks to the huge array of flaps and underneath slits that generate low pressure close to the front wheels, extracting the air that was previously diverted by the vertical curved fins. The two wings, in few words, work in exactly the same way in terms of airflow management, even though the nose (especially its bottom section) is completely different. Mercedes is already partially changing this feature, as in Melbourne they introduced an additional bottom cover, that generates a bottom air channel underneath the nose, so as to reduce the vortices generator tendency that the narrow nose naturally carries compared to a wider one, as with the SF 15T. Even if Melbourne can’t be considered a demanding aero track, it was important for us to analyse this front end concept as this year, even more than in the past, the front wing and nose play a crucial part in terms of overall aero efficiency of the car, and very likely will be key elements in terms of aero development – especially in the first part of the season. TECHNICAL 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> AUSTRALIA PARTNERS: